Justice in the Green is an action-learning platform aiming at contributing to the generation and sharing of action and reflection on the use and appropriation of Hackney Marsh and connected green spaces by the surrounding communities. This is understood in the context of the significant transformations currently taking place as a result of area masterplans and the Olympic Games developments and Legacy process.
The project started as an assignment for three consecutive years (2008, 2009 and 2010) for the students of the MSc in Environment and Sustainable Development at the Development Planning Unit (DPU), University College London (UCL). A variety of partners were involved, including two UCL departments, community groups, Hackney 2012 Legacy Team, Hackney Olympic and Paralympics Games Unit of Hackney Council, and the Hackney based NGO Social Action for Health (for more information go to partners).
The students’ engagement began by examining six distinct localities in the Hackney Wick/Clapton area, however in 2010-11 the research has taken a slightly different focus. This year the research has sought to better understand how the green spaces in and around Hackney Marshes, and broadly in the eastern part of the borough, have been appropriated through a number of different activities. These activities have been explored under a series of catagories: Creative Arts Expression; Cultivating Spaces; Being with Nature; Moving through Nature; Collective Sports; and Unstructured Play.
While being a learning opportunity for the students to gain hands on experience on issues related to environmental justice in the city, this initiative also generated a series of audio-visual reports based on the different activities taking place in these green spaces. In addition short video testimonials were collected which have been fed into a newly created web-based interactive community map, devised in collaboration with the UCL Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatics Engineering. It is hoped that this map, when used as a social networking tool, can support local organisations and community groups, raise their profile, and strengthen their involvement in the planning process affecting these areas, particularly in these dynamic times of change.
The Justice in the Green website aims to disseminate the findings of the research, showcase the audio-visual outputs generated by the students, and to use the interactive online map to continue and develop the exchange of information among organizations and individuals. The initiative hopes to bring into focus a deeper understanding of local communities’ right to the city through the use of green spaces in Hackney.