Harlow Re-New Town

OEB Architects / Yaa Projects / Nick Bano / Dominic Humphrey / Stuti Bansal

A vision to renew the New Towns with homes for their diverse young populations. A transition from myopic 1950s ideals to a broad invitation for a sustainable contemporary good life. A call for community-built and owned network of housing made by circular adaptation of existing neighbourhood centres.

Harlow’s seventeen ‘hatches’ are both on the brownfield register and municipally owned. Instead of selling off land for development, public ownership is maintained with sites long-leased to a new Harlow Hatch Community Land Trust. In parallel, a Community Building Company is established with future residents able to join up as designers, apprentices or makers to participate in delivery of their homes.

Each site will have private living space, and shared space for residents of the sort not found in conventional development: growing areas in the garden, common space for guests to come and stay, shared home-working space, and community uses for the wider neighbourhood. Lease provisions cap resale value at the original cost plus inflation, locking out appreciation and the pricing-out of future occupiers.

Harlow’s town centre is undergoing major regeneration and extensive demolition - processes which can be mined for material reuse, establishing a local circular economy. Any new elements will be built from simple reusable components and natural materials - timber structure, hemp insulation.

The sites will each maintain a materials hub and workshop so that up-cycling and material exchange becomes a key local facility alongside the shop. A neighbourhood centre for a town to actively remake itself.

OEB Architects
Tessa Baird, Architect
David Eland, Architect

Yaa Projects
Nana Biamah-Ofosu, Architect/ Academic/ Writer

Nick Bano, Housing Lawyer/ Author

Dominic Humphrey, Urban Data Analyst

Stuti Bansal, Moving Image Artist