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TreeXoffice treehouse office in hoxton square

Park Hack

Where: London

Project type: Community consultation and park innovation

"We want those who live and work near the parks to re-imagine them, to see the potential in these often underused open spaces" - Ben Coles, Groundwork London

More than three decades experience creating community projects has shown us that success almost always means consulting with communities and bringing them with us on the journey. It's not always easy, but the results are a project that the community feel they own and that they are more likely to maintain. 

With this in mind Groundwork wanted to engage residents in Shoreditch with proposed improvements to their local parks. Reduced funding meant that innovative solutions were needed to find ways to unlock the potential of the spaces. So, to reach even more people, we tried a new approach.

In five parks large white cubes were erected asking local people for their thoughts on how the space could be improved. Residents and businesses were invited to suggest new and interesting ways to benefit the whole community by writing and drawing their ideas on the cubes.

After three weeks, the proposals were presented to the Park Hack Innovators, a group of Shoreditch’s most creative and entrepreneurial business people, who will volunteer their time and expertise to turn some of the best ideas into reality. The works will be funded by a £90,000 grant from the Nesta Rethinking Parks programme which rewards innovative, environmentally-forward ideas for public spaces through Lottery funding.

You can find out more about the project on the Groundwork London website.

Update May 2015: pop-up tree office

As part of Park Hack a pop-up tree house office will be built in Hoxton Square, London in summer 2015. In the canopy of a tree 'TREExOFFICE' will offer a unique outdoor alternative to conventional office working for businesses and community groups. 

It will open during the 2 Degrees Festival,  when Natalie Jeremijenko will be it's artist in residence. It will remain available to hire for office use, performances, talks and events until the end of the year and all income generated from booking fees will be invested back into Hoxton Square and the surrounding public open spaces. Local community groups and residents will also be offered free use of the TREExOFFICE at weekends

The TREExOFFICE is being created by Natalie Jeremijenko in collaboration with artists Shuster + Moseley and architects Tate Harmer. Gensler have been briefing architects supporting the development of the scheme. It has been commissioned by Arts Admin and Groundwork London. 

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Park Hack is one of 11 projects in the UK funded by Nesta's Rethinking Parks programme which aims to find and support parks innovators to develop, implement and spread new approaches to sustaining and making the most of UK’s public parks.