Orchard Gardens Estate, Lewisham

Kwame Lowe: Founding Director, Kin Structures

Alongside Arman Nouri, I co-founded Kin Structures, to explore new approaches to building and sustaining community infrastructure. Orchard Gardens will be the testbed for an approach which utilises programmes of art and culture to revitalise dormant community spaces and build connections between people. As part of this, we will also explore how local people can be empowered to make decisions and deliver on them.

Having been born and grown up in Lewisham, I have seen the borough change significantly. This is most powerfully represented by the Lewisham Gateway development in Lewisham town centre. This development also represents a disregard for local people’s needs, in that homes are 1-2 bedrooms rather than the 3-4 bedrooms it was identified were most needed in Lewisham. Moreover, the rents in this development will be unaffordable to the average Lewisham resident.

Our work at Orchard Gardens, directly behind the Lewisham Gateway development, is meant to offer an alternative vision for regeneration in the borough and beyond. We have coincided our programme at Orchard Gardens with Lewisham London Borough of Culture 2022 to shine a spotlight on this new approach and further our mission.

We are looking ahead to 2050 imagining a world that is sustainable and full of opportunities for community, imagination and joy.