Medium_optimized-20150916_100346 The circus – and TURAS - comes to Barking Riverside

18 Sep 11:24

Paula Vandergert

Hundreds of local residents gathered to enjoy the spectacle, learn circus skills in this new area London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.

Residents are blown away by No Fit State circus. Image copyright London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.

On 1st and 2nd August, the ‘No Fit’ State circus came to Barking Riverside with their Open House show. This is one of the first times a large community event has been held in the new neighbourhood – and TURAS demonstration site – of Barking Riverside. The feedback from local residents was very positive. As well as the witty and skilful performers, local residents enjoyed activity workshops and stalls, including a stall showcasing TURAS work. Due to widespread publicity, Barking Riverside also attracted residents from all over the borough and other parts of London – many of whom were visiting the area for the first time.

No Fit State circus during one of four performances. Image copyright Sustainability Research Institute.
Barking Riverside is a new sustainable neighbourhood being created on brownfield land close to the river Thames in the east of London. As part of TURAS, the University of East London (UEL) has been researching innovative green roof design and working closely with the borough and regeneration company Barking Riverside Ltd to embed bio-diverse urban green infrastructure across the existing and planned developments. The aim of this green infrastructure is to provide a range of ecosystem benefits such as flood alleviation and urban cooling, encouraging local wildlife and providing high quality public spaces for the residents to enjoy.

At the weekend event we had an information stall nestled among the crafts people, popcorn sellers and local history and residents’ societies to show people some of the innovative aspects of the Green Infrastructure in their local environment and the benefits it brings. We displayed information sheets on key features such as the rain gardens, swales and balancing pond that lie at the heart of Barking Riverside. People were really interested to learn about what these green features are doing for the community and many expressed an interest in getting more involved, for example through a local ecology club. We’ve been invited to give talks and demonstrations at the local school and scout groups to show the young people what their local urban green infrastructure does, and to learn new skills such as wildlife monitoring.
The TURAS UEL information stand. Image copyright Sustainability Research Institute.

Our aim is that as the Barking Riverside development grows over the next 20 years, TURAS will have helped to foster knowledgeable residents and workers who can manage, maintain and enjoy the innovative green designs that are integral to their neighbourhoods. The Barking Riverside Community Interest Company will be managing and maintaining all of the community and green assets and TURAS aims to support their capacity to do this.

Our information sheet on rain gardens.

The balancing pond a Barking riverside. Image copyright Sustainability Research Institute.

Keywords: Barking Riverside, Sustainable Urban Drainage systems (SUDs), Urban Green Infrastructure,