The R-Urban Poplar project evolved out of a UCL funded collaboration focused on community engagement and renewable energy. We worked closely with public works and UCL researcher Dr Charlotte Johnson to build the infrastructure with the help of many volunteers. People came from all over London to take part and find out what it was all about.
They learned about anaerobic digestion (AD), sustainable cities, reclaiming timber, basic carpentry and a host of other related activities.
People bonded over shared interests and lunch, which created an unexpected sense of community in the heart of, what was then, an industrial wasteland.
We created a community energy hub in a shipping container, combining AD with solar thermal and photovoltaic panels.
A control system has since been developed and is currently being tested at our new site, where the containers were moved to a couple of years ago.
Public works has since been granted planning permission to develop the new space (a carpark with several garages) into a vibrant community hub with workshops for local reuse/recycling enterprises, a civic classroom area, community kitchen and a tool library alongside our renewable energy container.
Mini 'allotment' planters will be offered to local residents in the nearby social housing estate. We plan to use this to incentivise food waste recycling in an environment where recycling rates are typically poor. Showing people how waste can be transformed into useful by-products on their doorstep, the project aims to support behaviour change and create an alternative community space where people can come together to learn new skills, meet like-minded people and discover the the circular economy through practical activities.
If you'd like to visit this site or get involved, get in touch.