Do you know 38 Carrington Street Nottingham? It’s next door to a betting shop but the connections and opportunities that architects, economists, teachers, lawyers, charity workers, business people, skateboarders, artists, social workers, community workers are generating in Nottingham are moving our city away from the old idea of building an empire by exploiting structured inequality into offering a new horizon.
38 Carrington Street is city shop you’ll pass on on the way to and from the station, on the way to work, when you’re going home or out for leisure, where events, new ways of making and doing things happen every month. If you want to shop for a better environment, better transport, better retailing, better health, better quality of life, pop in, your contribution’s welcome.
38 Carrington Street brings possibility to the high street. It’s the first time in decades that design, architecture, planning and the connection with groups, ideas and the passerby who might just drop in has been made in Nottingham. For too many years ‘groups’ meant only one thing: funding and ownership: silos of bargaining and control that did little but create a toxic and hostile environment where noone trusted anyone.
38 Degrees (of) Trust is a charity set up to dismantle the structured inequality that prevents economic growth and development so the number has a different resonance here to the 38 slots on a roulette wheel.
A year ago a conference was held at 38 to draw attention to the importance of skateboarding and regeneration, from with participants from as far away as Finland and across the UK organised by skateboarding economist Chris Lawton. The impact of this conference has been amazing on what the council and local people feel they’ve been able to do and are doing. See Tiger Textiles Mask shop.
Chris works at NTU and has worked for the last few years with Paula Black’s Civic Exchange project particularly on Good Work Nottingham: how we can all work together to change structured inequalities in employment, housing, education and health through a joint enterprise for good. Chris is a campaigner for how skateboarding (now an Olympic level sport) could be a metaphor for the kind of smart street accessibility and regeneration we want in Nottingham across class, ethnicity gender and generations
To finance the community reach in Nottingham and the pro bono work of the design industry, the architect/designers connected with38 Carrington Street to provide qualified and experienced help with site plans and design reviews.
We need to get into the habit of thinking across society, our friends and families about what the potential of our difference can be for a new kind of shared culture that allows us to be spontaneous, ad hoc. Our experience, skills, knowledge and insight into what we need and want in the way we go out, shop, work and enjoy leisure make us a community, not a collection of individuals.
For years Nottingham’s professionals have been going beyond their job descriptions to provide the energy for the kind of joined up conservation, supply chains, great ways of working, living, thinking that’s now possible. 38 gets to grips with questions around good living: questions like:
-How do we bring the fantastic talent in design, architecture together to shape the city we want?
-What are the barriers to design quality in Nottingham?
-How can the planning process facilitate and promote high quality architecture?
-What’s Nottingham’s Action Plan for delivering high quality architecture?
-How can Citizens Shape Nottingham’s Food Growing Future?
-Could local hotels, schools, businesses grow food?
-How could the tram route become greener?
-How can we make green our new normal?
– Light Night: themes can evolve to involve more people, more of the time.
-How can we have a much more mixed, compact, coherent, low traffic, walkable, green, community?
38 have set up a Nottingham Architecture & Place Society (NAPS), an independent panel to review, comment, protect and act as patron of contemporary architecture and better city life in Nottingham. Contact Laura Alvarez Trustee and Lead Curator of 38 for dates/times/meetings. Laura is Principal Conservation Officer at Nottingham City Council and can be contacted at laura dot alvarez at nottinghamcity dot gov dot uk
38 work with Nottingham City Council to use money from developers (known as Section 106 money) to make the very best contribution to local infrastructure when they build or develop new properties in the area. The money can be used in the development of public spaces, parks and improving access to and from roads.
38 brings together understanding and communication around community projects through a monthly meeting and they’re keen to rent out the space for your event.
The kinds of questions that are being asked just now are around how people use squares, parks, streets, and other public spaces. Questions like:
How can we support the independent retailing community to evolve new ways of occupying city spaces?
To what extent do things in Nottingham work for different communities? Is opportunity and environment something that’s still cut off from the majority of people in Nottingham? How can we increase the numbers of people using the university campuses such as Jubilee and understand more about the research and opportunities taking place there? Do we have to have a ten or fifteen year time lag between classes, backgrounds, ethnicities still or can we communicate and share better?
What is a healthy way of living, working, that regenerates everyone? What’s community like in the everyday? Do we really look carefully enough?