In recent years numerous inner city developments have sprung up along the UK’s nineteenth century canal network, and many previously derelict canal sides transformed into successful recreational corridors. However, in yielding their perceived untidiness in favour of orderly contemporary design, the canals are in danger of losing much of their unique potential.
We believe that these canals can enrich our lives beyond their use as green spaces, as one of the UK’s few remaining vestiges of a transient way of life, relatively unchanged for the last 150 years. Now that our relationship to our work, workplace and commute is rapidly changing, this network and its way of life could present an invaluable opportunity for the organic growth of new neighbourhoods and whole settlements.
Our study showcases the need for a sustainable, organic and messy place-making process and examines its potential in redefining how we settle, build and live.