The first phases of Port Loop are on an island – and that got us thinking.
Central Birmingham is an odd place for an island, which is all the more reason to take this as our cue to do something exceptional. In popular imagination an island is a place where the rules change - where we can create our own rules - and if we find the right rules people will want to live on and around the island, tell stories about the island or just travel to see how we did it.
We want multi authored character in our neighbourhood bringing distinction and hierarchy.
Where most schemes start with a spreadsheet – we started with a manifesto, a manifesto for a future neighbourhood, on an island, in Birmingham.
We want our kids to play out & we want to play out too
An island's boundaries can afford a kind of safe haven for adventure, where greater freedom comes from containment and where island rules can encourage free-ranging family life.
Younger children can play safely in communal gardens. Our central park will allow great opportunities for our kids to play outside and make friends. Safe cycle paths around the Loop and directly into the city centre for teenagers away from busy roads.
We want green streets not mean streets.
We are all primal at heart, subliminally craving trees, water and sunlight
Leafy is good, and the more of the green stuff the better so we'll be packing it in with public parks, pocket parks, shared gardens, allotments, green walls, green roofs, swales and ponds.
We want service
Future homebuyers & tenants will increasingly have a subscription mindset.
Port Loop Service
A subscription model for residents that offered handyman, gardening, laundry, delivery and maintenance services would ensure the community was ‘looked after’, bring peace of mind and convenience for busy lifestyles.
We want to save the planet & our bank balance
A future neighbourhood is green by default, a rich and liveable neighbourhood making sustainability second nature.
Generous green space. Planned drop off points. Energy efficient housing. Electric charging. No carbon commute.
We want our environment to make us healthier
Easy access to healthier routines (we have unhealthy routines and compensate at the gym).
Village squares & cultural hubs
Kitchen tables & campfires – places to congregate, eat, drink, dance, chat & philosophise.
At Port Loop we have set aside 100,000 sq ft of former industrial space for Tubeworks, a social, community and cultural hub. Uses could include a coffee shop, co-working space, bike repair, rehearsal, workshops, production, kitchens, markets, gardens, crèche, bakery, micro-brewery – the only criteria is that the uses at Tubeworks add something to the success and enjoyment of the neighbourhood. Tubeworks at Port Loop will be the vibrant heart of island life.
We want homes to suit who we are and how we live
Bespoke homes short, tall, flat or floating.
Balance and variety are recurring themes in studies of successful places. Perhaps in terms of architectural style and built environment but more importantly in the sociability of place, the ease with which people live in their neighbourhood and the aggregate way the neighbourhood meets their needs and wants. Place is about people. This means creating a distinctive place with quality and character in the buildings and landscape. It means the thoughtful design of green and shared spaces. Homes full of space and light and views of our green oasis from every window. It means design that prioritises opportunities to interact with our neighbours, such as 'village greens' and shared gardens with private areas that provide community when we want it, but also privacy when we need it.
We want to pick ‘n’ mix ‘n’ remix
A place that adapts with our changing needs.
If there’s one thing we’ve learnt over the years, it’s that it’s impossible to predict what’s coming next. Plans go out of windows, curve balls are thrown and spanners are put in the works. It’s not just our circumstances that change, our personalities do too: raucous nights out turn into sensible nights in; house parties with people you’ve never met turn into dinner parties discussing local OFSTED reports. Sadly House does not come with its own crystal ball, but it does come with a great deal of flexibility. The outside walls are the only loadbearing ones, so everything else can change as your life does. Spare bedrooms can become home offices; man-caves with impressive sound systems can turn into cosy nurseries. Whatever life throws at you, with House you can change more than a coat of paint.
We want work to work for us
The whole world’s a stage (and an office) 65% of millennials expect to work away from the office regularly. By 2025 75% of all workers will be millennials.
Informal, formal, sociable, unsociable, public, private, free, paid for, at home, in the office – our working practices today and in the future will increasingly mix things up for convenience, flexibility and quality of life.
port loop manifesto
Our aims and ambitions for Port Loop over the next ten years and beyond.