From the research we have done as a group on innovative housing developments there are a few cited on the Building for Life website that are located in the North East of England. The Staiths South Bank is the most talked about and well established on the new developments. Equally, The Mailings is often celebrated in the same light, although a very different housing scheme covering a much smaller area.
What I think Jane highlight’s well are the subtle ways in which ‘pocket’ spaces have been used, for example, the way people had to walk through a communal garden space in order to get to their cars. This adds to an atmosphere and identity where the social aspect of living has been made more important.
The Mailings in the Ouseburn, Newcastle, is another example of a Tyneside housing development that has been celebrated but for different reasons. Sustainability has been promoted here by way of improved home energy efficiency and onsite energy production. This is proving to be an increasingly important aspect of new housebuilding.
My main criticism of the Mailings is that it I don’t think it is as characterful as the Staiths South Bank. Admittedly they are very different schemes, however, the Mailings lacks a certain identity and character created by the dominance of the red brick and uniform window arrangements, whereas the Staiths ha a vibrancy that creates interest and intrigue. It will be interesting to see how the Mailings develops over time and how well it embeds itself into the landscape.