UK Government

London Development Agency (London): Making Space in Dalston joins heart of Dalston to new square

Press Release   •   Oct 01, 2010 12:35 BST

"Making Space in Dalston" - a £1 million scheme to improve Dalston's open spaces - has rejuvenated the area and 'joined up' the existing heart of Dalston with the new housing, public square and station at Dalston Junction.

The scheme is a partnership between Hackney Council and the London Development Agency - and is part of the Mayor of London's £220 million 'Great Outdoors' public realm improvement programme.  The scheme consists of a series of micro project, drawn up in close collaboration with local residents, businesses and organisations.  It follows the £160 million investment brought to the area by the  extension of the East London Line and the new Dalston Junction station built by Transport for London. 

With the help of local residents and organisations, the projects have delivered new green space, outdoor play equipment in a mirrored storage container, new signs and lighting and improved paving.  The revitalised centre now includes the community-run Dalston Garden, which hosts regular events open to all such as workshops, gardening days and picnics.

'London's Great Outdoors' sets out the Mayor of London's vision for improving public spaces in London - aiming to make London's streets, squares, parks and green and water spaces fit for a great world city and help improve the quality of life in the capital. 

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 

"It's fantastic to see the people of Dalston taking the Great Outdoors to heart.  All communities deserve to have clean, green and bright outdoor spaces, which bring people together and foster a sense of pride. I hope to see this regeneration replicated across the capital, helping to make London a revitalised and more sustainable city."

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration and the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, said:

"Making Space in Dalston is one of a number of improvements that the Council has encouraged in Dalston, and provides the opportunity for Dalston's local community to come together and help shape their town centre."

Peter Bishop, London Development Agency Group Director for Design, Development and Environment, said:

"Making Space in Dalston provides the finishing touches to Dalston's regeneration. It reconnects Dalston's existing communities with the new town centre and creates a series of public spaces. The London Development Agency's investment and partnership with Hackney has really made the most of the opportunities brought to Dalston by the East London Line extension."

The projects have been developed on behalf of the London Development Agency and Hackney Council by a design team led by muf architecture/art, J&L Gibbons LLP with EXYST.  The project has been built by working with local residents, businesses and other organisations to develop a shared vision for Dalston. 


Notes to editors

1. The projects in 'Making Space in Dalston' were created through a unique collaboration between community organisations, the creative industries and the neighbourhood where they are based, and between the London Borough of Hackney and the third sector. The organisations involved included Arcola Theatre, Bootstrap, Hackney Community College, Hackney Co-operative Developments, Hackney Homes, the Learning Trust, Kingsland Shopping Centre, Open Dalston, Rhodes Estate Tenants & Residents Association, Rio Cinema, Princess May School, Somerford Grove Tenants and Residents Association and V22.

2.  "Making Space in Dalston" has included:
* Ashwin Street: Flower beds and trees planted and to be maintained by Ashwin Street businesses.
* Eastern Curve garden and pavilion:  A new wooden pavilion and community garden on land located behind the buildings on the north side of Dalston Lane.  The garden is managed by a steering group including Arcola Theatre, V22, HCD, Bootstrap Company & Open Dalston.
* Gillett Square: Audio equipment to support events on the square or elsewhere in Dalston; and play equipment housed  in a mirrored container that can be unpacked to transform the square from playground to performance space.
* Lighting & way-finding: New lighting & signs at Gillett Square & Rio Cinema.
* Rhodes Estate: Improved access to the estate and new amenities including a mini orchard, improved sports pitch, and new seating areas. The project was drawn up in close collaboration with local tenants and residents.
* Peace Mural: New paving, spotlighting, flower planters and trees in front of the local landmark.
* Rio Cinema: Two illuminated doubled-sided light boxes.
* Princess May School: A new garden and green wall for the school, run by the schools gardening group.
3.  The regeneration of Dalston town centre will create more than 500 new homes, a public library and archive, new shops and restaurants. It has already delivered a new London Overground station at Dalston Junction.  At the heart of the development will be 'Dalston Square' - the largest new public space to be created in the area for over 100 years.
4.  London's Great Outdoors - A Manifesto for Public Space' is supported by two practical guides, 'Better Streets' and 'Better Green and Water Spaces'. Together they set out the Mayor of London's vision for improving public spaces in London.  This will ensure that our streets, squares, parks and green and water spaces are fit for a great world city, are enjoyed by everyone who visits them and most importantly, help improve the quality of life in the capital.  For further information please go to


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