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Tomorrow is Built Today flyers

Some promotional material from the In Living Memory project, Tomorrow is Built Today.

Image: Tomorrow is Built Today flyer
Image: Tomorrow is Built Today flyer
Image: Tomorrow is Built Today postcard
Image: Tomorrow is Built Today postcard

 

(T18)

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Tomorrow is Built Today Pavilion

This structure in Beckenham Place Park was created for the In Living Memory project, Tomorrow is Built Today and celebrates Lewisham’s pioneering Black-led community self-build for rent.

(T17)

Image: Tomorrow is Built Today Pavilion (T17.1)
Image: Tomorrow is Built Today Pavilion (T17.2)

The structure was designed and built by Yes Make and Tim Oshodi. Yes Make are based in south-east London who are committed to community empowerment through the construction of public spaces that both inspire and are inspired by nature.

Image: Tomorrow is Built Today Pavilion (T17.3)
Image: Tomorrow is Built Today Pavilion (T17.4)
Image: Tomorrow is Built Today Pavilion (T17.5)

The pavilion is both a striking reminder of the powerful legacy of Lewisham’s pioneering Black-led self-build initiatives and provides shelter for the users of Beckenham Place Park swimming lake.

Image: Tomorrow is Built Today Pavilion (T17.6)
Image: Tomorrow is Built Today Pavilion (T17.7)

 

(T17)

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Tomorrow is Built Today: Discussion

A discussion held at Goldsmiths, University of London that followed a screening of Tomorrow is Built Today, a film by the In Living Memory project of the same name.

The audience were given the chance to ask original self-builders questions about the challenges and rewards of self-build.

 

(T16)

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Tomorrow is Built Today: Camcorder film

Original self-builders, captured on camcorder by Pax Nindi and Michael Hamilton in the 1990s.

The film features interviews with the self-builders about their experiences and motivations and some footage of the raising of timber frames.

 

(T15)

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Tomorrow is Built Today: A Film

A film telling the story of Fusions Jameen, a black-led cooperative that built their own houses across South London.

Produced, directed and filmed by Tim Oshodi

Edited by Gersende Giorgia

Additional footage by Ben Prideaux

Self-Builders: Colin Caines, Lorraine Cameron, Peter Coker, Beverley Glean, Prince Morgan, Tim Oshodi, Charmaine McNally

Project Researcher: Tessa Helm

Contributors: Martin Hughes, Ian Taylor, Phil Morris, Andrew Fairclough, Jose Opina

 

(T14)

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Tomorrow is Built Today: Tim Oshodi

Image: Courtesy of Tim Oshodi

Transcription

My aim is to give voice to the self-builders who stayed the course to create Fusions Jameen’s outstanding success. Please watch the video.

Hear how Colin created a community for his son. Listen to Beverley’s joy at her children and grandchildren living in the award winning home she built. Feel Peter’s gratitude for having followed his dream.

In the week of Lorraine’s 21st birthday she gave 30 hours of her sweat to create the first social housing in London with sedum roofs. Be inspired by Prince’s journey from 20th floor tower block to national recognition for his gardening skills.

‘We Africans will fight, we find it necessary and we are confident of victory.’ We are Black-led because it was the only way we could ensure our families got equal access to high quality permanent social housing. Chinbrook Meadows our third scheme is completely open.

I worked for three years unpaid as a self-build consultant overcoming institutional barriers to ensure Fusions’ hard won wisdom was incorporated into their scheme. Chinbrook transpired to be women-led and by far the most efficient SLFHA self-build scheme.

Absorb the inspirational stories of how Charmaine, Hanna and Theresa became community leaders. Marmot highlights how mainstream regeneration is worsening health inequalities. I believe community self-build for rent shows us a way forward. People in housing need can be co-creators in their own housing solutions.

In Jose Ospina’s seminal book ‘Housing Ourselves’ he illustrates that social housing is a process and how ordinary people can be empowered to do extraordinary things. The freedom fighters of Zimbabwe aged 12 left their villages to create a more just society, they taught and inspired me.

Andrew, Beverley et al saw their parents build their own homes and were inspired to do the same. Our children and grandchildren live in the homes we built. We invite you to come together and hear the cry of our next generation and just as we stand on the shoulders of our ancestors, let’s debate how the tomorrow we seek can be built today.

TIM OSHODI (2022)

 

(T2)

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Tomorrow is Built Today: Fusion 1

Image: Courtesy of Tim Oshodi

Transcription

Fusions 1 (Brockely Park and Lowther Hill) won the 1992 RIBA project design award. Martin Hughes a trained architect initially got involved as a volunteer builder and brought his invaluable skills and knowledge to ensure the scheme was completed successfully.

The lessons learnt about the importance of strong foundations on a hilly site with trees in clay were then passed on to Nubia Way.

The co-op saved £100 000’s by having Martin as a contracts manager overseeing the extensive groundworks needed on a sloping site bordering 400 oak trees. Chinbrook Meadows benefited from the hard lessons of Nubia Way.

Survey Design Partnership worked with Tim Oshodi as self-build consultant to prepare the new group thoroughly including:

  • work backwards given that self-builder hours are a third of a professional builder
  • identifying which work would be done by con-tractor – two stage tendering process
  • training the self-build group to meet the competencies to fulfill their contractual obligations
  • securing additional funding to meet the needs of the self-builders
  • training the self-builders in cost control software and setting detailed budgets so that they could identify the impact on their self-build discount.

 

(T3)

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Tomorrow is Built Today: Fusion Legacy

Image: Courtesy of Tim Oshodi

Transcription

Chairing Fusions and negotiating Nubia Way to its successful conclusion gave me the confidence and skills to lead wider regeneration work. I secured £50,000 to improve the Woodland Walk, which had suffered 150 fires in one summer. We worked with local schools and the community to design mosaics and street furniture which still exists 22 years after they were put in.

All the lessons from Fusions’ first two schemes were integrated into Chinbrook Meadows. It was by far the SLFHA’s most cost-effective scheme. On budget and ahead of schedule.

It shows that when you prepare properly self-build can deliver outstanding results. Housing associations have lost many of the skills required to deliver a self-build scheme. However I believe the next generation are crying out for affordable eco homes.

We trained 82 NVQ trainees one went on to work on the Jubilee Line extension earning £50,000 per year in his first job two decades ago. Charmain set up her own building company employing up to 11 people.

I became a founder member of Downham Dividend Society Community Land Trust (CLT) Ltd . It leads the Green Woman Oasis Project which seeks to build tree houses around a neglected 15th century pond and tree walk as well as canopy level nature reception centre. It works closely with local schools who are members of school a tree-classroom. Pre-covid the Lewisham Mayor agreed to support the project up to feasibility stage.

The Trust has built an excellent partnership with the seven fields PCN. Dr Helen Tattersfield the PCN clinical director has a three decade long commitment to Downham health and wellbeing. The CLT’s ‘Downham Health through Sport, Leisure and Nature Strategy’ aims to maximise the public health contribution of Downham’s outstanding green spaces and ancient woodland.

 

(T4)

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Tomorrow is Built Today: Nubia Way

Image: Courtesy of Tim Oshodi

 

(T5)

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Tomorrow is Built Today: Current threats to self-build

Image: Courtesy of Tim Oshodi

Transcription

They entered into discussions to demolish our self-build homes. I got the self-builders together and we fought them off.

Every Black self-builder in Lewisham has been issued with a fake self-build tenancy i.e. the legal protections of the development agreements are not included in the tenancy. Chisel then attempted to remove our self-build discounts. We fought that proposal but they have only suspended their attempts.

Post Grenfell, Chisel performed a fire risk assessment of Greenstreet in 2017 carrying out remedial work funded from all out rents. To date they have failed to carry out risk assessments on both of Fusions schemes. The fire officer even wrote to me denying that they had done the work on Greenstreet.

Our 82 sq m on Nubia Way is classed as a three bed while a 130 sq m on Greenstreet is charged as a two bed. This is prima facie evidence of racist rent settings. Chisel have failed to provide a written rationale despite written commitments to do so by December 2021.

When I raised these issues they targeted me. Their own investigation found in my favour. They have still not followed their solicitor’s recommendation two years after it was made.

Chisel have offered discounted rents to non-self-builders. I believe this to be part of a wider policy of divide and rule which seeks to undermines the outstanding achievements of Fusions. I believe it is only through collective action that our rights will be fully protected irrespective of Chisels future.

Housing culture has changed. Jose Ospina is long gone. We encounter an attitude that you are tenant and should just be grateful for what you have. Self-builders who raise issues are seen as ‘trouble makers’.

(Tim Oshodi 2022)

 

(T6)

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