Micro-homes project gets go-ahead in Cambridge
RMA has designed the landscape for a scheme to help tackle homelessness in Cambridge, where houses cost twice the national average.
We were asked by Allia, a social enterprise organisation, to produce a landscape planning report for six temporary micro-homes for the service users of local homeless shelters. Earlier this month, Cambridge City Council granted planning permission for three years for the self-contained housing units, to combat “alarming levels” of homelessness in the city.
The six homes, each measuring 25 square metres, will be sited on land next to Christ the Redeemer Church on Newmarket Road. Our masterplan positions the individual units in a ‘saw-tooth’ formation to maximise the use of the site area, and orientates them to create an attractive frontage towards the streetscape. Views to the street are filtered through specimen trees in timber planters, which also provide privacy. There is a mix of communal and private raised timber vegetable planters for the use of residents, and enough cycle parking to accommodate both service users and visitors.
Materials and structures have been selected so that they can be re-used if they need to be moved to another site after the three years are up.
RMA Associate James Dee said, “We were delighted to be asked to be involved in this innovative project, which not only provides a practical solution for homeless individuals in Cambridge, but also helps to raise awareness of the lack of accommodation which is particularly acute here.”
According to Allia, five homeless people died in Cambridge last year, and as many as 1,000 single people in the city were facing some form of housing crisis.