R-Urban Poplar is an eco-civic hub located on the corner of the Teviot estate, in Poplar, London. The project aims to develop civic resilience in the face of climate change through a public programme of events, workshops and infrastructures.
Using shipping containers housed in a disused car park, R-Urban provides space for green experimentation for solutions to London’s biggest environmental challenges, such as poor air quality and waste management. Over the past few years, the site has transformed into a learning facility equipped with a small kitchen, classroom, anaerobic digester, tool library, workshop and growing spaces.
Creating a closed loop system
A key aim of the project is to build a localised circular food system. This involves working with LEAP to develop anaerobic digestion (AD) and composting systems to deal with local food waste on the Teviot Estate. The digestate (fertiliser) from the AD, and compost from the composting units, is used to grow food in the allotment spaces, and the gas produced powers the community kitchen.
Currently organic waste is transported 10-50 miles to landfill sites or processing facilities. Local waste management through AD and growing food using the by-products for local consumption has the potential to save over 73 tonnes carbon emissions per year (per system, processing 1 tonne of food waste per day), compared with business as usual. On site waste management can also support renewable energy production and help create local green training and employment opportunities, alongside offering further support to existing, thriving food growing cultures.
R-Urban are also testing new growing systems and technologies such as low-tech hydroponics and have installed a rainwater and greywater harvesting system.
The site runs regular workshops around food and wellbeing, as well as growing, composting, and local energy production. It provides an important space for community, with discussions and educational workshops or simply a get together over a cup of tea. Hosting community meals enables people to get together, share knowledge and skills and celebrate different food cultures.
Find out more about the project, learn about past programmes and stay up to date with their latest activities on their new website https://r-urban-poplar.net/
You can follow them on instagram @rurban_poplar_london or on eventbrite.