Every year, London produces over 1 million tonnes of organic waste which is destined for landfill. In a small corner of Poplar, R-Urban aims to change that.

Run by art and architecture practice Public Works, R-Urban brings together local residents and Londoners from across the city who are interested in ecological issues. Using shipping containers housed in a disused car park, R-Urban is a workshop, training and event series that provides space for green experimentation for solutions to London’s biggest environmental challenges, such as poor air quality and waste management.

The site includes a workshop, kitchen, anaerobic digester, tool library and mobile garden, where local people come together to learn new skills and enjoy food. The workshops teach basic construction and making skills, and information on how to recycle and re-use everyday items. Residents can borrow items from the tool library to complete DIY at home, and summer schools at the site test green technologies such as living moss walls.

The project is working towards a local, sustainable energy model, collectively managed by community members, and provides new opportunities for training and employment.

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"R-Urban helped inform groups of young people from Spotlight about the link between human activity in Tower Hamlets and the recent reduction in air quality in the borough. Through facilitating practical workshops which allowed the young people to use this new knowledge and turn it into something tangible, the young people left the sessions feeling empowered to carry on enacting change within their own communities."

Harry Forshaw, Youth Volunteer Coordinator, Spotlight youth service