Finalists for Property Week’s Meanwhile London competition reveal their temporary-use ideas to bring the derelict Docklands sites to life

Twelve schemes have been shortlisted in Property Week’s Meanwhile London competition to find exciting and innovative temporary uses for sites in Canning Town and the Royal Docks.

The competition aims to kickstart the areas’ regeneration and animate the sites in the run-up to – and during – the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The winner will encourage entrepreneurial activities and create jobs, reflect the green aspirations of the area, involve the community and make the areas compelling destinations for residents and visitors.


The 12 finalists include entries as diverse as a honey farm, a mega-BMX park, a floating lido, two projects for turning waste into new products and art objects, a boat-building colony and a 21st-century “pleasure garden”, by the creators of “Shangri-La” at Glastonbury festival.

There were 42 entries to Meanwhile London, which is part of Property Week’s Site Life campaign to find temporary uses for development sites that have stalled because of the recession. Meanwhile London is being run jointly with the London Borough of Newham, the mayor of London and the London Development Agency (LDA) and its Design for London team.

LDA deputy chief executive Peter Bishop says: “The ideas we have seen demonstrate the potential for this long-neglected part of London and I look forward to seeing the winning schemes helping to shape the future of the Royal Docks and Canning Town.”

“It’s an incredible response,” says Clive Dutton, Newham’s executive director of regeneration, planning and property. “The judges were spoilt for choice. Parts of the Royal Docks have been dormant since they were bombed in World War II and since the docks closed. It’s important to put some of this land to economic and community benefit while waiting for development to start.

“The ’meanwhile’ sites in this competition are so well located next to rapid transit systems that it makes total sense to bring immediate economic and community benefits to this part of London with great temporary uses that will benefit from the extra half a million people a day the 2012 games will attract to Newham.”

The £22bn regeneration of the Royal Docks and Canning Town is a priority for the mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, and London mayor Boris Johnson, and the area is attracting interest. Siemens’ £30m “sustainability pavilion” will open on the Royal Victoria Dock in spring 2012 and create 250 new jobs, and Transport for London’s new cable-car link over the Thames, which will connect the O2 Arena on Greenwich Peninsula with the ExCeL Centre in the Royals, received planning permission in January.

The competition’s judges included Barcelona regeneration adviser and CEO of 22@Barcelona Josep Piqué, Architecture Foundation director Sarah Ichioka, chairman of New London Architecture Peter Murray, design director and deputy chief executive of the LDA Peter Bishop, head of Design for London Mark Brearley, London Borough of Newham executive director for regeneration, planning and property Clive Dutton and Property Week editor Giles Barrie.

The LDA and Newham council will now evaluate the viability of the shortlisted schemes.

The winners will be announced at the international property fair MIPIM in Cannes on 8 March

All of the entries are available to view at