Ebbsfleet Healthy Garden City

SWA has been working on a number of interrelated projects for Ebbsfleet’s New Healthy Garden City, working across a variety of scales to promote health and wellbeing in a holistic manner. This has included establishing overarching neighbourhood principles, before developing the wider area spatial strategy and a vision for one particular building; the Health and Wellbeing Hub. In addition, SWA has been involved in exploring the existing and required civic infrastructure to meet local needs identified through extensive consultation events.

Client: Ebbsfleet Development Corporation
Construction Value: N/A
Programme: Ongoing
Location: Ebbsfleet

Ebbsfleet’s Neighbourhood Principles

SWA’s initial task for the EDC included preparing a comprehensive set of neighbourhood principles to guide the design of Ebbsfleet’s new garden city. Each principle has been driven by the ambition to encourage health and wellbeing, focusing on: landscape, produce, urban wellbeing, connectivity, active lifestyles, culture and identity, healthy buildings and technology. We worked with a range of consultants including healthcare advisors to develop a strategy for scale and connections, identifying core functions and key green routes alongside the commercial imperatives and appropriate density of the scheme.

In line with the original ambitions of the garden city concept, our landscape-led proposal successfully creates a strong sense of identity for Ebbsfleet which has clear international and domestic foci, with legible and generous public spaces.

Celebrating Ebbsfleet's landscape
Concept Visual of the Health and Wellbeing Hub

Ebbsfleet’s Health and Wellbeing Hub

At the heart of the new spatial strategy, Ebbsfleet Central will be an urban, mixed use neighbourhood combining residential, retail, training community and leisure uses. The proposed Health and Wellbeing Hub will be centrally located in the neighbourhood, offering facilities to the local community and the wider region.

Our vision illustrates a new model for community based primary care embedded in its landscape, with integral green spaces woven into the building form. This project is an exciting proposal aimed to promote mental and physical wellbeing, healthy, active lifestyles and better food choices as a form of preventative care with social prescribing at its heart.

The vision was underpinned by research into similar initiatives. Our proposal was accompanied with an area analysis based on the range of facilities and identifying an established need during several stakeholder engagement sessions.

Central Ebbsfleet Capacity and Spatial Study – HEIQ

SWA were commissioned to develop a conceptual spatial plan for the centre of Ebbsfleet whose economy will be secured with a new innovation district based on healthcare (the HEiQ – Health and Education Innovation Quarter).

In the spatial strategy study, SWA considered how to shape the new centre spatially, commercially and environmentally, working within the approved outline planning permission. The HEiQ aims to create a thriving hub that unites the existing and new communities already being constructed on reclaimed industrial sites while providing work, education, commercial and retail opportunities for local people.

Underpinning the spatial strategy, the Neighbourhood Principles developed by SWA in a previous study gives shape to the new identity of the town based on wellbeing, heath and active travel.

The defining feature of the emerging masterplan is the public square at the heart of the site. The square is a communal open space fronted by the Health & Wellbeing Hub.

These key elements of the HEiQ together define Ebbsfleet as a place where health is integrated into people’s daily rituals and sense of self.

Massing of Proposed Spatial Strategy
Diagram considering delivery of intergenerational housing in Ebbsfleet

Ebbsfleet’s Intergenerational Living

The co-location of community, wellbeing and healthcare services forms a focal point for a new concept for intergenerational living in Ebbsfleet Central. Recognised as an exciting and valuable model for living, SWA proposed intergenerational housing to be incorporated into the Health and Wellbeing Hub vision.

It is clear that the success of intergenerational living comes from a people centred approach. Our research through public engagement, national and international precedents along with workshops, show that people want to live normal lives in neighbourhoods that support them as their needs change.

Research undertaken for DWELL (Designing for Wellbeing in Environments for Later Living) highlighted that when different generations cohabit in a mutually supportive way, they benefit from informal care and self-help. The ‘excuse to linger’ or reasons to leave the house are important themes raised through this research. This can help us to feel at home in our neighbourhoods, create cohesive communities and help to combat loneliness.

Ebbsfleet Civic Infrastructure

EDC is aware of the necessity to provide sufficient civic infrastructure as part of the new spatial strategy and commissioned SWA to develop an action plan to identify existing provision and create potential new facilities in appropriate places within the new town. Extensive consultation was carried out by SWA with existing residents, community leaders, centre operators and user groups to inform the needs and ambition for these facilities.

Our vision proposes a scalable range of flexible community spaces that respond to local needs, bringing people and ideas together to collectively support a diverse range of activities for a healthy and vibrant place. These have been broken down into four scales, which offer a different range of civil infrastructure.

As part of the engagement-led research, SWA arranged and coordinated the event, Fresh-tival, which saw a large number of local residents, groups and stakeholders participate in the conversation on local need. Attracting a wide range of people, the food-themed celebration connected different groups and gathered excitement, engaging people with the project and potential opportunities generated.

Fresh-tival consultation event organised and coordinated by SWA to engage with local residents and groups