New Addington, Central Parade was a public realm improvement project to revive the public spaces at the heart of a new-town suburb of Croydon. Working in residence with local activist group Pathfinders for nine months, Assemble developed a scheme which made a set of built improvements and used existing activities within the town to re-animate a public square.

The project started with a three-month collaborative research process with local residents, businesses and community groups which studied existing physical constraints and made a comprehensive survey of local activities, groups and assets. This learning was then used as the basis of a series of design propositions which aimed to both support activity and solve physical problems. Assemble then built 1:1 models of all their proposals on site, and tested them by hosting a week-long festival of events which brought existing activities out into the public square for the whole town to share.

This included a temporary stage for the tea-dances and christmas shows, temporary and informal pedestrianisation of a road, the reorganising of the local market and new infrastructure explicitly for children and young people.

The resultant built works included changes to traffic, road and parking systems to reassert pedestrian priority, including a new level crossing, closing the main shopping street to road traffic two days per week, and new mature tree planting to screen the car parks. New additions were made to the square to promote and support greater use, including a bespoke herringbone timber stage and hard landscaping that provides opportunities for skating and play, and a new flip-dot sign that both signals the entrance to New Addington and promotes upcoming events and activities in conjunction with a new community website.

 New Addington, Central Parade was commissioned by the London Borough of Croydon, supported by the Outer London Fund. Research and events were delivered in collaboration with New Addington BID and Pathfinders.