Residents invited to suggest names for new roads, parks and other public spaces, celebrating the borough’s diversity
Hackney Council is inviting members of the public to submit ideas for names of future roads, buildings, parks and other public spaces, as it launches the Hackney Naming Hub to crowdsource names to make the borough’s spaces more inclusive.
The Council has launched a new online platform to collect names that bring to light hidden histories within Hackney. The Hackney Naming Hub seeks to address underrepresentation in the public realm and welcomes ideas that acknowledge the achievements of diverse and migrant communities, as well as women, LGBTQI+ communities and people with disabilities.
It is hoped that the interactive map will act as a knowledge bank for new, inclusive names that can be used by the Council and developers and will provide residents with the opportunity to engage with and learn from each other’s histories. The names could also be used to replace those of figures involved in the transatlantic trade of enslaved African people, as part of a Public Realm Naming Review being led by the Council.
The Review was established in June to listen to the views of residents about how to tackle public spaces named after plantation owners and people who traded in enslaved Africans. Central to this is a steering group made up of local cultural historians, community leaders, young people and other residents.
The group has met regularly since June, and is developing a series of recommendations and a framework for the Council on the decision making and renaming of contentious sites across the borough. More details on this will be shared early next year.
The steering group has already recommended that Cassland Road Gardens - which was named after Sir John Cass, a Director of the Royal African Company, who made substantial profit from the enslavement of African people - be renamed. The Council has agreed and committed to doing this, and residents living near Cassland Road Gardens will be asked for their views on potential new names in a consultation starting in January. This could include names suggested via the Hackney Naming Hub.
Names put forward should have a Hackney connection and reflect Hackney’s values of equality, anti-racism, innovation and community activism. Names that meet this brief will be researched for potential use in the naming of future public spaces.
I’m proud to launch the first stage of our Hackney Naming Hub project and I’m really looking forward to finding out about the local heroes, inspirational stories and incredible history it unearths.
Hackney has a proud tradition of celebrating our diversity, and some of our council and public buildings and roads already reflect that - but it’s not enough. Since we launched the Review in the summer, I’ve been blown away by the public response and the brilliant suggestions people have had to make our shared spaces better reflect the people who live - and have lived - in our borough. This is an opportunity for us to deepen that engagement and crowdsource some great, local ideas that mean something to our residents, speak to Hackney’s history and to make a bold statement about our commitment to diversity and anti-racism.