Watch: Social housing worker touring London's "rundown" estates once dubbed 'utopias'

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Noris Obijaku, has started a series where he reviews estates in the London area - many which are now rundown, but were once dubbed "utopias".

A social housing worker is touring and reviewing London's most rundown housing estates - posting TikTok reviews about their hidden histories.

Noris Obijaku, 24, studied Architecture at Coventry University and is interested in building designs. Noris has started a series where he reviews estates in the London area - many which are now rundown, but were once dubbed "utopias".

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Noris' main purpose of these videos is to understand why there is such a stigma around social housing, he says.

Last month, he visited the notorious estate of Thamesmead in London - once dubbed 'town of the future' which he says is now "rundown, dirty and very empty".

Architecture student Noris Obijaku  is touring and reviewing London's most rundown housing estatesArchitecture student Noris Obijaku  is touring and reviewing London's most rundown housing estates
Architecture student Noris Obijaku is touring and reviewing London's most rundown housing estates | Noris Obijaku / SWNS

Noris wants people to understand the thought process that goes behind the designs and appreciate the often overlooked buildings. Since his first visit to North Peckham in September, Noris has visited eight housing estates.

Noris, Architect Assistant for BWTP, from Wandsworth, London, said: "Most of these estates are derelict and are just not being looked after. There are a lot of factors that essentially turn these estates that were made for the people and it actually gets turned on its head."

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While researching the different estates, Noris looks for ones that have character and history.

Noris said: "Our main aim is to review the blocks and spark a conversation and get people thinking.These places that have been so neglected and people don't realise how much thought is put into designing these places."

The worst housing estate he has visited was Aylesbury, he said.

Noris said: "The blocks were very repetitive and it was very monochrome when I was there - and that's how I felt. There is a very strong community there but in terms of the design aspect compared to the others I have been to, I wouldn't rank it so high."

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The best housing estate Noris visited - in his opinion - was Robin Hood Gardens because of the "emotional connection" and because it is going to be demolished. 

Noris said: "I really enjoyed shooting there and the story behind it."

"The concept behind it - the twin front doors to promote community cohesion on the walkways - there was a lot of thought behind it but it just failed to live up to expectations."

Along with Robin Hood Garden, Noris said The Barbican is also a favourite because of the local amenities.

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Noris said: "They've got all the amenities; cinema, art centres and a library. It is just a complete estate. The Barbican is by far the most successful housing state because of how ambitious it was and the location."

Overall, Noris said that the estates he has visited all had a "positive concept" and the intention was to build a utopia

He said: "I don't' think the designs were bad, however I do have to mention that the use of concrete as a construction material hasn't helped because concrete is not the best when it is not maintained."

Here is a list of all the housing estates Noris has visited:

  • Trelick Tower - Notting Hill, London
  • Barbican Centre - Barbican, London
  • North Peckham Estate - Peckham, London
  • Aylesbury Estate - Walworth, London
  • Robin Hood Gardens - Tower Hamlets, London
  • Thamesmead - Thamesmead, London
  • Brunswick - Bloomsbury, London
  • Alexandra & Ainsworth Estate - Camden, London

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