Common Affordances

Common Affordances


Grangetown, Cardiff, Wales, CF, United Kingdom

Project Description

Rethinking the Back Lane Typology

The thesis started from the observation of the back lanes, which is a commonly found housing typology in Grangetown as well as throughout the UK. The thesis asks whether the back lanes of existing residence in Grangetown can be reinterpreted and re-purposed as a civic place.

The chosen site falls within the top 10% most deprived in the housing sector for its living environment in Wales according to the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation (WIMD 2019).

Besides site-specific issues, the thesis also tackles underpopulation in single-family houses and overcrowding issues in shared housing caused by only having 1/2 unit types, taking the opportunity to expand and test the idea of co-living on site, assuming a group of residents that agrees to come together to form a community land trust that tests for an exemplar co-living society. Key interventions are:
-Repurposing the back lanes that are currently underused as a civic place
-Retrofitting to decarbonise all houses
-Adjustment of house sizes to provide 7 types of units, including private houses and rentable affordable shared houses
-Addition of shared facility modules for local residents

The back lane is repurposed as a civic place to support an affordable, low impact community living that can tackle the climate crisis, social isolation, and economic uncertainty. Proposed scheme is a primer that tests the potential affordances of the back lane typology that can be repeatable across all similar typologies that enhances the value of these existing houses to allow them to stay relevant in the future.

Leng Yan Chow



I am passionate about public-based projects that are humble and context related. My design ethos is to create spaces that enhance the living quality of people while being sensitive to environmental and human needs.

Other work by Leng Yan