Urban Alternatives is launched by a collaboration of different actors which are united in their efforts to create a more democratic, just and sustainable world. This map seeks to highlight initiatives that work towards this goal. Proposal for initiatives not listed yet can be made directly on the website. This process is open to new collaborations.



Inclusive Housing & Public Space

What challenges did this initiative look to address?

The area in which Homebaked is situated was designated for demolition under a regeneration scheme designed to reverse the historic decline of low-demand areas in the UK and get money flowing through them. These areas, identified as ‘market failures,’ were unlike anywhere else in Britain; house prices had stagnated and HMRI was tasked with demolishing surplus stock and replacing them with new, but fewer, houses. Homebaked’s neighbourhood was scheduled for the largest clearance programme of the scheme, with plans to demolish 1,800 residential and commercial properties. The programme was slowed by the housing crisis that followed the 2008 financial crash until it was pulled completely by the government in 2010, leaving the area in a state of limbo. The disappointment of the failure of another major regeneration scheme and the wider societal picture of recession and spending cuts all combined to leave a legacy of frustration with many residents. After 15 years of living under these circumstances, many people have lost trust in government schemes all together. They were sick of waiting for something to be delivered.

Mitchell’s, the neighbourhood bakery founded in 1903 and known as ‘The Pie Shop’ by football fans from all over the world, was among the buildings earmarked for demolition. The owners, then in their seventies and considering retirement, were losing customers as the surrounding streets were emptied. When the renewal programme was frozen but the demarcation for demolition wasn’t lifted, they had little choice but to close the bakery and retire without compensation.

What has changed?

The bakery has great symbolic importance locally as a place where people’s paths cross, but also resonates at a more universal level. Bricks and bread, providing sustenance and shelter, are two of the most basic things a community needs. As an alternative to the original idea of renting out the space for business, a group formed that wanted to run the bakery as a social enterprise based on community ownership. While the closure of the bakery seemed to reflect Anfield’s decline, the prospect of re-opening suggested the possibility of a future. The story of the bakery as a place of resistance started spreading nationally and internationally, meanwhile the group negotiated with the council to lift the demarcation over the bakery which kept them in the former demolition zone and made it impossible to find investment in order to buy the building.

The Cafe and Bakery have become a real hub and a meeting point for the different communities in the area, as well as visitors. Next to the day-to-day business they offer training courses for local people and put on events in the evenings. They also run a wholesale and catering business based on their pies and sausage rolls and operate a stall most weekends at markets across the region. The cafe is open 6 days a week, employing local people and paying a living wage.

How did it happen?

The initial project that Homebaked grew from, 2up2down, was supported by the Biennial and initiated by artist Jeanne van Heeswijk, and asked how the local community could take matters into their own hands regarding the development of their neighbourhood and a common future. 

 Homebaked Community Land Trust was born in April 2012 with the aim of refurbishing the bakery building to provide workspace for social enterprise and affordable housing. It is run today by a board of volunteers and a growing collective that includes people from the local area and professionals from the fields of law, architecture, accountancy and housing.

Community Land Trusts are local organisations set up and run by ordinary people to develop and manage homes as well as other assets that are important to a community, like community enterprises, food growing or workspaces. The CLT’s main task is to make sure homes are genuinely affordable, based on what people actually earn in their area, not just for now but for every future occupier. The Homebaked Bakery Co-operative was incorporated in June 2012 by a group of local residents passionate about the possibilities of re-opening the bakery in community ownership, and creating a successful enterprise with social as well as financial value. 

Homebaked CLT embarked on a process of designing, planning and learning together with the local community; a project which they named ‘Build your own High Street.’ This project has grown from the model of the bakery, and proposes a larger scheme of community-led development and regeneration of the land adjacent to the building, providing workspace for social enterprise, long-term affordable housing, and communal outdoor space.

 This work is led by a group of local people who form the core design team. Together they appointed the Liverpool based architects of Architectural Emporium who are working with them to develop the design for the new scheme.