‘Sense of Place’, was a research project commissioned by Urban Living in 2009, to explore how people’s everyday experiences of their neighbourhood can be turned into active citizenship and neighbourhood renewal.
The Soho Road and Dudley Road areas of Birmingham were used as a pilot because of their potential as housing growth areas. The project consisted of three phases: mapping events to find out what the local issues were; catalyst events to share project findings with local people; and a dissemination event to share findings with a professional audience.
The areas were mapped through orthodox methods- visual observation, interviews and desktop research- and exploratory methods, such as a digital toolkit. Local people were equipped with digital equipment such as PSP handheld gaming devices to directly capture their surroundings and their stories in easy but engaging ways. Based around Google Maps, the toolkit is designed to become an interactive local website that can be easily adopted, adapted and edited by local users. Four community researchers were recruited to be involved in the mapping and catalyst events as well as take the project forward in the future. The project was visible to the community through physical events and an evolving web presence called the Soho Times.
‘Do – Dream – Pledge’ encouraged participants to tell people about what they are doing and seeing locally, share their dreams and aspirations for their place and to pledge to seek new ways to work with others in the community with an “I will if you will” attitude.
- Client: Urban Living
- Consultants: Multistorey, Made, Architecture 00:/, Professor Nabeel Hamdi, Architecture Sans Frontière
- images: 00:\ architects