Year | 2009
Location | Easton, Bristol, UK
Client | Love Easton Urban Design Task Group
For one month the Love Easton Live Project team lived and worked at the Love Easton Café on Stapleton Road in the heart of Easton, Bristol, developing a series of community engagement workshops in partnership with the Love Easton Urban Design Task Force and the Easton Community Partnership. The project led to the production of a document that set out a community-led vision for the regeneration of Easton, and culminated in a professional exhibition at The Architecture Centre in Bristol City Centre.
Easton Community Partnership is a resident-led organisation which works with local people and service providers to improve the neighbourhood environment and increase residents’ influence in decision-making. Together with the project client – Love Easton Urban Design Task Group, made up of Easton residents and volunteers – the team sought to establish a unifying vision for the development of the area as an alternative to the ad-hoc, individual projects undertaken by private developers.
This intensive period of creative community engagement surveyed residents’ aspirations for the area and created a shared vision for Easton’s future. Events included a street festival, invited sessions in the café with local stakeholders and the actual running of the café, inviting everyone in the area in to participate in debate when buying their lunch or having a coffee. Proceeds from the café were put towards the community vision. The document produced not only enabled greater participation of community members at the planning stage of projects by clearly communicating their ideas, but also provided a considered document to work from for prospective developers and the local authority.
Throughout the project the whole team gained a valuable insight into the process of collaborating with local partners, as well as experience in facilitating participatory design workshops with members of the public and other stakeholders. The Live Project team was able to apply their creativity to develop tools, techniques and imagery that could be used in these sessions, and also to illustrate, communicate and suggest their findings effectively. The project team designed and curated an exhibition at The RIBA’s Architecture Centre, Bristol, to further disseminate its findings and engage with the public and relevant bodies in the city. In doing so, the project prompted further debate about the client’s on-going initiatives and the future of the area.