Growing Communities

Year | 2021
Location | Browning Court, Rotherham
Clients | SYHA

The Growing Communities Live Project team has been working with South Yorkshire Housing Association (SYHA) to produce a collaborative landscape strategy for Browning Court in Rotherham. SYHA is a non profit housing organisation, providing homes for 10,000 people in the South Yorkshire Area. Browning Court, one of the organisations’ residences, offers short-term affordable accommodation to 10 residents with long term mental health issues. 

The brief for the project contained three key parts. First, the development of a detailed landscape design package for Browning Court. Second, a SYHA Collaborative Landscape Toolkit to replicate the participatory process undertaken during the Live Projects. And finally, a Useful Design Principles document, specific to landscape design, to aid client understanding of what makes a good garden and provide inspiration for garden improvement. 

Currently, the outdoor space at Browning Court is not well used, as a result of poor access on a steep site. Careful thought and planning was needed in order to create a vibrant and accessible space on a low budget. The team undertook a series of engagement activities with different user groups, including a guided garden walk and a questionnaire. This informed our understanding of how the current residents and staff use the space, and what kind of spaces they would value in a new design.

Through a collaborative process with SHYA, the team produced a detailed landscape package for the client which included visuals, plans, sections, product specifications and costings. The team also specified the softscape planting strategy, considering the light, maintenance and a consistent colour and material palette to bring the whole garden together. Additionally, the team began a collaborative relationship with a landscaping company, with the intention of handing over the project to them to carry out. 

The Collaborative Landscape Toolkit will be used by SHYA staff to plan future landscaping projects. This participatory toolkit focuses on engaging with all user groups by implementing a variety of collaborative methods. The toolkit includes sections on understanding different groups’ priorities and creating short term and long term goals. As a Live Project group, Growing Communities were able to offer the client a realistic, costed and well planned vision for their outdoor space. In addition, the clients now have the knowledge and tools to undertake future collaborative projects and take their ideas to the next stage.


Mentor: John Sampson
Client: South Yorkshire Housing Association
Location: Rotherham, UK
Students: Anureena D’costa, Zhonghuang Li, Lucy Stittle, Haemish
Subhash, Johanna Lynn, Joseph Mwaisaka, Nicole Foo Shuli, (Judy)
Rongdi Zhu, Kamile Kesylyte, Sevval Ahiskali, Letong Hou, Yanzhen
Long, Boyang Yuan, Yiran Zhang, Emmeline Trenchard-Mole