human centred design public space

“People ignore the design that ignores them” | BD Online

Elephant tracks, fox paths, pedestrian’s revenge, desire lines… There are a multitude of names for the human-made paths that gradually form when people reject designed/designated routes and make their own way from A to B. These paths perhaps symbolise all-too-common failures in human-centred design. Firstly, designers and planners fail to appreciate how people navigate their surroundings, as Frank Chimero’s quote in Read more…

high line gentrification

There goes the neighbourhood: lessons from the High Line | RIBA Journal

One of the co-founders of the New York High Line, Robert Hammond, surprisingly revealed in a recent interview that he considered the project to have “failed” in some critical areas [1]. In particular, Hammond pointed to the neglect of meaningful engagement with local communities from the start of the planning and design process as a grave oversight. The ‘High Line Read more…

flood

After the flood | ProLandscaper magazine

Complaining about the weather is a traditional national pastime in Britain. Summer is now synonymous with damp disappointment: rainy bank holidays, washed out Wimbledon and mudbath music festivals. And of course we grimly joke about the inevitability of it all, now that soggy summers are commonplace. This year’s great British summer has seen more record-breakingly bad weather: June 2016 gained Read more…

stickynotes

Public consultation: you’re doing it wrong (ProLandscaper)

Public consultation, community engagement, stakeholder participation, surveys, workshops, meetings… How can designers discover what people actually want when designing a scheme? These skills aren’t usually taught in professional training, and it’s easy to mishandle this sensitive and complex area – to the potential detriment of design, or worse, planning objections and local opposition. Avoiding delays and negative PR is good; Read more…

pocket park

Empty pockets | ProLandscaper magazine

To round off a year of thoroughly mixed messages on the value of parks, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) launched the “ambitious programme of pocket parks” promised in the 2015 general election manifesto. £1.5m is available to fund up to 100 pocket parks across England. However, at an underwhelming £15k per park, I’m not sure what this definition Read more…

love peckham

The Ballad of Peckham Square

Public space is a fascinating place. I wrote my MSc dissertation on an urban town square and the ways people use it. The space in question was Peckham Square, originally designed as a new civic heart for Peckham, that scruffy, maligned bit of south-east London that I once called home. A lengthy co-design process was run intended to ‘envision a better future for the square’, according Read more…

Lung disease | ProLandscaper magazine

Phil Jones in his column ‘View from the top’, (Pro Landscaper, August 2015) looked at the threat to parks from ongoing budget cuts to local authorities, offering the startling conclusion that ‘privatisation is the least of our worries’. If that’s so, I can’t imagine what he considers the worst case scenario. Not with a bang… Rewind to July this year. Read more…