Reclaiming the Street in London – Participatory Fund

  • Enrica Papa
  • Ipshita Basu
  • Emilia Smeds
  • Maria Kramer

THE RESEARCH PROJECT focused on two street reallocation pilots in London: a parklet in Redbridge and a school street in Lambeth. The aim is to advance mobility justice: doing research with people, not for them or on them. The activities considered EDI aspects of street uses, allowing for more intensive co- production with community members who are underrepresented in local planning debates (lower-income, BAME individuals).

Knowledge will be co-produced, across the UoW team and community partners, on the following questions: How do people use, perceive and experience street experiments? Are there differences between social categories, that indicate injustices? How do people perceive the experiment (implementation) process and their ability to participate in it? Is the process perceived as just?

An innovative storytelling approach will seek to capture people’s narratives of lived experiences in public space, with a pilot of co- design approaches developed within architectural research. The activities seek to build the capacity of community partners/ members to assess the potential of street experiments for just transitions towards post-car cities.

The project has broadened partner organisations’ public engagement and campaigning strategies to encompass a greater diversity of local people (including harder-to-reach groups) and more holistic perspective on-street space, where the focus is not only on infrastructure and traffic, but also social connections, play and ‘publicness’ of space.

The project has empowered Redbridge and Lambeth community members by evaluating street experiments based on their own criteria, deliberating on diverse and conflicting knowledge claims, including considerations of fairness, and how to meaningfully collect and present qualitative data (e.g. experiential knowledge).

MORE is a part of Open Studio project run by the School of Architecture + Cities at the University of Westminster to make its design, research and practice-based work available online while it is happening.

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