UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering researchers featured in ‘Imperfect by Design’

19 June 2023

UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering staff and students engage with academic colleagues, industry and the public in exciting showcase event at The Bartlett

mPhoto of the audience at the Imperfect by Design showcase

Last week the Bartlett organised ‘Imperfect by Design’, an in-person interactive celebration of public and community engagement within the faculty.

Over 80 staff and students from across the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment attended a participatory showcase of the many ways Bartlett staff and students engage with public groups to make a positive difference for the lives and work of our partners, generating impact and improving our research, teaching and learning.

The event included some lively demonstrations of engagement activities, including an activity run by Ruth Unstead-Joss from the UCL Institute for Environmental Design, who sparked a discussion on different perspectives and understanding by evaluation, whilst showcasing the work of the Evaluation Exchange. UCL Institute for Environmental Design PhD researchers Simon Vakeva-Baird, Yuhong Wang and Sahar Nava had posters highlighting their engagement practice: sharing how they work with public and community groups, the outcomes of this engagement, and what imperfection means to them.

Sahar Nava shared their work on the Alton Estate, where they, through a co-design process, explored residents’ perceptions of different aspects of regeneration by conducting a community-based Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to evaluate overall environmental impacts of building projects over their lifecycle. The LCA has enabled members of the community and a UCL team to co-develop a regeneration scenario that reflects the wishes of the community.

Dr Gemma Moore, UCL Institute for Environmental Design researcher and Faculty Impact Lead, who was involved in organizing the event, noted:

Imperfect by Design was an opportunity to collectively reflect on the often-messy processes of engaging with people and groups outside of academia. It is vitally important to talk about imperfection in our work – it gives us the space and freedom to learn and improve. Engagement isn’t straightforward but it is worthwhile. Imperfect by Design is a reminder to not be afraid to do something, make mistakes, move forward, and just keep trying.

The event was organized by the Bartlett Community of Engagers – a network focused on collaboration and sharing experiences of undertaking engagement work. The network is open to all staff and students within The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment and aims to promote a culture of engaged research.