The Bartlett School of Planning


Bartlett-JustSpace workshop sees collaboration between university and communities

1 April 2015

Neighbourhood Planning Workshop Banner

Organised by the Bartlett School of Planning and Just Space this event brought together over 60 participants from London’s neighbourhood forums, London and Tower Hamlets Tenants Federation, practitioners, students and researchers from the Bartlett to debate new forms of collaboration between communities and university and to explore how academic staff and students can support local groups who are developing their neighbourhood plans.

The workshop took place in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets on Saturday March 28 and presented a selection of the 18 collaborative projects that planning students from the MSc in Spatial Planning and the MSc in Urban Design and City Planning have developed with six neighbourhood and community groups: Crouch Hill and Hornsey Rise Neighbourhood Forum, Camley Street Neighbourhood Forum, People’s Empowerment Alliance for Custom House, Elephant and Walworth Neighbourhood Forum, Kennington Oval and Vauxhall Forum and Heathrow Villages Neighbourhood Forums. 

Projects have included surveys of local land uses, households, businesses and housing conditions; design proposals for green and pedestrian links; plain-English summaries of planning policies at the London and borough level; step-by-step guides for asset transfer mechanisms and community right to bid; six new co-produced methodologies and a project bank of over 25 case studies.

The projects were developed as part of the postgraduate module "From Strategic Vision to Urban Plan" which aims to encourage live collaborations between students and community activist. The module is organised in partnership with Just Space and reflects the ethic principles outlined in the UCL-JustSpace research protocol.

The workshop participants widely acknowledged that the collaboration between students and communities can generate positive outcomes that go beyond the provision of technical support. Through this process, future planning and design professionals can become more aware of the impacts of planning on local communities; at the same time neighbourhood forums can become more familiar with the process and formats in which their knowledge can be translated into evidence capable of positively influencing planning policy.

"I though the event was terrific on Saturday and it gave me such enthusiasm and direction that I've prepared our NP process 'critical path' today!" Sara, Westminster.

"We had rich discussions during the workshops last Saturday and the forum will definitely make use of the results of your work." Santa, Southwark.

The workshop was funded by DCLG’s Supporting Communities in Neighbourhood Planning. Invited speakers included Ben Clifford, MSc Tutor and Course Director, George Moore, DCLG Decentralisation and Neighbourhood Planning Unit and Richard Lee, JustSpace coordinator.