By Katerina Alexiou & Theodore Zamenopoulos (Open University research partners)
The Open University in collaboration with The Glass-House Community Led Design have developed a new site for individuals and groups involved in local placemaking projects called Community Design Exchange (CDE).
CDE is a gallery and social network site specially developed in order to directly source individual stories and experiences from people who have taken part in community-led design projects (including photos, videos and text). Groups can use the site to showcase their achievements and make their voices heard. We also hope the space will provide a space for sharing and learning and allow people to network and build on each other’s experience.
We welcome contributions from individuals and communities around the country, no matter how small and at what stage in their journey. Visit the site to Find Community Projects, Share your Stories and Discuss with others in the site forum.
Community Design Exchange is part of the activities of a project called Valuing Community-Led Design, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) under the Connected Communities program. The aim of the research project is to collate, articulate and disseminate evidence about the value of community-led design and bring the relevant stakeholders together to share good practice and form a research agenda for the future.
In developing the site we worked closely with The Glass-House and held focus groups with nine different community groups involved in transforming their local areas to develop, test and evaluate it (Friends of Barnfield Estate, Kirdford Community Led Plan, Canterbury Society, Wards Corner Community Coalition, LCNC, Hackbridge and Beddington Corner NDG, Goldsmiths Community Centre, The Mill and Peckham Vision – to whom we are very grateful!).
We believe that the medium offers the opportunity for wider dissemination of evidence about the benefits of community-led design in an open, intuitive, and visual way. The focus on image, video and storytelling allows making a distinct contribution to the theme of valuation, where emphasis is on articulation and communication rather than measurement.
We hope you enjoy exploring Community Design Exchange and that you share it with your friends and colleagues.