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The Junction: Placemaking & Wayfinding Workshops with The Glass-House

Posted on 15 December 2021

Written by:

Jake Stephenson-Bartley

The Glass-House was brought in by The Junction Business Improvement District (BID) and a consortium of partners in September to help them develop a strategy and action plan for their programme of walkabouts, and then to help them capture and consolidate the group’s learning and ideas for activating change.

The Consortium, led by The Junction BID and including a range of community organisations in Battersea, secured seed funding from the Mayor of London’s High Streets for All Challenge Fund for the initial stage of a project to enhance the environment in Clapham Junction (Battersea) for residents, visitors, businesses, and other organisations.

Clapham Junction lies at the heart of Battersea, and like many other areas around the UK, The Junction has been badly affected by the pandemic. The Junction BID is in a unique position to foster partnerships between businesses and a wide range of community groups and organisations to shape the future of their area; to create a safe space for people to explore, mobilise, share dialogue and collaborate all towards the beneficiary transformation of The Junction, the heart of Battersea.

Street art of Northcote Road in Battersea by Tom Rooth

The aim of the first phase of the initiative was to use the walkabouts and discussion groups to focus on a community-led examination of the key features of The Junction and the activities that take place within it. The group wanted to understand The Junction’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges. The project set out to lay the foundations for longer term initiatives, to build a network of community-led and cross-sector collaborative action, whilst building upon the rich local history of social action among the consortium partners and within the wider community.

Unearthing and mobilising assets within the network of the consortium partners

Kick-off Workshop

At the beginning of October, The Glass-House delivered the initial  Kick-off Workshop to the consortium of partners. The workshop was a fast-paced interactive space to explore the possibilities of unearthing and mobilising assets within their community to drive change, and to consider the process of engaging members of their community through a series of walkabouts as a method of both research and wider engagement. 

The workshop took a co-design approach to working with the partners, exploring key urban design features of The Junction and offering a loose framework for conversation and to co-design a programme of collaboration.

An image from one of the mapping exercises, which looked at The Junction through both an urban design and experiential lens in order to identify key themes and areas of focus for the

The workshop concluded with a clear set of themes which emerged from the discussions throughout the day. This allowed the consortium partners to begin to develop the basis of their walkabout activities.

Walkabouts and Activities

Building on ideas developed at the Kick off Workshop and returning to the working group’s original brief, the consortium partners arranged various engagement activities to kick-start a community-led examination of The Junction. These walkabouts took place in early November across The Junction.

A total of 90 people were involved in the walks and talks, which focused on themes such as identity, movement and wayfinding and green space, to name a few, and drew a mixed demographic of attendees from within The Junction. The walks also involved various community groups within the heart of Battersea;  Battersea Society, Katherine Low Settlement, Providence House, What Next? Wandsworth, Waste Not Want Not, and Maysoule Road Community Group, as well as business members of the Clapham Junction BID all took part.

Before the Consortium led their own walkabouts, they started with a test walkabout of their own, where the Glass-House facilitators were guided around The Junction

Sharing and Action Planning

In our final workshop, we focused on facilitating the sharing of the various findings, discoveries and stories from the engagement activities led by the consortium partners between mid-October and mid-November. 

By prioritising recommendations which emerged from the discoveries, opportunities and challenges of the engagement activities, the consortium group were able to create clear action planning frameworks for the potential next steps of the working group.

During this workshop the consortium partners were asked to consider a recommendation and map the possibilities against an action planning framework.

Emerging Themes for the Future of The Junction

The Junction: Placemaking and Wayfinding Project was the start of a much bigger conversation within The Junction, and demonstrated that much is to be learned through creating the opportunities for dialogue and collaboration with local people, businesses and communities. The activities carried out over a two-month period produced a long list of recommendations, some specifically targeted to particular places and actors in the placemaking landscape, others much more strategic, some quick wins and others requiring long-term vision and planning.

Participants were grouped in pairs to organise post-its onto themed circle diagrams, creating clusters of related points to identify some key priorities from the notes taken by the participants during the presentations

What’s Next?

The conversations and discoveries that were made will be continued into the new year, building on a rich tapestry of existing and new networks to catalyse an infrastructure of collaboration. This will provide an invaluable opportunity for visioning, master planning and placemaking looking forward as they continue their journey of driving change and creating opportunity within The Junction. 

In the new year The Glass-House will  continue on this journey with the consortium of partners in an upcoming research partnership, supporting the members in mobilising and unearthing assets within their community.

To keep updated with any news relating to The Junction BID please visit here

There will be more news to follow in the new year with a more detailed story of the project and a report mapping out the project journey and learning…