The Glass-House was involved in a partnership project to engage and involve local residents and stakeholders in the design process for exploring redevelopment options for Broadwater Farm Estate.  

Project date: 2020

The Story

The Glass-House was invited by Karakusevic Carson Architects to deliver a Design Training workshop for members of the Community Design Group (CDG) at Broadwater Farm in Tottenham, North London. The estate is currently part of an area undergoing regeneration being led by LB Haringey, and is due to go to ballot in 2021. The Glass-House invited Urbed to co-design and co-facilitate the workshops as Glass-House Enablers, bringing their independent urban design expertise to the sessions. 

The training offered participants, who included residents and local stakeholders, a safe and independent space to develop a shared understanding of the principles and language of urban and housing design, and to explore the particular qualities of the Broadwater Farm Estate. The sessions touched on how design thinking can influence elements such as parking, green space, facilities and amenities, and was aimed at helping the Community Design Group (CDG) prepare for the journey ahead with the appointed design team.

Due to Covid-19, our Design Training which is typically delivered as an in-person 2-day workshop, became a series of three digital sessions. Delivering the training completely online was a first for our team, and required us to reimagine workshop activities and adapt the learning journey to this new environment.

Using Zoom as our online meeting platform and Miro as our co-creation space, we created a series of interactive sessions that included: an introduction to urban design principles and language; mapping spatial relationships; exploring housing typologies and density; and as a creative co-design activity, re-imagining the undercroft areas currently used for parking.  

One of the innovations in our digital Design Training was to take a hybrid approach to the walking tour of the estate. As it was not possible to do a walkabout together as we usually did due to Covid restrictions, we devised a walking map that those on site could use whilst walking on on their own, and filmed a video walking tour for those not able to do the walk in person. Grace Crannis, our Design Champion, took the lead in terms of gathering and editing footage for our first digital study tour.

The Glass-House will offer a separate Design Enabling session for the group to disseminate learning and involve others in the design process for their estate.

Impact

The training is part of an intensive process to help the CDG gain the confidence to engage in design conversations and decision-making, empowering them to develop a shared language to discuss design and explore the potential routes to the regeneration of their estate.

The Glass-House and our enablers create a safe and impartial environment for participants to learn openly, and to develop and share ideas surrounding the ongoing redevelopment with fellow neighbours, stakeholders and facilitators. The training illuminated how design thinking can influence elements such as parking, green space, facilities and amenities, and helped participants articulate what they love about their estate, and which elements might be improved through regeneration. Our Design Training offered a space for the Community Design Group to build their confidence to work constructively and creatively together, and with the appointed design team looking forward. 

Broadwater’s Community Design Group members reported that they had learned:

 ‘I managed to get out on a real tour of the Broadwater estate yesterday, in the sunshine, with my husband, my son and his girlfriend. It was really good to walk round not only with the knowledge acquired during Saturdays discussions but with the fresh eyes and opinions of my family who joined me.’

“One important thing I learned on the course is that my views count.” 

“An important thing I learned is that we need to be aware of sustainability, community cohesion and costings.” 

“I will use more design vocabulary.“

The impact of Covid-19 and the need to engage digitally has shifted the conversation about accessibility, inclusivity and impact in collaborative design terms. Completing Design Training as a set of digital sessions was a valuable exercise for us to explore the differences between in-person and online engagement, and will allow us to share our learning to enable others to utilise digital skills.