Creating better places for people

Last month we invited Jacqueline Bleicher, Founding Director of social enterprise Global Urban Design, to facilitate an evening workshop with our team on the role of architects in ‘creating better places for people’.

Jacqueline has over fifteen years’ professional experience as an urban designer, masterplanner, placemaker and architect and actively promotes urban design principles, universal design, inclusive place design and sustainable development practices in her work.

Jacqueline began the evening with questions - What does a successful place look and feel like? How can we ensure that public spaces truly represent and serve the people who live near and use them?

She stressed the importance of valuing communities as experts in co-designing the places they want to live work and play. “Even if you don’t have an existing community, you must research your end user profile,” she said. “Who will you be impacting or working with?”

We were then split into small groups to consider various stages and approaches to community engagement. When and how to engage communities? How can we encourage participation from demographics that might otherwise go unheard? And designing for a ‘complete neighbourhood’ - safety, comfort, the impacts of climate change, ethno-cultural and religious diversity, inclusivity, accessibility, and for people at all stages of life.

Many thanks again Jacqueline. Our team were left thinking about our influence as designers and the actions we can take to work with rather than for the communities to which our buildings and places will ultimately belong.

Global Urban Design is a social enterprise that provides the skills and services required for creating great Places. Jacqueline is also Co- Author of “Our City? Countering exclusion in public space,” a Placemaking Europe publication by STIPO Publishing.