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Change by Design: Cape Town I South Africa I 2015 December 17, 2015

Change by Design is a series of international workshops, exploring participatory design as a tool for advocacy and socio-spatial transformation in marginalised urban areas, in collaboration with grassroots organizations, local NGOs and governmental agencies involved in slum upgrading and housing rights. We focused on Cape Town, South Africa in the inner city district of Woodstock, where housing rights and gentrification have become a hugely pertinent issue. Through a period of intensive fieldwork utilising participatory design tools, we generated strategies which…

Change by Design: London I UK I 2014 December 17, 2014

London is undergoing a rapid transformation. Where is the space for communities in these visions? In September 2014, Architecture Sans Frontières-UK in partnership with Citizens-UK, UCL, and the University of Sheffield undertook a workshop that focussed on the impact of the regeneration of the Euston area through the HS2 proposals. The aim of this engagement was to inform a Citizens Charter that captured local needs and aspirations for the foreseen large scale development around the station. ASF-UK utilised participatory design…

Change by Design | Ecuador | August 2013 December 17, 2013

The workshop was aimed at defining cross-scalar design options for the future upgrading of Los Pinos, a peri-urban informal settlement located in the municipality of Mejia, south of Quito. Based on the exploration of residents’ spatial practices and imaginations, the workshop investigated ways in which present occupiers can be meaningfully involved in an integrated design/development process as active agents of change, rather than beneficiaries of top-down visions and spatial solutions. The workshop carried out a series of activities to facilitate…

World Urban Forum 2012 May 13, 2012

Participatory design methodologies at the World Urban Forum ASF-UK facilitated a training event on participatory design methodologies at the World Urban Forum in Naples, Italy. These methods have been developed in the ‘Change-by-Design’ action-research workshops implemented by ASF-UK in Brazil and Kenya. The training attracted over 100 participants from a diverse range of backgrounds – residents, CBOs, NGOs, private sector, academics, as well as managers of large scale development projects and local and central government officials. It consisted of a…

The Eden Project I Cornwall I UK I 2011 December 17, 2011

Waste materials from a number of industrial sectors could be made useful for new buildings, diverting valuable resources from landfill. An efficient process of identification, collection, innovative re-design, and distribution is required to realise such a programme. Currently, knowledge of locally specific waste resources available in the south west of England simply does not exist. The ‘harvest map’ process seeks to provide the first link in a process desperately needed to ensure potentially useful materials are made available to designers…

Change by Design I Kenya I 2011 December 17, 2011

Like many developing countries, Kenya faces a considerable challenge of slums, a challenge that is growing by the day. In Nairobi, the capital, millions of people live in small, unhealthy, relatively expensive, tin and iron shacks with little or no tenure security which exacerbates their poverty and socio-political marginality. While slum upgrading programmes which aim to improve the social, economic, and environmental conditions exist in Kenya, they currently provide little to no opportunity for slum dweller participation. How can slum…

ROOTS Architecture building workshop: WOMAD I UK I 2010-2011 May 18, 2011

ROOTS Architecture building workshop: WOMAD, Chippenham, UK / 2010  The workshop was inspired by Oliver Lowenstein from Fourth Door. He was interested in the ‘overlap, in spirit at least, between the emerging grassroots architecture network driving community projects around the world and the relatively new passions for the many branches of the world music tree.’ (Oliver Lowenstein).  There is very little opportunity for small bands or musicians to play at WOMAD, so the workshop brief was for four teams of…

Building Plot: The Eden Project, Cornwall, UK I 2008-2010 December 17, 2010

Building Plot #1 Material Testing Since the decline of tin mining, china clay extraction, fishing and agriculture in Cornwall, the area is recognised as one of the poorest in the UK. It is one of four UK areas that qualify for poverty-related grants from the EU. To begin to address some of the issues around the lack of employment in the area ASF, in partnership with the Eden Project, are developing a small piece of land, ideally located adjacent to…

Places of Change: Chelsea Flower Show: London I UK I 2010 May 18, 2010

ASF returned to Chelsea in 2010 as part of the Eden Project’s Places of Change programme. Over three hundred homeless and disadvantaged people were given the opportunity to participate in the design, construction and horticulture training programmes in order to create the largest show garden in the history of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.  ASF worked specifically with Noah Enterprise (Luton), Watford New Hope Trust (Watford) and Crisis Skylight (London) to build half of the main central timber spine. We…

Learning beyond borders : Durban, KwaZulu/Natal I South Africa I 2010 May 6, 2010

South Africa is home to the world’s largest population living with HIV: 5.7 million people in 2008 (UN Aids, ‘Aids epidemic updated 2009’ unaids.org).  Profound stigmatisation of the disease means that national education campaigns do not always have the intended effect. The workshop had three main objectives: to obtain qualitative cultural maps of two communities and understand how these relate to the physical environment; to assist with the capacity building of BTB for this specific project and develop meaningful partnerships/connections…

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