Green Gown Awards 2017 - University of the West of England, Bristol - Highly Commended

Tags: community | Green Gown Awards 2017 | bristol | University of the West of England

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Hands on Bristol - Live Architecture Lab

Hands on Bristol’s Live Architecture Lab brings together community groups with Architecture students to co-create projects that make positive changes within the city. Typically, this might include the participatory design and/or build of sustainable public community spaces.

The project functions as a Living Lab, in which both students and local communities create knowledge and exchange skills and expertise. The project has involved over 200 students working on over 48 community-based projects, with 38 different community groups over 5 years. We see the practice as a form of spatial agency that empowers a community or not-for-profit organisation and local people to participate in making and re-making their places. The project and its outputs have been recognised with an Honourable Mention in the Live Projects Network Awards 2017 (https://designcorps.org/seed-awards-about/) and was selected as one of the ‘Best Student Design-Build Projects Worldwide 2016' by ArchDaily (http://www.archdaily.com/794566/the-best-student-design-build-projects-worldwide-2016).

Top 3 learnings:

1 We learnt to work with, rather than work for our community partners.

2 We learnt to hand over responsibility to our students (when we do this we find that students rise to the challenge).

3 We learnt that building and maintaining community connections takes time (there is no quick fix with community collaborations).

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