JUNCTION FOR COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Supported by: St. Margaret's House, Roman Road Trust
Award: Nominated for the Helen Hamlyn Design Award, 2016.
Exhibition: 'Show RCA 2016' and 'Service Design Fringe Festival' during London Design Week, 2016.
Project type: Group.
During the six months, we carried out desk research, idea development, and prototype. I took charge of field research, conducting workshops, insight synthesising, design strategy and direction, business, partnership engagement, promotion, film editing, animation, illustration, and interactive installation.
This project has been inspired by the many issues of gentrification that I found out during the time working on my dissertation and crucially its impact on community spirit. Bethnal Green is one of the main areas encountering gentrification in London and this was the reason for starting our community-based project there. Throughout an in-depth research period over 3 months, we gathered substantial information through observation, interviews, problem identification and workshops with local people.
I was in charge of the research and design strategy part in this project. The research phase includes desk research and qualitative research. I carried out listenings (user research) and field research with the community organiser from St. Margaret’s House and met over 150 local people to understand what they really enjoy doing in the area as well as their concerns. I conducted interviews, carried out problem identification, co-creation, and validation workshops with them. In order to make the service inclusive, I strived to engage people from children to elderlies and include as many backgrounds as possible.
We mapped out 5 key types of resources that have the opportunity to be developed further in the first graphic through field research. The second graphic shows the places where people know and enjoy. There is a gap between available local resources and the resources that people actually use. This finding feeds into two of our insights - Information channels are fragmented, and lack of integration among physical and human resources.
Throughout an in-depth research period over 3 months, 3 key problems in this area emerged: Fragmented information channels, lack of supportive programmes, and inadequate integrated resources. Those insight has been transformed into design strategy and actual service that got plenty of positive feedback from local people on service pilot day.
01. Fragmented information channels
Information channels are fragmented because the community doesn’t know what events are happening and St. Margaret’s House doesn’t particularly know what the community might need.
02. Lack of supportive programmes
Supportive programmes in which people can contribute their talents and share their experience are not very common.
03. Inadequate integrated resources
We noticed a gap between the capabilities of local people and the awareness of physical resources in the area
IDEA GENERATION AND PROTOTYPING
In order to design a service that responds to local people's need. We co-create and validate the service with local people and visitors and developed a MVP on pilot day. There are 6 workshops that has been conducted so far.
After reviewing our research and identifying these problems, we came up with our community-based service, JUNCTION for Bethnal Green and Bow. JUNCTION is a community-based service that includes programmes and a website that can be delivered in a diverse array of community hubs.
The programmes and the website are designed to empower local people to share their thoughts and potentially take that further to increase their engagement. This connects and navigates people through community amenities and human resources. It can also be achieved via a bottom-up approach with people uploading their photos and thoughts in order to share their local experience and connect with others in their area.