Think Public has started working with residents at Chichester House, operated by Hastoe Housing Association in Plymouth, after running a competition to identify a housing association to work with on a pro-bono basis.
The consultancy launched the competition in November 2009, as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week. The competition drew about 100 entries, according to Think Public head of design Paul Thurston. He says the Chichester House project was selected because ’it had real support from the community’.
He adds, ’The idea is really straightforward and could also apply to other groups.’
The project aims to create a ’skill-sharing space’ in the house, which would be a physical space for residents to exchange ideas with each other and the housing association representatives. Thurston says, ’At the moment communication in houses like this is focused on the notice-board, which can be quite cliquey.’
Think Public is working with the residents on a pro-bono basis following the project’s selection in January. The consultancy has held a workshop with stakeholders and will now be working on the project for the next three months with the aim of creating the skill-sharing space. The workshop involved different members of the community and encouraged them to generate and develop ideas. Think Public also used creative methods to encourage the group to diversity its thinking.
Alice Osborne, head of engagement at Think Public, says, ’The project came directly from the residents and they’re really excited to have a new perspective on it.’
Think Public says it will now be using the scheme as a pilot project to ’develop a programme of design with intent to involve a broad range of community members and support them to facilitate change’.