SITUATED CONVERSATIONS TO UNDERSTAND THE WORKINGS OF THE STREET.
'Walking Alongside' as an engagement methodology reveals the possibility of thinking about people’s relationship to cities and urban environments beyond ‘simply’ its physical impact as contained within the boundaries of a delineated site.
Through regular walks with residents on their estate we were able to explore more nuanced questions that highlighted the impetus of spatial attachments that people form and lose to a given place over time. During one walk with 78 year old resident Laura, we were able to understand disabling impacts of the estate - such as, access, paving, lighting, rest stops - and their knock-on effects in terms of confidence, health, safety that might be felt by other (older) people.
The streets of this estate, seen from this perspective (through the eyes of the people living there) - which includes and draws on neighbourhood occupations and personal histories as we traversed the area - allowed us, as prospective designers, to understand the reactions to housing from aspects of people’s life situation as a whole - and not, as is often assumed, as responses wholly to a set of physical provisions.