(Un)Urban: Day 3 – Diversity in East London and Human Centred Design

Day 3 began with another panel discussion, this time on diversity in East London. The first speaker was Judy Ling Wong,who is the director of the Black Environmental Network. Judy spoke about how inspiring engagement and partnership; how we can encourage groups who feel that they are not welcome to use the green spaces nearby to use them by building trust and then gaining a better understanding of their needs. Another way of motivating people to use green spaces is through design which will encourage them to linger there, for example having picnic benches where people can sit and chat rather than benches where it is hard to talk. The second speaker was Dr Nikolay Mintchev from the Institute for Global Prosperity, he discussed ethnic diversity and we were surprised to find out that London is different to other global cities as in more diverse areas like Hackney, there was trust between neighbours and cohesion within the community. Whereas elsewhere with higher levels of diversity there was less trust between different communities. Dr Tim Waterman also spoke about landscape architecture and the idea of how public space is used and how design can affect this. He used the example of Oxford Circus and showed us how its design has been improved to make it more accessible over recent years.

Following the panel discussion and after hearing people’s questions and ideas we then discussed ways that the IROKO theatre group could help to improve the wellbeing of older people using open spaces. These ideas were then fed back to the group as a whole and some of the innovative suggestions included cooking classes, tree planting and open air theatre.

After lunch we continued with our human centred design projects we had begun yesterday. Today we used convergent thinking to help create our prototypes, we focused in on one of our mash-ups and went into much more depth. This enabled us to come up with a really detailed solution which would be very specific to the personas we had previously created. We created a storyboard of our solutions and this allowed us to work out how we could create our prototypes, either using models or role play which we then presented at the end of the day. Reflecting upon our human centred design process many people expressed how useful the process was for coming up with inventive solutions to real world problems and how creative each solution had been.

Storyboards based on each groups persona and their specific needs

Presenting our prototypes

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