Design, Engagement and Practice

About usDEP Map

The Design, Engagement and Practice Research Group is interested in experimentation and collaboration in the broad field of architecture and design. Through research, advocacy, action and engagement we explore the role of design and architecture in purposeful societal and systemic change.

Researchers in this group are working with an expanded notion of design, with an understanding of the architect as a catalyst for social change and innovation and with an approach that works in partnership with different disciplines, and a range of communities and industries. All of the group's projects are underpinned by the tools, processes, methodologies and knowledges of design.

The Design, Engagement and Practice researchers have expertise in the following areas:

  • Housing
  • Co-production
  • Public space
  • Gender and architecture
  • Design for climate change
  • Culture and climate change
  • Design theory, practice and methodologies

Selection of current projects

Topological Atlas: Mapping Contemporary Borderscapes

Funding: ERC €1.5M

Topological Atlas aims to develop a research programme for mapping, analysing and intervening in border areas in the form of a digital atlas. The project uses topology as conceptual framework and methodology to make maps that produce ‘seamless transitions’ from the space of the migrant to that of the security apparatus that creates barriers to movement.

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Optimising Care Delivery Models to Support Ageing-In-Place (ODESSA)

Funding: ESRC (UK), ANR (France) and NSFC (China), €1 million

This three-year venture will work with people who are over the traditional retirement age of 60 to find new and innovative ways of adapting a person’s home so that they can live independently for longer and avoid going into residential care as well as making it easier for them to access public services.

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Experimental Co-Design Approaches (ECoDA)

Funding: H2020 Marie Curie Individual Fellowship, 156K

The aim of this research project is to create an open-source platform for enhancing urban resilience. Specifically, the project involves the prototyping of digital tools and processes for shared knowledge production that can enable civic practices of resilience to emerge and multiply.

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Research making an impact

Networks of resilience in suburban neighbourhoods

Neighbourhoods across Europe are becoming more resilient as a result of research which proposes new models of urban regeneration. Communities in France and London have set up a network of hubs which host and support a range of collective activities and this strategy is being adopted in other cities across Europe.

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R-Urban - digital resourses developed through Ecoda project

PhD students and projects

Our School has one of the largest groups of architecturally based research students in the UK. We are renowned for the quality of our PhD programmes and have a vibrant Graduate School that enjoys strong links to our research groups.

Find out more about our current PhD projects and opportunities

Postgraduate Research Activitites

Funders and collaborators

Research carried out in this group is funded by by many organisations and reflects the interdisciplinary nature of our work.

  • Horizon2020 ERC
  • AHRC
  • Horizon2020 Marie Curie
  • Ashden Trust
  • Jerwood Charitable Trust
  • Innovate UK
  • ARUP
  • CITU Developments
  • Bolsover District Council
  • ISRF