5 August 2021

Demystifying the world of built environment design

‘What do we need to think about when analysing and understanding the quality of a space?’ asked Dr James Simpson, during his keynote talk at the Big Local learning workshop held at Kelham Island museum.

Dr James Simpson at the Big Local event

The talk – part of a series of sessions that recipients of Big Local funding can attend to help inform local decision-making – sought to de-mystify the often-complex and messy world of built environment design; by introducing everyday words that can help those without professional design education understand and talk about the environments they routinely inhabit and use.

The answer according to James? ‘How people’s everyday actions turn spaces into places; how personalisation is key to making rich and engaging environments in which to live; and how a sense of attachment and belonging is essential when evaluating the true value of everyday environments.’

These ideas build directly on the research and teaching Dr Simpson and colleagues have been doing as part of the Socio-spatial Urbanism Unit in the Department of Landscape Architecture.

Dr James Simpson at the Big Local event

The talk was followed by a walk around the Little Kelham and surrounding developments, which aimed to encourage participants to discuss aspects, both good and bad, of the new public and private residential spaces.

It also sought to provide detailed insight and ideas that participants could take back and use to help better understand their local areas across England.

PhD researcher and department teaching associate Aimee Felstead also contributed to the event, alongside Alison Vint, Community Development Officer, Thurnscoe Big Local and Zac Tudor, Associate Landscape Architect, Arup (previously Sheffield City Council).

Read more:

The Public Realm and Lived Environment