Conducting design & urban research across a number of council estates in Southwark, South London helping the council to deliver its objectives for the Great Estates Programme.


Southwark Council

What we did

We define co-design as "an approach that centres around the idea that people who are affected by a decision, event or product should have an opportunity to influence it."

Taking inspiration from the work we did on Samsung's #NotASchool Programme in 2019, our goal was to teach residents co-design and design research skills.

We facilitated resident engagement via four steps:

Meet the Residents - we met the initial resident group to discuss topics about their lived experience such as sense of belonging and self esteem, their relationship with the council, young people, greenspace, cleaniness, security and more.

Virtual ethnography - We asked residents to do three things: take pictures of meaningful places on their estate, record videos on places that had potential or could be improved in the local area & invite friends and family who live locally on the estate to participate in a round table discussion about local life.

Community advocate training - We delivered a short ‘Introduction to User Research’ workshop to our initial group of residents. This is so they could comfortably engage their friends and family in a round table session talking about life on the estate.

Community led design research - Our community advocates led their friends and family through an hour-long group discussion in which we generated over 10 hours of tape.


We created a research report which communicated:

• The summary about a topic relating to residents.

• The positives about residents' lived experiences on a council estate.

• The challenges about residents' lived experiences on a council estate.

• The opportunities for Southwark Council to improve the lived experience for their residents.

The toolkit provides you with practical methods that you can put into practice straight away that will help you work with residents to address some of the community based challenges that come up in the Great Estates programme.