local organisations

and residents



• To learn how to ‘read’ the city not only as a conglomerate of buildings but as a place of collective relations, historical layers, flows, movements, emotions, and political and social activities; to learn how to investigate and understand the context in which we need to act

• To improve communicative skills: communicating with different people from local communities (from professionals in the field to untrained and disadvantaged people) and figuring out a way to get them involved in MapNott together was a great challenge and an excellent training for young architects, as part of their personal and professional development

• To learn to ask the right questions and be focused on finding solutions

• To meet real people, face real issues, discover real relations that take place in the public realm: the complexity of tensions and contradictions in public spaces highlights the necessity of artistic/urban/architectural/design research

• To get to know everyone’s potential and place in a team: what we are really good at and in which aspects we can grow, what we really feel good doing

• To work with local and international experts, as well as to develop our skills through team work

• To enrich our portfolio with live projects

• To meet students from other disciplines and collaborate and learn from them

• To be involved in research that investigates everyday life

• To get to know more about the area where we live

• To invest time in an efficient way in our area

• To collaborate with experts from different fields on the challenges we face and work together towards finding effective solutions

• To learn a new skill

• To get to know other people who live in the area

• To get a new community product/design/service/idea


I’ve learned that even though Carrington is a small area there is still a diverse selection of businesses and personalities.’

 ‘It was difficult to try to remember details of events from years ago.’

 ‘A fascinating project. I would be interested to see whether this leads to any redevelopment of the area other than the planting that is already scheduled.’

 ‘I saw the real value that a project like this could offer to Sneinton residents and groups.’

 ‘I was bowled over by the enthusiasm from young people who interacted with the furniture at the unveiling on the festival.’

 ‘I learnt that having a strong, dedicated team helps achieve the goals of the community. Even when resources are low, sheer determination can help move things along. I also learnt a little about the architectural design process at NTU.’

 ‘Having so few resources was very difficult – both materials and students to help out with the project. I think the timing of the project which fell during the summer break added to this problem.’

• To be involved in socially and economically sustainable research that investigates the borders of architecture, art, and design in contemporary global challenges (including migrations, resource scarcity, community integration and cohesion, spatial justice, ageing and growing population, alienation, and social segregation)

• To test and experiment with design processes’ methodologies

• To conduct research in collaboration with experts from different disciplines

• To get to know local stakeholders and spread our professional network

• To connect teaching methods and content with reality – current issues, people, and places



→ ‘The most unexpected thing that happened was the uncertainty some people had with the power we were offering to them to shape our design ideas.’

 ‘It was a surprise to find out that many of my perceptions of Sneinton were wrong.’

 ‘I feel like those who were engaged in these community projects are more likely to take pride in their surroundings than those who don’t.’

 ‘I enjoy how this project encourages us to be pro-active in the community and ask questions; as when we get older, our curiosity and our boldness in seeking knowledge are sometimes quenched.’

 ‘I feel personally this project has opened my eyes a lot on the areas of Nottingham that are hardly known or used.’

 ‘Visiting the places was like a box with hidden treasures; as the more I learnt about the people in the area and the different things they do, the more I found appreciation for their community spirit.’

 ‘Trying to figure out how to satisfy the community’s needs as a whole was difficult; while some people disliked one design, another person would really enjoy it.’

 ‘I had no idea that the final scheme was a physical installation. As a university student opportunities like this are very rare. Additionally I have met several creative and well-known international artists, which was very interesting and inspiring.’

 ‘I feel as though one of the most unexpected things for me during this project was the public reaction at Sneinton festival. In my mind I knew people would take interest in the project but seeing some of the excitement and gratitude people had during the festival was rewarding.’

 ‘I learnt a lot during this process. This was my first real insight into the life of an architect and I was amazed by the amount of thought and consideration that has to be put into project for a community.’

 'One of the most difficult aspects of the project was constructing the actual structure. We had a lot of requirements to meet and ideas that needed to be refined. We were also constricted by our resources so it was essential to take everything into consideration and build a structure that was everything the community needed it to be.'

→ ‘Realising how many small things are actually going on in our communities without our knowledge or acknowledgement was quite unexpected.’

 ‘I learned that mapping is simply recording and the project needs more of an output to affect positive change.’

 ‘Dealing with the finances and expenses of a project like this can become burdensome.’

 ‘I had not done anything like this before – it’s a very different way of thinking and designing by running a series of activities to devise the brief from the community’s needs.’

 ‘I was surprised how difficult it can be to engage students and the community in the project.’

 ‘This is an important stage in making the places that people live more cohesive now, and improving them for the future.’

 ‘Good architecture responds to people (users, clients, the public, stakeholders) so developing skills in listening to people and developing a conversation with them is vital for architects. Good architecture also responds to place, so “getting under the skin” of particular places is essential.’

→ ‘I learned some good techniques for community engagement, particularly the value of simple exercises that people can complete to start the process of engagement easily and the value of physical “props” – physical items other than just pictures, maps, or documents in getting people to engage and talk.’


• To be involved in research that investigates urban life and addresses social, environmental, economic, and organisational challenges

• To participate in developing a new concept, urban design, or a service in our area

• To deliver a project with tangible outcomes in our locality with limited resources

• To use a university as a knowledge resource, and its capacities in the form of students and experts