Professional Practices Conference
Dinah will be presenting the paper:
What are the benefits for small practices in developing independent critical research?
at the Professional Practices in the Built Environment Conference, 27-28 April 2017, University of Reading UK
In our practice we have spent the last two years developing a research project that firstly we believe has a real importance and secondly has allowed us to gain competitive advantage and bring in new work.
Rather than using our own work, as larger practices often do, we decided to take an independent look at ten housing schemes. We gathered our own observational data, and used it to develop new tools for assessing how people use external spaces. This empirical approach meant that we have been able to explore issues that are relevant and useful to ourselves as designers and, most importantly, to new clients: We have tapped into a real need in the housing industry from land acquisition, through to design, neighbourhood management and seemingly less tangible issues of community resilience, health and well-being.
For a small practice like ours an independent critical approach offers a number of benefits; we can use it to influence our design and to build knowledge in an area where we currently have little expertise. We are also free to explore the data, unhindered by desired outcomes, which brings a recognisable authenticity. This paper will share the process and present the findings.