Putting communities at the heart of residential design | Wates

Putting communities at the heart of residential design

Kates Ives, Development Director for Wates Residential, has contributed to ‘Ideas on Co-creation: Listening, Trusting, Communicating, Empowering, Advocating‘, an insight report edited by leading architecture practice, Sheppard Robson.

Featuring views from experts, industry leaders, architects, clients, community members, council representatives and residential planners the report explores the lessons and principles of putting people and communities at the heart of the design process when building new homes.

You can read Kate Ives’ contribution below.

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Putting communities at the heart of residential design

There is a fascinating Ted Talk about a design challenge called ‘Build a Tower, Build a Team’ by Peter Skillman. In short, it shows that primary school children are often better at creating innovative solutions to design challenges than experts.

It’s because of their creative freedom.

They don’t have boundaries and only see the challenge. They also don’t see each other as competition or carry ego, instead looking to the solution with togetherness, creativity and a sense of fun. Why then are we so scared of asking local people to pick up a pencil and draw urban regeneration solutions? Why do we think, as housing practitioners, that we have all the answers?

Kates Ives - Development Director, Wates Residential

The industry and politicians alike have struggled with the concept of community-led development because they haven’t given enough trust. Trust is hard.

It must often be earned, rather than lost, and can be fragile.

Trust is the only way we can deliver the homes we need for ourselves, our parents, our children and our friends. We are in this together, standing alongside local people. This is a shared challenge and, as housing practitioners we are the vehicle through which the process is delivered. We are not the solution.

The solution is often complex and multi-faceted, so we need all hands on deck to find it!

Home is the cornerstone of health, education, safety, family life and happiness, and co-creation will unlock opportunity for us all. To achieve this, we all need to trust each other.

To receive trust, all you have to do is give it. Unequivocally”

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