Groundwork London uses co-creation to support communities to become strong, healthy and socially cohesive neighbourhoods, empowering them to meet their aspirations and priorities. We collaborate with residents, stakeholders and local authorities to co-create healthy places to live that are inclusive, resilient and inter-connected with nature.
An inclusive and socially cohesive neighbourhood is characterised by a strong sense of trust and cooperation among its residents. It fosters positive relationships and interactions, promotes inclusivity, and encourages collective action towards common goals. Making connections and supporting nature on people’s doorstep can have numerous benefits, including improved air quality, enhanced well-being, increased biodiversity, and stronger community ties. Green spaces contribute to this by providing opportunities for physical activity, relaxation, socialising and stress reduction.
What is co-creation?
Co-creation is a collaborative process that ensures inclusive and creative change, with communities as equal partners. It requires ongoing cooperation, and collaboration from residents, stakeholders and local authorities during the design, implementation, and management of spaces, activities and decision-making processes. Groundwork London projects support communities and partners on this journey.
Our Landscape Architects work closely with our community engagement team, designing in harmony with local people and the environment. Through robust and creative design and engagement processes, we promote a sense of belonging and ownership among residents. Shared spaces, such as gardens and playgrounds create opportunities for residents to meet and engage in activities together.
We aim to engage all members of the community, including those who are hard to reach, in the co-creation process as their input and insights inform relevant development strategies in response to their social, cultural, and economic context. We use a range of engagement tools and techniques, such as local events, neighbourhood meetings, social gatherings and online platforms. By opening channels of communication, we allow residents to exchange information, share ideas, address concerns, and build relationships.
Co-creation in action
CLEVER Cities is an International project funded by the EU with London as one of the lead cities. The CLEVER Cities project in London is centred on South Thamesmead where a co-creation process has been employed to shape current and future nature-based solutions to help people better connect with nature. A loose network of community groups, stakeholders and volunteers partnered with a team of experts to lead, organise, and manage the process. They were able to leverage their respective strengths – local knowledge and administrative expertise – and gain valuable learning and success from the collaborative process. CLEVER Cities London partners include Groundwork London, Peabody, and Greater London Authority, the Young Foundation and Social Finance.
How can we unite communities?
Groundwork London has a history of encouraging and supporting volunteering and civic engagement in order to bring communities together. As well as recognising and celebrating individual and collective achievements to boost morale and create positive reinforcement, we believe that encouraging residents to participate in volunteer local activities or projects promotes a shared sense of responsibility and pride in the neighbourhood. Volunteer initiatives such as community gardening, food growing, skills sharing or mentoring programmes can bring people together, strengthen connections, and build skills with experience.
Hounslow Council are planning improvement works on five estates and has commissioned Groundwork London to carry out the Hounslow Housing Estate Improvements Programme, involving community engagement and landscape designs. They are keen to hear from as many residents as possible during the process to create better spaces together.
Community-led co-creation processes recognise that residents possess valuable knowledge, skills, and experience. They are the experts of their lived experience and understand the local context, how spaces are used, and the concerns and aspirations of local people. Our collaborative approach harnesses their skills and talents to create better outcomes for everyone, and the local environment.
In summary, Groundwork London utilises co-creation as a critical tool to empower residents, build trust and gather local knowledge to address local needs for everyone in their neighbourhood. By promoting collaboration and actively involving residents in the decision-making and implementation processes, co-creation fosters a sense of ownership, belonging, and shared responsibility, creating a more inclusive, united, and socially cohesive community.
Get in touch
Find out more about how Groundwork London is supporting co-creation initiatives.
Sandra Hoisz, Area Programme Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7278 1514
12 Baron Street, London N1 9LL