A student partnership approach in Lewisham

The lines between where people live, where they work and where they spend their leisure time are becoming increasingly blurred. With many parts of today’s built environment already in need of remodelling, and sustainability such an important focus for everyone, there is a clear opportunity to reshape neighbourhoods and cities in a thoughtful way. Lewisham shopping centre is a great example of where we’re working in collaboration with the local community on a master plan for the long-term sustainable regeneration of the site. The public consultation began in November 2020 and our plans entail a mixed-use scheme including new homes, together with workspaces, retail, and open green spaces for all to use. 

A student-led approach

With Lewisham selected as the London Borough of Culture for 2022, we’re already working closely with the local council, communities and local residents to help shape our plans. But we’re also keen to approach the project in new and experimental ways and that’s why we’ve partnered with students from the internationally renowned RCA Service Design MA programme. Students have been asked to really understand the project and its various challenges and come up with ideas and solutions to create a successful space for the long-term. 

The outcome 

The process will mean students will get involved in community engagement by:

•    directly speaking to local residents;
•    narrowing down a specific challenge or problem;
•    designing a service or intervention which addresses that challenge and then prototyping a solution to then evaluate.

The hope is that students will be able to apply their design experience and uncover new information about the community, help frame challenges we may or may not have already identified, give us tangible ideas in response, and then potentially have tested ideas that we can then fund or continue to develop and launch in more scale if we think they’ll be successful.
We’re very excited to partner with students from the RCA Service Design MA programme who can really challenge our thinking and provide new ideas, while also giving them the opportunity to shape and influence the future of Lewisham. 

Alex Beale
Strategy Manager, Landsec