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In this blog I aim to discuss my first experience of a public co-design workshop and an exercise we put forward for the event. The overall goal for this workshop was to gather information from a group of demographically variant future residents of a co-housing scheme about their personal preferences for our own Housing Alternatives module. Through discussion with my peers and based on certain information we thought would be most valuable for our project we decided to base our exercise on preference of housing typology.


The Exercise

We were all originally given pre-determined roles to act out during the course of these exercises and fortunately my pair was giving the first chance at playing out our exercise with the group. To begin with we laid out multiple different housing typologies, ranging from 1-bedroom bungalows to 3 storey detached houses, and asked each of the residents to select which housing type they saw as most fitting for their needs. We asked them to write their names on their selected house type and a few reasons as to why they chose this. The aim of this was so that we could distinguish the preference of different demographics and draw for each typology.

The second part of our exercise aimed to understand how best to fit a building to again suit the needs of each resident. So, based off the original housing type in which each resident chose they were then asked to take little cards signifying different rooms that would be available to have within their home. These were then clipped to the original image of the selected housing type and collected in for future analysis.

Character page, exercise props


Key Findings and Reflection

The key findings that we took forward for our project were:


  • The most commonly chosen housing typology was Apartments
  • Not 1 resident decided they would like to live in a 1 storey unit
  • All residents wanted at least 2 bedrooms with over 60% wanting 3 or more
  • Kitchen, 2 bathrooms, dining/living room, were a necessity for all

Taking this forward to the development of our project, we sought after precedence of how a co-housing community could work within an apartment complex and developed 6 units within our scheme as well a number of larger terraced houses with 3+ bedrooms.

Overall, I believe that this exercise was very useful for guiding this part of our project and gave a real understanding of exactly what the users of the scheme (the residents) would want. It was much easier to design the scheme for the users having taken a bottom-up approach and we believe our scheme benefitted greatly from this.

School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509


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