Hi, I’m Sophie and I am from County Durham, studying the MA Urban Design part time, whilst working as Design Advisor in the Design Team at Home Group. I previously studied Geography and Environmental Management at Northumbria University and also have an MSc in Environment Health and Safety, from Sunderland University.
 As Design Advisor, I support the team in designing new homes and desirable places to live, I find this particularly satisfying in light of the housing crisis across the UK which may only become more prominent in future years. The skills and knowledge I hope to gain from further study will equip me to transition from supporting the development of designs, to designing attractive, functional and sustainable places myself, as an urban designer.
 Aside from work and study, I enjoy fitness, fashion and exploring new places. I hope you enjoy our blog, please comment on my posts, you can also contact me via email at: S.barker5@newcastle.ac.uk

Blogging: A Reflection

Initial thoughts The module Principles and Practices of Urban Design has provided a brilliant overview of key topics. The assessment of this module was based on blog posts of the lectures covered within semester one. I enjoy reading blogs, particularly those associated with urban design, however I had never actually wrote a blog myself or…
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Comment on Compact Form by Tommy Sheriff

Tommy highlights that cars have changed the way our cities are designed and we have moved away from the human-scale. As urban designers we are challenged to create compact, multi-functional urban form that creates ample opportunity for pedestrians, cyclists and economically viable public transport. In my comment I would like to explore examples which have been successful…
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How Public is Public Space?

  Public spaces are crucial to our urban well-being, and are an increasingly important topic of academic research and practical policy-making. Georgiana Varna presented the star model of public space, a tool providing understanding of characteristics and qualities of publicness that make ‘public space’ public.   Public space plays an important role in sustaining the…
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Comment on Designing with Dementia by Voca Han

Voca highlights the importance of considering dementia-friendly design, which will likely only become more prominent within our cities and neighbourhoods, given rise to an ageing population and increased urbanisation (Fitzgerald & Caro, 2014). Voca questions what could we do to improve the life quality for those suffering with dementia. I would like to further explore…
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Super-gentrification by the Super-rich

Roger Burrows, Professor of Cities, presented ‘The haves and have yachts’ sharing the project ‘Life in the Alpha-Territory’ which explores the impact of super-gentrification on neighbourhoods of the merely wealthy in contemporary London. Over 50 years ago Ruth Glass described the invasion of the upper middle-class taking over working class areas of London, devising the…
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Design Festival

I currently work as Design Advisor at Home Group, and this year we decided we really wanted to raise the profile of our design aspirations. We came up with the idea of a ‘Design Festival’ and in the summer we launched this new initiative. The Design Festival involved a number of events that were scheduled…
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