Is This Street Made for Me?
- 07 January 2022
We Make Southampton is pleased to announce the launch of a new community research and film project with the working title
‘Is This Street Made for Me?’
We Make Southampton (WMS) CIC is running the initiative with the Future Cities Community Hub of the University of Southampton Public Engagement with Research unit.
Listen to Claudia's interview discussing the project on BBC Radio Solent here
‘Is This Street Made for Me?’ aims to explore and capture the stories embedded in the culture of Southampton’s streets and neighbourhoods, through films made from the perspective of residents with different social and mobility needs, to reflect the diversity of needs in our city.
We’re launching the project because we would like to capture and map the health of our streets within the SO14 to SO19 postcodes, to explore how the environment created by street design, street facilities and behaviour of fellow road users, impacts on our physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing, as well as our sense of belonging.
Even though screens and the internet dominate so much of our lives, especially since the pandemic, streets are still an essential part of how we connect with each other and restoring a healthy balance between time spent indoors and time spent outdoors is a public health issue.
Call to Action
We are calling on Southampton residents of all ages and walks of life to get in touch with us this month, to share what they like or dislike about their streets, their experience of the streets they use on a regular basis to go to shops, work, school, favourite places.
We would like to understand what you would like to improve or change, or if you have been involved in any successful action to change something on your streets: from organising a street party, to having a new zebra crossing installed, traffic calming measures, cycle lanes, safer parking facilities for all types of vehicles, to street closures around school drop off and pick up time.
During this project, we hope to facilitate practical and impartial discussions between residents, experts and decision makers who could explain what it would take to make those changes happen, to make our streets healthy and inclusive environments for all.
Our mission, as a community media enterprise, is to understand the needs, challenges, and opportunities in our city and to find innovative ways to promote active citizenship, social inclusion and diversity in our city.
I’m delighted to have the support and expertise of University of Southampton’s three experts in their field, collaborating on the project: Dr. Alan Wong, Research Scientist and Principal Associate of the Public Engagement with Research unit, Dr Tony Curran, Senior Public Engagement Fellow who runs the Future Cities Community Hub and Dr Ronda Gowland-Pryde, Civic University Lead / Senior Public Engagement Fellow and Vice Chair of the Staff Disability Network.
“When Claudia told me about this project, I was very excited to hear what she is planning to do, and how we can engage the wider community here in Southampton to understand the importance of our streets, and the extent to which they reflect and satisfy our daily needs and activities, as well as our ‘sense of place’ or belonging. Streets and neighbourhoods are the backbone of our communities, and her work will no doubt help to inform how we can make our City even more vibrant, inclusive and accessible to everyone in future.
I think this important ‘citizen science’ project will also build on the previous knowledge we have gained through https://www.metamorphosis-project.eu/ , which showcased a number of innovative child-friendly and ‘liveable streets’ trials lead by the City Council and six continental European cities, as well as the ‘Metamorphosis Global’ project, which focussed on one in Bangladesh. I therefore hope her work will translate into similar change and real impact for the people living here in Southampton, and I would urge you to get involved and support the project," said Dr. Alan Wong, Research Scientist and Principal Associate of the Public Engagement with Research unit, University of Southampton.
"This is the first community-university project supported by the University of Southampton as part of a new development funding strand that aims to foster longer-term collaborative partnerships led by the Public Engagement with Research unit. Based on local knowledge and experience working with the Future Cities Community Hub, the project will help to inform what is needed in any future changes to Southampton’s streets", explained Dr Ronda Gowland-Pryde, Civic University Lead / Senior Public Engagement Fellow, University of Southampton
‘Is this street made for me?’ promises to give a fascinating grassroots insight into the various perspectives of Southampton residents on the place they live, and the modern-day function of local roads. The Future Cities Community Hub and the Public Engagement with Research team at the University of Southampton are happy to be supporting this project. It embodies the kind of quality engagement we look to promote co-production of a project addressing local needs, with and for the benefit of all involved’, added Dr Tony Curran, Senior Public Engagement Fellow, University of Southampton.
We Make Southampton CIC is grateful for funding awarded for this project by PERu, The University of Southampton Public Engagement with Research Unit, and funding from Social Care in Action, a not-for-profit group of social enterprises focused on health and wellbeing.
Anyone would like to find out more or to get involved, should call Claudia on 07387088785 or email via email@example.com, by 30 January 2022.
Submissions of footage and photos can also be made by tagging WMS’ social media platforms and using #streetmade4me
Drawing by Rob Iliffe, We Make Southampton volunteer