min. of mindfulness
average number of connections made
people who say their reasons for attending Loneliness Lab were met
spaces and places visited
94% people who want to continue working with The Loneliness Lab after the sprint
LAB IS THE LONELINESS CT OJE AN 18 MONTH PR E CAN W EXPLORING HOW ESS IN TACKLE LONELIN OCUS F LONDON, WITH A E. AC ON PLACE AND SP
AN SHAPE TOGETHER, WE C US ALL P OUR CITY TO HEL ECTED. FEEL MORE CONN
TH E LO NE LI NE SS LA B WAS D IN ITIATED BY LE ND LE AS E AN CO LL EC TI VE LY
SATION S THE SE PIO NEE RIN G ORG ANI HEL PED SHA PE THE LAB
LO NE LIN ESS IS TO O BI G ON E AN D CO MP LE X FO R AN Y OR TO ORGA NI SATI ON OR SE CT NE LIN ESS TA CK LE AL ON E. TH E LO OP EN LA B WAS SE T UP AS AN ADY HAVE CO MM UN ITY - WE AL RE AN D OV ER OV ER 10 0 IN DIV IDUALS IN G 40 ORGA NI SATI ON S WO RK TO GE TH ER . JO IN US .
THERE ARE ALREADY MANY INCREDIBLE ORGANISATIONS WORKING AROUND THE WORLD TACKLING LONELINESS WEâ€™RE PLEASED TO BUILDING ON THIS WORK!
CONTENTS Introduction 5 How to use this playbook 6 Background to the Loneliness Lab 9 The challenge question The Insights: What we found out about loneliness and place in our first month 12 Sprint overview: What we did 14 20 things you need to know about loneliness in London 16 Bringing the statistics to life 18 Why place and space matters 20 Viewpoints 22 Emerging themes 24 Workplace loneliness 25 Freedom from fear 26 Know the neighbours 28 Virtual spaces 29 Permission and belonging 30 Underused places and spaces 33 From online to offline 34 Alone in a crowd 36 Inclusive communities 37 Intergenerational opportunities 38 Transition times 40 Other emerging themes The Ideas: The ten prototypes we tested in a week 44 - 65 Prototype ideas by sprint team 66 Learnings about tackling loneliness 68 Learnings about the potential of space and place The Process: Everything you need to know about sprinting 72 What’s a design sprint? 76 What we’ve learned about running sprints 80 Sprinter viewpoints Next Steps: What we’re up to in 2019 and how you can join in 84 2019 plans 85 Ways to get involved 86 Acknowledgements 4
H O W TO U S E TH I S P L AY B O O K The Lab launched in October 2018. This report gives an overview of what we’ve learned so far. It’s just the start, and the first of many ways we’ll share the learnings of the Lab as they continue to emerge. Over the next year, we’ll share deeper dives into each of the topics - a series of ‘mini playbooks’ - from getting people to connect in public spaces, to tackling stigma, to designing buildings and streets so people can get to know their neighbours.
TH E L O N IS AN O ELINESS LAB P P RO J E C E N S O U R C E T, WHI CH MEANS A NYO N E W E L CO M I E TO U S S TH I S C O E N TO H E L TE N T P L O N E L I TA C K L E N A SPRIN ESS OR RUN T KNOW H . LET US O W YO U ON, AN D ASK F GET O HELP B Y EMAI R L ING U S AT L O CO L L E C N E L I N E S S @ TI V E L Y .ORG.
N AV I G ATI N G TH E CO N TE N T • The Lab’s focus is on the
role of places and spaces in tackling loneliness, a route to solutions that is often overlooked. Read more about these opportunities from page 18.
• We quickly developed and
tested a range of ideas to tackle loneliness in London. Read about the ideas we prototyped from page 44.
• We ran a 10-day design sprint to generate and test ideas. Find out how and why this worked so well from page 72.
BACKGROUND TO THE LONELINESS LAB The Loneliness Lab is a collaboration between Lendlease and Collectively. Together we want to know what it takes to create places and spaces that give the people who live, work and play in our cities the connections they need to lead happy and healthy lives. Over the past few months we’ve been working together to design, create and facilitate the Loneliness Lab. We’re delighted to see how it’s grown and look forward to working together through 2019.
WHY HAS LENDLEASE HELPED SET UP THE LONELINESS LAB? Rob Heasman & Vanessa Pilla “We know both from personal experience and from our local authority customers that loneliness and social isol ation is a huge and growing health problem. At Lendlease, we want to unde rstand more about what we can all do, so the Lab is about bringing together a hugely diverse range of orga nisations and perspectives to co-creat e and test possible solutions. We know instinctively that the places we live and work in affect our health and wellbeing. Right now in Eust on, Silvertown and High Road West Tottenham, we’re embarking on some of the most ambitious master plans in the world. So if we can embed this vita l aspect of health and wellbeing in our place-making from the very start, we can help foster meaningful connections within the wider community.” Lendlease is a leading internat ional property and infrastructure group, with a vision to create the best places.
WHY DO WE NEED TO WORK 'COLLECTIVELY' TO TACKLE LONELINESS? Bethan Harris & Esther Maughan McLachlan "Loneliness is far too big, important and complex for any one organisation or sector to solve alone. We know there are many physical, social and psychological barriers to overcome to create meaningful connections between people - it's a truly systemic challenge. This sprint is just the first step - but it starts with bringing all sectors into one place, then working to find and unlock solutions - together. We are always blown away by what happens when a room full of passionate people get together. This Lab was no exception. The quality and diversity of the participants was incredible. For us, turning that passion into genuine action is the most important thing, and we are delighted that the sprint has unleashed a cohort of participants committed to tackling loneliness for a long time to come." Collectively is a non-profit that facilitates collaborations on the most pressing challenges of our time, and builds individual and collective agency for change.
We = all of us. Business, government, local government, universities, NGOs, civil society, communities and importantly - lonely people.
This isn’t just about shiny new ideas and places, but also about scaling ideas that have worked before, and making existing places work better.
How can we shape spaces and places to tackle social isolation and loneliness in our cities? There are many initiatives tackling loneliness and isolation by asking us to be better neighbours, citizens and friends. We’re interested in how the places where we live, work and play could make it easier for us to meet and connect with others. The spaces and places we will look at include streets, parks, community spaces, workplaces, shared private spaces, retail spaces, apartments and neighbourhoods.
Loneliness and isolation, while connected, are different. Isolation is an objective state, a physical situation, whereas loneliness is a subjective state, or a feeling. Both are important. You can be lonely and not isolated, and isolated and not lonely. Anyone can be lonely at any time. The Loneliness Lab will look at loneliness and isolation across all lifestages and backgrounds.
We're starting in London, one of the world’s loneliest cities, but we’d love to find ideas that address loneliness in many cities around the world.
T WHAT WE FOUND OU ABOUT LONELINESS AND PLACE IN OUR FIRST MONTH
THE KICK OFF
A one day event for 100 people passionate about loneliness, to help us set the agenda and surface insights and ideas.
A smaller group of 32 participants worked intensively to rapidly build and test out the ideas shared at the Kick Off, working within the community to get user feedback and test whether their ideas had potential.
THE LAUNCHPAD 22nd Oct
After weâ€™d built and tested the prototypes, we brought everyone back together to get feedback and support to take the ideas forward.
PILOT AND SCALE
A wrap report
Over the next year, the ideas with the most potential will be developed into pilot projects and tested by partner organisations in communities around London.
with all our findings to date.
Two fifths of all older people (about 3.9 million) say the television is their main form of company.1
Up to 50% of disabled people will be lonely on any given day.2
1 IN 10 PEOPLE REPORT HAVING NO CLOSE F R I E N D S. 4
Every £1 invested in tackling loneliness can save £3 in health costs.5
29% of people in London say they’ve met most of their current friends through work.6
Half a million older people go at least five or six days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all.7
L O N E L I N E SS I S L I K E LY TO I N C R E AS E YO U R R I S K O F D E ATH B Y 29 % . 3 OV E R 2 . 2 MILLION PEOPLE I N TH E U K A G E D 7 5 A N D OV E R LIVE ALONE.8
Loneliness and low social interaction are predictive of suicide in older age.9
The healthcare cost of treating loneliness is ÂŁ6,000 per person over 10 years.10
60% OF E M P L OY E E S FEEL L O N E LY AT W O R K . 1 2
Only 7% of Londoners strongly agreed the city was a good place to make new friends.13
30% of Londoners polled agreed they spend too much time communicating with family and friends online when they should see them in person.15
Loneliness costs UK employers an estimated ÂŁ2.5 billion per year.16
Nearly a quarter of Londoners worry about feeling lonely, and around a third feel they lack companionship sometimes or often.17
YO U N G P E O P L E A G E D 1 6 2 4 F E E L L O N E LY M O RE O F TE N TH A N A N Y OTH E R A G E G RO U P O F A D U LTS . 1 9
Over a quarter (27%) of 15-34 year olds agree they would be embarrassed to admit feeling lonely, compared to one in ten (12%) of older people aged 55 and over.11
Four in ten of us (42%) have felt depressed because we felt alone, higher amongst women (47%, compared to 36% men), and those aged 18-34 (53%, compared to 32% of those over 55).14
L O N E L I N E SS I S D E A D L I E R TH A N O B E S I TY A N D AS B A D FO R YO U AS SMOKING 15 C I G A R E T TE S A D AY . 1 8 People in London are 24% less likely to have randomly bumped into a friend recently than in other cities.20 15
BRINGING THE STATISTICS TO LIFE
At the Kick Off, we created opportunities for participants to reflect on their own experience of loneliness, and build empathy with others.
I P A N T S TO A S K I N G O U R P A RT I C R E A L S TO R I E S GIVE AND RECEIVE ATE D A OF LONELINESS CRE L CO N N E C TI O N S TR O N G E M OT I O N A ICIPANTS B E TW E E N L A B P A RT D TH E A N D S TR E N G TH E N E URPOSE. WE EVENTâ€™S SHARED P I N VA L U A B L E B E L I E V E TH I S W A S S TI N G FOR BUILDING A LA CO M M U N I TY . 16
What better way to understand loneliness than by thinking about our own (and others’) experience of it?
• It doesn’t discriminate -
We started the Kick Off by helping attendees do just that, by sharing stories of lonely Londoners in an audio visual gallery.
ways, from physical isolation to feeling like no-one understands you.
We helped participants reflect on their own experience of loneliness, and share their story with someone else. Through this process, we learned three key things about loneliness:
anyone can be affected at any time.
• It impacts people in different
• It has common triggers and
patterns, such as puberty, trauma, moving house or job, mental illness, becoming a parent and other life transitions.
T LO N EL IN ESS "THI N K IN G AB OU E CO U RS E HAS M AD AC RO SS TH E LI FE SE LY AB OU T MY M E TH IN K IN TE N S. S OF LO N EL IN ES OW N EX PE R IE N CE M AK E MY PO LI CY TH IS IS G OI N G TO OR K SO M UCH DE V EL OPM EN T W STRO N G ER ." IELD, OLIVIA F S RED CROS BRITISH
WHY PLACE AND SPACE MATTERS When it comes to tackling loneliness, the places and spaces where we live, work, play and interact can have a significant role. Yet all too often they are overlooked when forming policies and plans. Instead, we focus on social and cultural interventions - asking people to be friendlier, setting up befriending schemes in schools and care homes, or encouraging neighbours to organise street parties. We started the Lab to explore how our physical environment shapes the way we connect.
Eg. Saying hello to strangers, neighbours, colleagues. Going out to meet people.
Eg. Being confident to go places on your own. Feeling fulfilled by your relationships.
Eg. A 'more the merrier' mindset, where inclusive gatherings like street parties and community events are the norm.
Eg. The physical environment where we live, work and play.
RK RESIDENT DURING OUR SPRINT WE MET WITH A SOUTHWA HOUSING OF WHO HAD RECENTLY MOVED FROM HER SOCIAL LOVING 35 YEARS TO A NEW BLOCK NEXT DOOR. DESPITE L ROOF THE WOODEN FLOORS, BALCONY AND COMMUNA DING MEANT TERRACE, SHE TOLD US THE DESIGN OF THE BUIL HER NEW SHE HAD YET TO MEET A SINGLE NEIGHBOUR IN FEELING VERY HOME. IN JUST SIX MONTHS, SHE WENT FROM ING ACROSS CONNECTED TO VERY LONELY, DESPITE ONLY MOV THE ROAD. 18
By setting up this Lab, we've started to uncover what's important when it comes to designing places to tackle loneliness. We've met residents, spoken to experts and studied how people move through their local communities. Here are some of the examples they shared:
Modern apartments no longer have doors with windows in, or windows into communal spaces. So you have no idea if your neighbour is at home.
Some parks and public spaces can feel scary or threatening, so we don’t use them to meet up with friends. Cafes, bars and restaurants can be too expensive.
Open plan workspaces can mean we don’t see the same colleague from week to week - or we feel intimidated to have a conversation at desks. This makes it harder to make friends at work.
Student halls have security features that make it impossible to interact with students on other floors.
NNING. TO HOW I G E B T IN JUS RATION DESIGN JECT IS O O L R P P X S E I TH TH HE 18-MON CHANGES IN T CITIES N A S ’ IT R OR ND MAJ IGHT MAKE OU A L L A M S SM L SPACE OF LOCA NECTED. ON E MORE C ET TO B Y S I H C UR EAR UL TO O RE RES F O E T M A T R O G AL WE ARE ARE ALREADY D N A E DON RS, WHO NT WORK. O T A R O COLLAB THIS IMPORTA G STARTIN 19
VIEWPOINTS SELINA MASON DIRECTOR OF MASTERPLANNING, LENDLEASE
“We need masterplans that are designed to encourage and facilitate daily contact. If 68% of people feel that community spirit has declined in their lifetime we will not be able to address health and wellbeing without improving people’s sense of place and community. Designers need to think about the rituals of daily life. Whether it's the commute, the school run, or popping out to buy milk, contact happens when these patterns overlap. If it's people who create a sense of community, then it's the public realm where that happens.”
DR ANDREA WHIGFIELD DIRECTOR, CENTRE FOR LONELINESS STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD
"In order to tackle loneliness we need to have meaningful interactions. It's not enough for strangers to nod as they pass in the street, those interactions need to have substance. For interaction to be meaningful and truly deepen connections, it's vital to look at spaces and places. People won't connect in public spaces if they don't feel safe or welcome there. Lighting, safety, places to linger, seating, and heating are all vital components to ensure we have physical environments that facilitate meaningful interaction." 20
PROFESSOR KEVIN FENTON STRATEGIC DIRECTOR OF PLACE AND WELLBEING, SOUTHWARK COUNCIL
"It’s hard to believe that in such a global, diverse, economically productive and digitally connected city, so many of us feel lonely. In the London Borough of Southwark, we’re developing a strategy to prevent and tackle loneliness, building upon the best evidence and truly listening to our local communities’ priorities. We want to use the power of regeneration to benefit everyone. We want to promote urban design to connect communities, celebrate our differences, promote wellbeing and build cohesion. And we want to pilot and scale new solutions to loneliness that are inclusive, disruptive and comprehensive. This is what the Loneliness Lab is all about, and why we’re so thrilled to be a collaborator."
OLIVIA FIELD LONELINESS LEAD, BRITISH RED CROSS
"There has been a huge shift in the last two years when it comes to raising awareness of, and taking action, to address loneliness, from the Government through to civil society. Whilst this action has been really positive, more still needs to be done to explore how we can re-think systems with loneliness in mind. The work of the Loneliness Lab is an important part of that puzzle, by highlighting the role of the built environment in tackling loneliness and bringing diverse sectors together to take action." 21
MAKING LONDON LESS L O N E LY I S S U CH A H U G E CH A L L E N G E , I T C A N B E H A R D TO K N O W W H E R E TO S TA RT . Our collaborators helped us develop 11 themes to guide conversation, research and ideation. During the Kick Off, we hosted breakouts to go deeper on each theme, and here we share all the insights, examples and ideas that were generated. To find out more about the sprint process, see page 72.
E SS L A B N I L E N O L ING # " F A S C I N AT D AY W I TH R E T S E Y VE N T SEUK A E L K I C KO F F E D N E L TI V E LY @ C E L L O C _ @ N G E OF A R E V I S S AND A MA N TLY A I L L I R B , D E RS S TA K E H O L ED." F A C I L I TAT RD CA FO , RSA REBEC RAMME G O R P SIGN R OF DE WITTE HEAD VIA T
HOW CAN WE DESIGN WORKPLACES TH AT F O S TE R F R I E N D S H I P S ? WORKPLACE LONELINESS UK workers spend more time at work than anyone else in Europe. And research shows we’re happier - and more productive if we’re working with friends, not just colleagues. Against the backdrop of the gig economy, zero hours contracts and other flexible and remote ways of working, how can we change our workplaces to create more meaningful human connections?
KICK OFF…. M O R F S T H G I S IN der l interaction har ces make meaningfu offi n pla n s ope Large, increase lonelines g from home both kin wor ote rem , Longer commutes and issues, like stress ed• loneliness-related our e fav bat ils cer ema exa h can wit Workplaces ital dependency, dig and e anc bal poor work/life or meetings can over phone calls and working styles in communication s nce ere diff al Intergeneration n n prevent connectio lunches, rather tha al, such as team tur cul be to d Solutions ten ntal s in physical/environme e of costs, change after work becaus ise ial soc to It’s harder mutes. and lengthier com drinking culture
I D E A S TO TE S T
• Exp eri me nt wit h wo rkstat ion lay out . Swa p hot des kin g for fixed des ks
• Pla y wit h how sou nd aff ect s con nec tio ns in the wo rkp lac e • Pla n tea m spa ces to all ow and wel com e intera cti on and ‘ou tsid ers ’
• Exp lor e sof ter , cul tural sol uti ons tha t foster gen uin e rel ati ons hip s. 24
TH I S EXAMPLES OF L L E W WORKING ac kn ow le dg e • Ba llo on s to ne w pe op le nm ents th at • Wo rk en vi ro e ho m e, lo ok / fe el lik in g of co m fo rt cr ea ti ng a fe el an d sa fe ty ne tw or k • St ra va so ci al o trai n fo r at hl etes wh t st ill fe el in di vi du al ly bu co nn ec te d.
HOW CAN WE DESIGN PLACES WHERE PEOPLE FEEL SAFE? FREEDOM FROM FEAR
I D E A S TO TE ST
• Cr ea te sp ac es w he re th er e is sa fe ty in n um be rs • Ex am in e sp ec pe op le fe el sa if ic lo ca ti on s w he re fe • Co ll ab orate w co -d es ig n sa fe it h th e po li ce to ty stan da rd s an d be st prac ti ce • Te ll po si ti ve stor ie s ab ou t sa fe ty • Ta rg et ar ea s w it h de ns e ho us in g • Su pp or t co m m n ei gh bo ur s ge un it ie s an d tt ot he r to cr ea in g to kn ow ea ch te a fe el in g of lo ok ed ou t fo ‘b ei n g r’ .
TH I S EXAMPLES OF L L E W WORKING
r estp ac De si gn fo • Le nd le as e/ W es in el id gu gn e de si Di gn ity in cl us iv en s ha ve ki os ks op • Pa ri s - pa rk al l ni gh t re et s - en ab le • Re cl ai m in g st ts id e ki ds to pl ay ou hb ou rs - ab le • Kn ow in g ne ig th re at s as a to re sp on d to co m m un ity.
Whilst our city is rich in public spaces, many of us feel unsafe using them, especially at night. How do we create or adapt spaces for everyone to connect and socialise, whatever their age, background or circumstance?
M I N S I G H T S F RO KICK OFF… mostly indoors Leisure time is now kids - so we’re not - especially for red spaces sha r doo out used to for public spaces Design standards ugh are not high eno
seen as dangerous Green spaces are at night are most at risk Vulnerable people to fear and have the most ce safer may just Making a public spa ewhere else som m move the proble
ghbours increases Not knowing the nei r fea of se people’s sen safe areas are Secure blocks in ensive for many. exp y vel iti hib pro
HOW CAN WE DESIGN HOMES WHERE P E O P L E K N O W TH E I R N E I G H B O U RS ? KNOW THE NEIGHBOURS Research by Skipton Building Society has found that nearly 70% of UK adults describe their neighbours as ‘strangers’. How can we design homes – in apartment blocks or whole streets – to help us make friends on the doorstep?
M KICK OFF… I N S I G H T S F RO
ost town’ don, creating a ‘gh a big issue in Lon n Vacant owners are h - rather than spe ple to pass throug peo s age our enc en Building design oft areas time in - communal shared such as gardens, llision points’, ‘co l ura nat er There are now few ndry rooms balconies and lau al residents, providers, not loc ed for by service car are ces spa Communal e responsibility eroding collectiv fire doors make it e s don’t help eg. ses only allow acc ty measures in flat pas uri ty sec uri and sec ety and Saf e, hom is e eon if som impossible to see e on to the floor you liv it cl ir homes, they do play sport near the or ise ial soc People no longer to work out to neighbours stop us reaching Social anxiety can r our neighbours and therefore fea st tru dis to mal It has become nor ity - it’s o a friendly commun when you move int l pen ita hap cap ns ial tio soc nec More con existing ple if there’s no harder to meet peo and s determining who ate hard boundarie cre ds roa y bus High security and 'community' is or isn't in a streets. Corridors are not
I D E A S TO TE ST
• Tu rn co rr id or s into st re et s • En co urag e lo n ge r dw el l ti m es in co m m un al sp ac es • Cr ea te w ay s to co ll id e in co m m un al sp • U se te ch n ol ac es og y to fa ci li ta te inte ra ct io ns • Ex pl or e th e ro co m m un ity ho le of co n ci erge s as st s an d ch am pi on s • W ha t m ic ro inte rv enti on s re la ti on sh ip s? w il l he lp tr ig ge r • En su re hy pe r pu b, sh op , th lo ca l se rv ic es ar e in pl ac e at al l ca n us e.
TH I S EXAMPLES OF L L E W WORKING es th at co -w or ki ng sp ac Se co nd • Co nc ierge s in . eg s on ti ec te co nn ac ti ve ly fa cil ita Ho m e em be rs • ECHO - 50 00 m in g • Re ti re m ent liv liv in g om co lla bo ra ti ve • th ec ol lec ti ve .c • Ti m eb an ks hb ou rs ev ents • Me et th e ne ig yo nd th e site sig ne d, lo ok s be • Pa rk s - we ll de op le m ov e in an d ou t of w pe bo un da ry to ho
H O W C A N W E C R E ATE S A F E A N D M E A N I N G F U L V I RTUA L S P A C E S TH AT CO N N E C T TH E P H Y S I C A L LY I S O L ATE D ? VIRTUAL SPACES Digital technologies have huge potential to create meaningful connection for people of all ages and circumstances, but only if their users are physically able and confident enough to use them, and can afford them. How can we use digital technologies to connect people in safe and meaningful ways?
I D E A S TO TE S T • E xpl ore the vir tua l equ iva lent of a chu rch - an ope n spa ce wh ere an yon e can ga the r • D eve lop vir tua l ass ista nts tha t lea rn ab ou t you • U se vir tua l rea lity to bri ng ne arb y spa ces eve n clo ser , eg. tak ing a wa lk in you r loc al pa rk wit h a fri en d • O ffe r vir tua l eve nts (li ke gig s, cla sse s, clu bs an d spo rts ) wh ere peo ple are exp eri en cin g som eth ing tog eth er an d intera cti ng • F ind interi m sol uti on s for peo ple wh o are tem porari ly iso lated so the y do n’t los e tra ck of fri en ds an d fam ily .
M I N S I G H T S F RO KICK OFF…
l world on can lead to rea Virtual interacti loneliness , currently inclusive Technology is not ple peo e most vulnerabl especially for the a common ons happen around The best interacti a game experience, like interest or shared or class y st to use technolog Opportunities exi ine onl ng sti exi pen to maintain and dee nal ating more emotio relationships, cre es enc eri exp ysical’ connections and ‘ph lity. through virtual rea
TH I S EXAMPLES OF LL WORKING WE
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H OW CA N W E S U P PO RT P EO P LE TO TA KE O WN ERSH I P OF P UB L I C A N D SHA RED P R I VATE S PA CES SO TH EY REAL LY FEEL TH EY B EL O N G TH ERE? PERMISSION AND BELONGING
I D E A S TO TE ST
• Cr ea te ca r fr ee sp ac es an d pa rk le ts • Ad ap t to w n sq ua re s to be co m e sp ac es to • M ak e sp ac es co nn ec t m or e pl ay fu l • Op en so ur ce
ci ti ze ns in pu to ol s an d ad vi ce on en ga gi ng bl ic sp ac es • Pr ov id e ou td oo r fi tn es s / sp ac es da nc e cl as se s in
• He lp gr ou ps ad op t- a- sp ac e, ha ve
pu bl ic
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Every community needs somewhere to gather together, whatever interest unites them. But many people, especially existing residents in new developments, don’t feel able to use their local parks, streets and community facilities for their own purposes. How can we encourage people to reclaim these places and spaces to create meaningful connections with each other?
M I N S I G H T S F RO KICK OFF….
about who ooted narratives Places have deep-r re the s ong bel owns them and who ple er-designed’, peo ‘ov is When a space their own it ing mak le tab don’t feel comfor manage have resources to Communities don’t ces and maintain spa s of feel like custodian rced Locals no longer outsou now is e rol t tha common space et managers to authorities/ass between a major obstacle Lack of trust is communities al loc and ers asset owners/manag in g power dynamics There are conflictin shared spaces ee in a know how to disagr flict Communities do not con dle and can’t han constructive way, ce spa and tensions about rupt use of space. Cars and traffic dis
H O W C A N W E R E P U R P O S E E X I S TI N G F A C I L I TI E S TO B R I N G P E O P L E TO G E TH E R I N M E A N I N G F U L W AY S ? UNDERUSED PLACES AND SPACES From libraries and leisure centres to office block foyers, London has a wealth of places that could create more meaningful human connection. And then there’s the unloved, ‘meanwhile’ or dead spaces with no current use at all. How can we harness all these assets to reduce loneliness?
M KICK OFF… I N S I G H T S F RO ts, ecially retail uni ilable spaces, esp ava y man are re The t money to use but they often cos ger-term lets t to commit to lon Landlords don’t wan project ers early in any engage property own trust in a It’s important to co-ownership and develop a sense of to ng ngi lle cha It’s as teenage space and engage, such ely hard to reach rem ext are ups Some gro y isolated people boys or physicall ds rooted in user nee resources Action has to be t and facilitation men ivation, manage act d nee s mme gra Pro enough any volunteers aren’t hip and value of re the risk, owners sha to ant ort imp It’s ces. intervention and welcome in spa people feel safe e mak to ant ort It’s imp
I D E A S TO TE S T
• Cre ate pra cti cal com mu nity peo ple go eg. Am azo n loc ker hub s aro und pla ces s, or can al ser vic es • Wo rk wit h lan dow ner s and lan dlo rd to dev elo p inc ent ive s for tem porary use , suc h as zer o rates • Wo rk wit h loc al com mu nit ies to ma ke a bla nk voi d spa ce into som ewh ere the com mu nity wo uld wa nt to use • Test dif fer ent fur nit ure , etc . and see wh at stic ks aro und lon gest bas ed on fee dba ck. • Ma tch ava ila ble spa ce wit h nee ds • Com mis sio n pro per ty gua rdi ans to cre ate fam ilia r fac es in und eru sed spa ces • Ada pt spa ces wh ere dif fic ult to rea ch peo ple alr ead y vis it, suc h as GPs or cor ner sho p • Cre ate a too lkit for peo ple wh o mig ht wa nt to rep urp ose spa ces .
G WELL TH I S W O R K I N EXAMPLES OF d ga rd en s m ak er sp ac e an on ti ra ne Ge al • Gl ob Ki ng s Cr os s r • Sk ip Ga rd en , ta rg et s yo un ge na da Wa te r Ca @ ks or tw in • Pr pe op le Ca st le El ep ha nt an d • Ar tw or ks at s • St re et pa rt ie ls • Pe ck ha m Le ve ab le co -w or ki ng ar dr oo m af fo rd bo 2 • Ba th tu b sp ac e Qs • Co m m un al BB t - br in gs ov id e eq ui pm en • Pa rk s th at pr le in di ff er ent pe op op s in un de ru se d sh • Ar t ga lle ri es er siv e th ea tr e Bu m Trai n im m • Yo u M e Bu m pr od uc ti on s.
H O W C A N W E S U P P O RT U N D E R 3 5 S TO CO N N E C T M E A N I N G F U L LY O F F L I N E ? FROM ONLINE TO OFFLINE
I D E A S TO TE ST • O ff er em pa th y le ss on s a n d sm a ll ta lk sk il ls
• Pr ov id e si m pl e g a m es in pu b li c sp a ce s • B u il d a h ou se se h el ps y ou n g pe a rc h a pp th a t op le m ov e to a re a s w h er e th ey h a ve ex isti n g so ci a l co n n ec ti on s • In ce nti vi se of fl in e ti m e by cr ea ti n g so ci a l cu rr en cy fo r co n n ec ti n g in pe rs on • U se co m m on inte re st s (s u ch as sp or t) to b ri n g pe op le to g et h er • M a ke sp a ce s w h er e pe op le ca n b e th em se lv es . TH I S EXAMPLES OF L L E W WORKING
The Millennial generation are the most digitally-connected ever, but they’re increasingly lonely and isolated in the real world. How can we use digital tools to tackle loneliness, and how can we help create affordable physical spaces and places for young people to use as they want?
KICK OFF…. M O R F S T H G I INS up, the loneliest gro Young people are such as ns tio nsi tra y experiencing man k etc. home, starting wor puberty, leaving has l relationships Maintaining virtua interest in offline and reduced skills lacking many young people connection, with empathy virtual s circle between There is a viciou y iet ial anx connections and soc pub) are spaces (like the Traditional social ple t young peo in decline amongs k can such as small tal Basic social skills used to be , and phones can seem intimidating ons cti era l life int avoid ‘awkward’ rea it addictive because Online time can be e it mak we do rency. How provides social cur t? cool to disconnec
gy .c om ap p • Bo rr ow m yd og lp yo u co nn ec t • Ap ps th at he an ut , T in de r eg . Bu m bl e, Pe .o rg • Pi m pm yc au se - au gm ente d • Po ke m on Go re al ity ga m e. 33
H O W C A N W E C R E ATE P L A C E S A N D S P A C E S TH AT A R E W E L CO M I N G TO P E O P L E O N TH E I R O W N ? ALONE IN A CROWD In the past, people wanting company might have found it at the local pub, café or church. But many of those places – and the communities within them - are disappearing, and it’s becoming increasingly unacceptable to even talk to strangers. How can we combat that and create places where anyone on their own is guaranteed a warm welcome?
M I N S I G H T S F RO KICK OFF…
g to angers eg. talkin ier to talk to str eas it e ting mak sit can vs Spatial design sitting at a bar bus passenger, or low fel vs ver a taxi dri le have at a communal tab to do something eg. our own require us on go we re whe Most spaces th ce a religious fai a drink or practi else is new too because everyone ks wor y sit ver uni at have Freshers’ Week vious strangers who m in spaces - pre for ily eas can s Clique the dominant group ken to already met become ers, and to be spo to speak to strang lls eepy’ ski ‘cr ial as soc n We lack the roach may be see re’s a fear any app the and , ers ang by str on and inappropriate . How can we champi being on your own und aro gma sti There is aloneness?
I D E A S TO TE ST
• C re a te n u d g es th a t en co u ra g e po si ti ve st ic ke rs re m in so ci a l n or m s, d in g y ou to sm eg . il e to st ra n g er s • In sta ll ta b
le s fo r so lo pe op
le in re sta u ra • O ff er tr a in nts , ca fé s, li b in g fo r sta ff ra ri es etc. to m a ke pe op w el co m e, and
to n ot ic e if pe th ei r ow n fe el op le n ee d so m • Cr ea te a ro le th a t fo cu se e co m pa n y . s on lo ok in g • Cr ea te sp a a fter pe op le
ce s fo r d if fe re on th ei r ow n nt d em og ra ph u sa g e a n d pa ic s b a se d on tter n s th ei r • A d vi se lo ca ls on w h en a n d h ow to ta lk • R u n pl a to to st ra n g er s n ic sp ee d d a ti n g ev ents • Pr ov id e a lc oh ol / re li g io n fr ee sp a ce s • M a ke it cl to g a th er ea r in ev ent / ve n u e co m w el co m e m u n ic a ti on s th a t so lo pe op le a re • B u il d in te ra ct iv e sp a ce s w h er e th e en vi ro n m ent ca • A sk q u es ti on s a n d pr om n b e m a n ip u la pt s in sp a ce s te d co n ve rs a ti on to en co u ra g e m ea n in g fu l • De si g n fo r pe op le on th ei r ow n - m a k w h en y ou a re in g y ou r se a t, ow n m a k in g b a g or la ptop y ou r se a t, b a ow n sa fe g or la ptop sa fe w h en y ou a re • O ff er ‘w a rm u ps ’ to fa ci li ta te pe op le co m in g into sp a ce s on th ei r ow n.
TH I S EXAMPLES OF L L E W G N I K WOR s in sp ac es - a • Ha ve an im al r to na tu ra l co nn ec rn itur e in fu e iv • Inte ra ct es co m m un al sp ac ou ps es fo r fa it h gr • M ee ti ng pl ac d pu bs . • Ol d- fa sh io ne
HOW CAN WE ENSURE SHARED SPACES A R E G E N U I N E LY I N C L U S I V E ? INCLUSIVE COMMUNITIES From outdoor music-making to hedgerow foraging, different cultures use places and spaces in different ways that are not always understood by others. How do we ensure spaces work for all cultures, life stages, abilities and backgrounds, and bring very different people together in positive ways?
ICK OFF…. K M O R F S T H INSIG
tes ups, which aliena ted by certain gro ina dom be can Places challenge nce can be hard to o certain others; this domina ’t like going int aged 14 to 17) don y arl cul rti (pa Young men territorial issues ause of gangs and public spaces bec ant to entry is import Removing barriers st in, getting ty for, and intere aci cap of els lev nt People have differe activities ery day involved in group ortunities with ‘ev gn connection opp ali to from work ant and ort to imp g It’s playing, travellin , ing eat g, kin in rituals’ like coo n eating together ple collide eg. whe peo re whe ces spa Focus on ities ate offices and commun ss case to help cre e but need a busine rol ong str a e Retailers hav es. inclusive communiti
I D E A S TO TE S T
• Cre ate opp ortuni tie s for acc ide nta l col lisi on • Ma p ter rito rie s wh ere dif fer ent peo ple ove rla p • Cre ate ‘fr ont gar den s’ in tow er blo cks • Hav e coo ks, art ists or mu sici ans in res ide nce • Pro vid e opp ort uni tie s for pla the eve ryd ay, like tab le ten yfu lne ss and joy in nis and pia nos • Hel p you ng me n to fee l saf e • Cre ate hyp er- loc al ini tia tiv es at a str eet lev el • Bui ld ski lls- sha rin g spa ces , like Me n’s She ds • Fix ligh tin g in bui ldi ngs • Ma ke spa ces fle xib le to me et dif fer ent com mu nit y nee ds.
O F TH I S EXAMPLES ELL W WORKING e E ve ry Da y • E ve ry O n in oo d pr oj ec ts n ei gh b ou rh m d Da ge n ha B a rk in g a n n e. org yo W ea re ev er pp er s t Su rp lu s Su • U K H a rv es to r, ec n a s a co n - u si n g fo od y pa to y a b il it re ga rd le ss of ce fo r ie ld - a pl a • Co ra m ’s F lt s a re u le w he re a d yo u n g pe op em w it h th on ly a ll ow ed ic a n , Lo n d on • T he B a rb , N YC . B ri d ge Pa rk • B ro ok ly n
H O W C A N W E C R E ATE P L A C E S A N D S P A C E S TH AT B R I N G D I F F E R E N T G E N E R ATI O N S TO G E TH E R ? INTERGENERATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
I D E A S TO TE S T • U se lib rar ies to bri ng peo ple tog eth er • Fa cili tate ski lls swa ps an d tim e ba nk ing • Pro act ive ly pre pa re ou rse lve s for lon eli ne ss (be cau se it is ine vitab le we wil l all exp eri en ce it) • Des ign wit h dif fer ent gen era tio ns in mi nd - how wo uld you ng an d old peo ple na vig ate a spa ce an d intera ct in it? • Off er ope n spa ces as equ ita ble spa ces for all gen era tio ns • Use art s to bri ng peo ple tog eth er. G WELL TH I S W O R K I N EXAMPLES OF
re ak e Ja pa n, w he • Po st -e ar th qu ed ar sh d re s en ab le co m m un ity ce nt ur e sk ill s an d cu lt ss io ns sk ill s sh ar in g se • Craf t cl ub s / pa rt ie s io na l te ch te a • Inte rg en erat cr ec he s co m bi ne d w it h • Ca re ho m es W ee k rg en erat io na l • Ca m de n Inte og ra m m e. Ca re Ho m es pr • Co ck ta ils In
Cities can be lonely places for older people if they leave the workforce and have family far away. But they can be just as lonely for young people too. Every generation has much to offer – and learn from - each other. How can we foster meaningful connections between the generations, to reduce everyone’s loneliness?
INSIGHTS F… F RO M K I C K O F l and social There is individua rational ene erg value in int d to make nee we n tio connec ity the norm equ intergenerational and unaffordable A renting culture nger generations housing means you n roots aren’t putting dow meet people often Opportunities to cost money l divide between There is a digita d to connect generations - har online or offline role models Young people lack ng elderly people Mental health amo by loneliness ed can be exacerbat do more to bring Businesses could er in the generations togeth ir customer the in workforce and base.
H O W C A N W E U S E P L A C E S A N D S P A C E S TO TA C K L E L O N E L I N E S S AT S P E C I F I C TR A N S I TI O N TI M E S ? TRANSITION TIMES Research supports our own experience that there are particular moments in life when loneliness and social isolation are more likely: moving home, becoming a parent, bereavement, divorce, retirement. How can we create places and spaces that reduce loneliness at those specific transition times?
. M KICK OFFâ€Ś I N S I G H T S F RO
me/city, rty, moving ho s include pube , coming us Key transition at st ip sh ge in relation an ch a b, jo w a ne health issues , bereavement, out, parenthood ways on points and ta on transiti . from eg We need more da sk ri at me when they beco le op pe h ac re to /census n electoral roll daily collisio ities exist at un rt po op s, on te ti ga Connec ilets, school ging rooms, to points eg. chan lunch queue, GP ffee lities like co and local faci y ke Communal spaces e ar s ie ar spaces and libr shops, retail rtunities po connection op d interaction an ways encourage al t nâ€™ do ey th But y dating and nois can seem intimi way of ten get in the ty concerns of Health and safe connection e with ting eg. someon eds to be invi th wi t The location ne ec nn to co m may not want th a health proble with their heal d te ec nn co g in tt se a in rs othe issue litation n require faci Interaction ca ing ness / withdraw to rapid loneli e cl cy Trauma can lead s ou a vici which creates from the world, all not set up for e blic spaces ar pu d an r oo td Ou weathers.
I D E A S TO TE S T
• Cre ate com mu na l spa ces for sitt ing in retail are as - for any one , not jus t custom ers • Establ ish fac ilit ies for col lisi on, suc h as com mu na l bab y cha ngi ng are as, bin are as • Off er exc han ge typ e tri ps, ins pir ed by twi n tow n ide a • Pro vid e neu tra l spa ces so you r lon elin ess issu e (lik e bei ng old or a new par ent ) doe sn’ t def ine you • Pro vid e off ice cre che s or wel lbe ing roo ms • Em bed inv ita tio ns to eng age and intera ct into urb an fab ric , suc h as wa yfi nd ing and sig na ge • Cre at pla ces tha t fee d the sou l, wit h mo re gre ene ry, goo d vie ws and lot s of ligh t. Ma ke com mu nity not ice boa rds mo re pre val ent • Sta rt a ‘Lo ndo n Fre she rs We ek’ for non stu dents to hel p peo ple mo vin g to the city fee l wel com e • Bui ld a pro per ty sea rch eng ine tha t is bas ed on you r com mu nit y, act ivit ies, intere sts and /o r exi stin g soc ial net wo rk • Cre ate nei ghb our hoo d wel com e pac ks • Use the cen sus to hel p ma p lon elin ess tri gge r poi nts • Ra ise und erstan din g of val ue to bus ine ss and soc iety of act ing as fac ilitato rs and con nec tor s • Cre ate nud ges to act iva te spa ces .
O F TH I S EXAMPLES WELL WORKING n k m a ki n g • Ll oy d s B a or e in cl u si ve b ra n ch es m sp a ce s • A d a pta b le Ca fé s d M en op a u se io n • De at h a n ss cu te a a n d d is - in fo rm a l s ce en ri a re ex pe gr ou ps to sh ct in g ps fo r ex pe • N CT gr ou pa re nts y cr èc he s • Co m m u n it n g sp a ce s • Co - w or ki l ga rd en s • Co m m u n a ks • T im eb a n ity et co m m u n • Su pe rm a rk s n ot ic eb oa rd W ee k at s’ • F re sh er . ty u n iv er si
OTH E R E M E R G I N G TH E M E S … REDUCING STIGMA
Like mental health issues, loneliness is something we often feel ashamed of. If we can get people to start talking more openly and sharing their stories, we will normalise the issue and navigate people to help.
Councils, authorities and businesses have data. The groups on the ground need it. How can we share data more openly and how can we use big data to help us understand location hotspots eg. crime and patterns for loneliness when most people move into the city?
There are pockets of brilliant ideas, but not enough is being done to share case studies and learnings between everyone. Local authorities in particular need access to best practice examples and ideas they can easily recreate.
The hardest to reach groups could be targeted through ‘nudges’ or interactions in the places and spaces they already use - eg. when they go to the shops, visit the GP or commute on the Tube. 40
Even the best places need people to activate them. How can we train up ‘hosts’ in spaces to help facilitate and deepen connections between employees, residents and customers? What might be the future role of a concierge, receptionist, librarian, postman or waiter?
We can see from data patterns that people are most at risk of being lonely at certain points in their day, week, year and life. How can we better identify and reach those who are at risk from loneliness before they become chronically lonely?
’S A I F TH E R E L I K E U’D TH E M E Y O L O R E D , XP TO S E E E E TO V O L D ’ E W YO U ! M O R F R HEA
THE TEN PROTOTYPES WE TESTED IN A WEEK
W I TH TH E TH E M E S U N D E RW AY A N D TH E A G E N D A S E T , I T W A S TI M E TO S TA RT E X P E R I M E N TI N G . OV E R A R A P I D W E E KL O N G D E S I G N S P R I N T , O U R ‘ S P R I N TE RS ’ F O R M E D M I X E D TE A M S , C L U S TE R I N G A RO U N D TO P I C S O F S H A R E D I N TE RE S T . In just a few days they had to research their topic, observe the spaces and places they wanted to explore, find and interview users, develop ideas, build initial prototypes, test them in the real world, capture learnings and then prepare a vision for what the idea could become in its next iteration. These pages share what they learned about their ideas in a week - and what they’ll be working on in 2019. To find out more about the sprint process, see page 72.
PRINT S L A U S U N OT A M PA N I E S
CO Y TE C H N B D E S U Y RUN I , L S A T U N S I U R P S ES RE O G L E , A S O F CO L L E A G U E S S O G E K I L M N A L L TE A E L Y O N A B U S I O M E R S M S Y R E V V SI ST G I N TE N TI M E S W I TH C U A S N I K R O W E W GE, SOM SPRINT C H A L L E N O R A TO R S . O U R P R I S E D O F M AB O R CO L L D I F F E R E N T . CO M S G U I D E D E EA A L I T T L I P A N T S I N 1 0 T O F TH E IC E 3 2 P A R T L I TA TO R S , N O N F O R E TH E I E C B Y 6 F A N T S H A D M E T B F TH E M H A D O PA P A R TI C I R TE D A N D M A N Y E X P E R I E N C E . A N W E E K S T O R I N N O V A TI O GN NO DESI
IN TANDEM TEAM MEMBERS JANE SCOBIE POSITIVE AGEING CONSULTANT A JMAL ISMAIL COMMERCIAL MANAGER, LENDLEASE QUESTION HOW MIGHT WE MAKE OUTDOOR CONNECTIONS BETWEEN PEOPLE WHO ARE AT HOME ALL DAY? RELEVANT THEMES
Project overview Some of the loneliest people are at home all day, through circumstance eg. working from home or caring for young children, or because of poor physical or mental health. In Tandem wanted to explore ways to help people at home connect together outside. During their research in West Walworth, they identified local community garden groups interested in socially-prescribed gardening activities, and found many local spaces and places for lonely people to connect. But there wasn’t much information about how to find those spaces or who to connect with. Building on the Kick Off event insight that to access hard to reach people you need to go 46
where they go as part of their routine, the group designed and prototyped “a facilitated well-being walk” from the GP surgery to local community gardens and spaces. The walk was co-designed with members of the community and trialled with residents, who expressed pride in their community spaces and were keen to enjoy local nature and heritage. Patients at the GP surgery were interested in the idea of facilitated walks as a way of getting out and meeting people, and our vision is for regular lunchtime walks from the surgery, supported by maps and signage and hosted by volunteers who can introduce people to the community gardens.
Immediate next steps • Second prototype for the West Walworth well-being walk, with a physical and online map • Share learnings and micro insights about the local community with relevant groups in Southwark via Lendlease and Southwark Council • Identify ways to link to social prescribing best practice, working with local GPs and Clinical Commission Groups, and nationally with the Royal College of GPs.
I K E TH I S I S L N O I T N E V R M A L L I N TE • EVEN A S Y RECEIVED L L A C I T S A I S U E N TH I M P O R TA N T ! S I R E H T A E W • TH E PLE S T ’ W I TH P E O Y E R E T N I F O S NIT E ‘PLACE S TI N G CO M M U I X • CO - C R E A T E N O D L I U RE, B DE W H O L I V E TH E TO L O C A L P R I N I P A T D N A S I N I TI A TI V E N FAMILIAR, ALD’S I K L A W E H T N D END RGERY, MCDO • S TA R T A N U S P G . G E S E AC ‘ N E U TR A L ’ P L H I P W I TH TH E S N O I T A L E R D A GOO • DEVELOP TH E G R O W I N G N O D L I U B D N GP SURGERY A ‘SOCIAL PRESCRIBING’. F I M P O R TA N C E O 47
HACK YOUR HALLS TEAM MEMBERS JAKE HEITLAND DEVELOPMENT COMMERCIAL MANAGER, LENDLEASE LAETITIA LUCY ECONOMIC CONSULTANT, ARUP QUESTION HOW MIGHT WE CHANGE STUDENT ACCOMMODATION TO ELIMINATE LONELINESS AND ADDRESS MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES? RELEVANT THEMES
Project overview Reports of student mental health issues have increased fivefold in the last decade, and this group wanted to explore how student accommodation design could tackle loneliness. To ensure the prototype was student-led, the group visited universities and halls across South London, interviewing students about loneliness and mental health. Students shared that halls could feel isolating, sterile and unwelcoming, and that whilst they had a strong appetite to make halls feel more cosy, communal and friendly, cost, safety measures and management rules often made it difficult.
The group created a prototype ‘hack box’ with students, including items to make their space feel better such as lighting gels, cushions and plants. Their vision is that the hack box will be given out across a student accommodation block, with students empowered to shape their spaces to make them feel more like home, in combination with better signposting to university mental health services and student-led welcoming events. Designers could then engage with students who have hacked their halls to co-design future student accommodation.
R S TO R I E S W E RE K A N D TH E H O R RO R O W L TH E A N O I OT M E S P O N S I B I L I TY TO • TH I S I S RE F O E S N E S L A - W E F E LT A RE H E A RT B RE A K I N G HELP T A N D W A N TE D TO E M E W S E TI I N U ATE S A CO M M A N A G E M E N T C RE M D N A P I H RS E N W NGLE O T H A L LS • TH E L A C K O F S I I TI E S A N D S TU D E N RS E V I N U N E E TW E RTE D ECT B IED AND UNSUPPO F S E R I O U S D I S CO N N TI N E D I N U TS N E L N E R A B L E S TU D I E N CE S L E AV I N G S O M E VU D I F F E RE N T E X P E R RY E V E AV H S RT D I N TR OV E TA K E B OTH • E X TR OV E RT S A N D E S I G N N E E D S TO N O I AT D O M M O CC A LS , A N D OF LIVING IN HAL I N TO A CC O U N T E BEEN TY A N D CO S T H AV E F A S D N A H LT A E H P RO CE SS • S TU D E N TS F E E L H I N TH E D E S I G N LT A E H L TA N E M R P R I O R I TI S E D OV E N G L I V E S AT R I S K IVES A L I TE R A L LY P U T TI RS Q U I C K LY A N D G E W S N A E TH S K C O UNL • U S E R CO - D E S I G N S PA CE S . O F A G E N C Y OV E R P O W E RF U L S E N S E
Immediate next steps • Work with design students and university groups to create a ‘hack box’ • Partner with brands like Ikea to fill the hack boxes • Trial the hack box in several halls of residence • Speak to various universities to identify and address gaps in mental health services between student accommodation providers and universities 49
LONDON IS LONELY TEAM MEMBERS TESSA BLENCOWE DIGITAL STORYTELLER & FILMMAKER IRENE PALACIO DESIGNER & PHOTOGRAPHER QUESTION HOW MIGHT WE TACKLE THE STIGMA SURROUNDING LONELINESS AND GET LONDON TALKING? RELEVANT THEMES
Project overview Despite loneliness being a widespread issue, the stigma around admitting it means that, far too often, people don’t reach out for help, even to their closest friends, family and colleagues. This is particularly true of young people, who, according to recent research, are by far the most affected. This project group set out to tackle stigma in two ways - by highlighting that loneliness is an issue that can affect everyone, and by using artistic storytelling to get Londoners talking about loneliness. They created an immersive art gallery experience, combining portraits of lonely Londoners 50
with audio interviews. Members of the public were invited to take headphones and listen to these stories. This encouraged them to open up about their own experiences, and the feedback was really positive. People said they were grateful for the chance to talk and were surprised how much better they felt for sharing their story. They were reassured by hearing and seeing other people’s stories of loneliness, and felt a sense of shame had been lifted from them.
Immediate next steps • Following up with members of the public to find out what impact the gallery had on them 2-3 weeks later • Further develop the user journey ensuring that the gallery can signpost people to support • A guerilla gallery in 100 spaces around London - using underutilised spaces across the city • Gathering 100 stories of loneliness in London, representing every borough in the city, and sharing insights with policy-makers and practitioners at a public launch.
E PERFECT IDEA H T R O G N DI N U F , N FOR PERMISSIO AND CREATE N A PL TO S R • DON’T WAIT U O H W E ERY TOOK A F . IT THE PROTOTYPE GALL WEEN TWO SHOPS ON A BUSY STREET -BET AND WAS SET UP IN WORKED D FEEL HEARD N A SS E N LI E N LO T T TO TALK ABOU NG BETTER LI E E F TO P • PEOPLE WAN E ST ST IR G IS ITSELF A F THE ACT OF SHARIN TO FEEL THEY ARE E N YO R E V E D LE B A TY OF STORIES EN • THE DIVERSI LONELINESS NOT ALONE IN THEIR THE GROUP WERE E AT IN IM R SC DI REALLY DOESN’T THE SHORT IN E R E W S IE • LONELINESS R O ST E HOW DIVERSE TH SURPRISED BY JUST THE STREET. N O E R E W Y E H T E SPACE OF TIM
ELEPHANT SAYS HI TEAM MEMBERS TANIA HAN SOCIAL ENTERPRISE NGO CONSULTANT LIZA MAKAROV INNOVATION CONSULTANT, CULTURE CLINIC JENNY SAWYER SENIOR DEVELOPMENT MANAGER, LENDLEASE QUESTION HOW MIGHT WE CONNECT NEWCOMERS TO EXISTING COMMUNITIES IN THE LOCAL AREA? RELEVANT THEMES
Project overview Elephant and Castle is an area of London experiencing rapid change. It has new and existing communities living side by side, but with limited interaction. We know that transition times are when people can feel really lonely, especially when moving to a new area. The group set off by interviewing residents and discovered that many of the ‘newer’ residents used the area as a base to get to other parts of London quickly, and didn’t feel a sense of belonging to Elephant and Castle.
In comparison, existing residents have a real sense of place. The group designed and tested a campaign, Elephant Says Hi, to help create a sense of belonging in the community, and to connect all residents with spaces, places, groups and activities across the borough. Early feedback was positive, particularly with local retailers. Their vision is to create a grassroots campaign led by the community to encourage all residents to feel at home in Elephant and Castle.
ERY FAR OUT OF V U YO SH PU N CA RCH ENERATING G AND USER RESEA G IN LE B A LU A • PROTOTYPIN V LY E - BUT IT’S HUGE N O Z T R O F M CO R U YO LEARNINGS FAST INSIGHTS AND A LIMITED H IT W E IM T F O CE A IEVED IN A SHORT SP CH A E B N CA T LO A • BUDGET ECK-INS ARE CH S, R O AT R O B A LL KING WITH NEW CO VALUED AND G N LI E E F • WHEN WOR IS E N YO ENSURE EVER REALLY VALUABLE TO HEARD ING Y THEIR IDEAS ARE BE ITH THE COMMUNIT W G IN N G SI DE CO GE VALUE IN EALLY VALUABLE R D A H • THERE IS HU S T N DE SI E R AILERS AND E - IN THIS CASE, RET LY TO BE ENGAGED MORE IF THEY AR LIKE INSIGHTS, AND ARE URNEY. BROUGHT ON THE JO
Immediate next steps • Identify local creatives, students and community groups to co-design the campaign and tap into the power of social media • Hold a creative session to develop the campaign further • Prototype with pilot retailers, groups, spaces and places and get user feedback.
CRAFTMOVES TEAM MEMBERS KAREN ARTHUR FASHION DESIGNER & SEWING TUTOR LEXIAN PORTER STUDENT & DISABILITY ACTIVIST EDITH WHITEHEAD PHOTOGRAPHER QUESTION HOW CAN WE MAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORT MORE SOCIABLE AND FACILITATE MEANINGFUL INTERACTION BETWEEN STRANGERS? RELEVANT THEMES
This group explored the role of everyday interactions between strangers as a way to combat loneliness and isolation. They focused on public transport, typically an anti-social place, but somewhere many people interact already on a daily basis.
and cross stitch, and then encouraged people to pass them on as gifts, creating more opportunities for conversation and connection. The feedback was extremely positive, with many commenting that the intervention had ‘made their day’.
Using craft, they tested the role of small acts of disruption to facilitate conversations between strangers. The craft they choose was simple and accessible, from colouring in, to folding simple origami
Their vision is for craft kits to be shared on tubes and buses, and for crafting and interaction between strangers to become normalised on public transport.
Immediate next steps • Do several more prototypes to explore which methods are most engaging • Follow up with users to assess impact and the user journey • Engage with TFL, and either Metro or Evening Standard, to develop a pilot • Crowdfunding campaign to cover cost of kits and training volunteers.
AY TO GET W E IV T C E F F E T U B LE • CRAF T IS A SIMP E CONTACT, Y E T C E IR D T U O H IT W PEOPLE TALKING TLE IT FEELS MORE SUB ICKET T E IV T R O P P U S LY BE REAL HELPED D • AUTHORITIES CAN N A E IV T R O P P U S ERE VERY STATIONS AT TFL W REFUND FEES OIDED V A T S E B IS R U O H • RUSH RING IN. U O L CO . G E Y R T RIER TO EN • NEED A LOW BAR 55
KNOW YOUR NEIGHBOUR TEAM MEMBERS VICKY HILL LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT, FABRIK REBECCA COWAN CONSTRUCTION DESIGN MANAGER, LENDLEASE TOBY KESTERTON DIGITAL MARKETER, LENDLEASE DAVID FEARON LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT, URBEN QUESTION HOW MIGHT WE CONNECT RESIDENTS IN HIGH DENSITY BUILDINGS? RELEVANT THEMES
Project overview Apartment buildings offer so much potential for community but modern design features such as fire safety doors, lifts, security entrances for each floor, and restrictions on use of communal areas for things like washing and plants, mean that all too often neighbours never even see each other, let alone get to know each other.
This group explored how to use small design interventions to nudge neighbours into connecting and meeting. They prototyped an initiative where each day neighbours were asked to share how they feel using colour codes displayed in a communal lobby. The vision for this group is to trial more interventions like this one, make a playbook for apartment designers and also scale up ideas across new developments in London.
Immediate next steps • Further prototypes in the same block to assess the impact of interventions on community interactions, iterating the idea further • Test in other blocks in different contexts eg. social housing, existing blocks • Develop a full pilot in a new block in Elephant Park • Share learnings with other developers and designers.
AND CHEAPEST ST E L P M SI E H T D IN N, BUT F L IDEA FOR • HAVE A BIG VISIO A IN IG R O E H T IT OTOTYPE POSSIBLE WAY TO PR -IT NOTES ST O P E M A C E B G IN T LIGH INTERACTIVE MOOD ACH DAY E A E ID E H T E LV O V EPARED TO E • ITERATE - BE PR K BASED ON FEEDBAC IBLE - THE SS O P IM ST O M L A E G KE CHAN • PERMISSIONS MA ANYTHING IN G IN O D S T N E D SI E R O STOP A PROBLEM. E R SYSTEM IS SET UP T E W R O O D A N O N POST-ITS THESE SPACES. EVE 57
YELLOW BALLOON TEAM MEMBERS XAN GOETZEE-BARRAL PROJECT OFFICER, SUSTRANS THOMAS BRYANS ARCHITECT & CO-FOUNDER, IF DO ALEX QUATTRONE CONSULTANT, HATCH REGENERIS KATE BEECHING COMMUNITIES TEAM, CLARION HOUSING GROUP QUESTION HOW MIGHT WE USE UNDERUSED SPACES IN BUILDINGS TO ENABLE RESIDENTS TO SHARE AND CONNECT? RELEVANT THEMES
Project overview There are many residential areas and streets with underutilised spaces, from pocket parks to the undercrofts of buildings, that could be places for connection. But all too often they are places that feel neglected and unwelcoming, and can even foster fear. This group spent four days experimenting with the undercroft in Drapers Estate, a large covered area at the entrance to the apartment building. They interviewed several residents in the block about their lives, loneliness and how they felt about the undercroft space.
The group then designed an intervention, delivering a yellow balloon to each flat and asking residents to write their story or a message to their neighbours.
All the balloons were brought into the space, and residents were encouraged to read each other’s messages. On the final day, the group used large pieces of yellow fabric to amplify the messages and encourage more interaction. The project received generally positive feedback, with a call for greater engagement within the community. The group’s vision is to do further experiments like this one, both at Drapers and elsewhere, to explore how temporary installations can create connection, and to create a playbook for local authorities, architects and developers to incorporate into new and existing spaces.
LY ON, EG. R A E S R E D A E L Y IT N MU • ENGAGE KEY COM TION RESIDENTS' ASSOCIA GROUP T C JE O R P E H T IN T NE RESIDEN • HAVE AT LEAST O TO INCREASE BUY-IN ORM THE F IN N A C S N IO T N E G INTERV • SIMPLE DAY-LON G LONGER IN H T E M SO F O SS E C O DESIGN PR ERSATIONS V N CO T R A ST N A C S NTION • SIMPLE INTERVE IONS ARE A T N E V R E T IN L U F Y A PL AND CONNECTIONS; ORKED WELL W S N O O L L A B E H T GREAT CONNECTOR THEY WANT G IN G A G N E O T N LLY OPE • PEOPLE ARE REA RIENDLY. F E R O M E B O T E IV THEY L THE PLACE WHERE Immediate next steps • Revisit Drapers and conduct further research and testing, and evaluate the impact of the installation • Adapt and test the idea of installations in other blocks, working over a longer time frame, to ensure the residents can be more involved in the design process • Cretae a playbook to use installations in other new and existing blocks and streets. 59
SOCIAL LIBRARY TEAM MEMBERS FLORENCE GUPPY PROGRAMME LEAD, HARINGEY COUNCIL MIRANDA KIMBALL PLACE DEVELOPMENT MANAGER, LENDLEASE ZOSIA POULTER BRAND MANAGER, NESTA ANGELA BRENNAN DEVELOPMENT MANAGER, IQL, LENDLEASE QUESTION HOW MIGHT EXISTING PUBLIC PLACES ENHANCE SOCIAL CONNECTIONS? RELEVANT THEMES
Project overview Our cities are abundant with spaces created, in part, for the role they can play in fostering connection, places like libraries, parks and leisure centres. Yet these spaces often fail to serve the loneliest members of our communities. What if we reimagined their role as places for connection, and designed them with that in mind?
This group explored the role of libraries as places for connection, observing several libraries in Southwark and Haringey to research how users currently connect in the space and experimenting with ways
to make them more interactive. They tested small ‘hacks’ or ‘nudges’ to facilitate connection. For example, moving newspapers into coffee table style layouts to encourage people to read more socially, and wearing badges to give people permission to start a conversation. The reaction was positive with people connecting and conversing. They also researched other libraries and are sharing their learning with the government’s ‘Libraries Taskforce’. Their vision is to create a series of toolkits sharing best practice amongst local authorities, starting with a toolkit on libraries.
Immediate next steps • Create draft library toolkit • Host a gathering of librarians to further build on toolkit and share learning • Measure impact of interventions and collect case studies • Explore the role of toolkits for other spaces.
CHANGES CAN ST E L L A SM E H T N E • EV N HOW USERS O T C A P IM IG B A E HAV SPACE A IN H IT W T C A R E T IN ARE LOOKING S IE IT R O H T U A L A C • LO ND IDEAS A S G IN N R A E L , T R FOR SUPPO URCE POOR SO E R D N A E IM T E R - THEY A ILLIANT R B F O S T E K C O P E • THERE AR ERE IS H T R E V O L L A S IE CASE STUD TING AND A L L CO IN E U L A V F A LOT O KS. SHARING WHAT WOR
TECHNOLOGY AGAINST LONELINESS TEAM MEMBERS KATRINA CURRIE HEAD OF PRODUCT SUPPORT, KRAYDEL ADAM SUTCLIFFE HEAD OF EXPERIENCE, KRAYDEL ROSS WEATHERBURN PROJECT MANAGER, LENDLEASE RUSHIV NAYEE SERVICE IMPROVEMENT OFFICER, BRITISH RED CROSS QUESTION HOW MIGHT WE USE TECHNOLOGY TO CREATE MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS BETWEEN ELDERLY PEOPLE? RELEVANT THEMES
Project overview While technology is often cited as a driver of loneliness, particularly amongst younger generations, it can also play a valuable role in connecting those who are unable to leave their homes, or find it difficult to get outside as much as they would like.
The group trialled the idea of ‘virtual lounges’ with a number of elderly and isolated users, using video technology to connect multiple isolated users and explore the role of
these lounges in tackling their feelings of loneliness. They discovered that users wanted to actually do things on the calls and not just talk, such as attend a virtual class. The feedback from members of the community and from people who work with the elderly and chronically lonely was positive. Their vision is a programme of virtual lounges trialled in 2019 in partnership with the British Red Cross and Kraydel.
Immediate next steps • The group are sharing their learnings to inform a larger scale pilot between British Red Cross and Kraydel to trial virtual lounges • Virtual webinars are being trialled in a Lendlease site to engage local care homes in the development of the local area.
S G IN N R A E L ’ S R E T SPRIN IFY AND T OF TIME TO IDENT
LO ACH USERS TAKE A E R TO ST ED THEM ALREADY DE SS R E A CC H A E E AV • TH H O H W NT TO FIND GROUPS FIND. IT’S IMPORTA EM N’T WAIT FOR DO AND WORK WITH TH LE ST U H S E IR U D SPRINTING REQ • PROTOTYPING AN E PHONE ITS OWN, IT NEEDS EMAILS, PICK UP TH N O R LE B A N E N A F OT ENOUGH O • TECHNOLOGY IS N RANDOM AT S R FACILITATION E G N A R ST H IT DY ANT TO INTERACT W PEOPLE THEY ALREA H IT W • PEOPLE DON’T W CT A R TE IN TECHNOLOGY TO THEY WANT TO USE TE TO IN SOME WAY KNOW OR CAN RELA PERSON CAN HELP TO IN G IN O G E R O F E B VIRTUALLY • JOINING A GROUP A NEW ACTIVITY G IN RT A ST AT Y T E RN OVERCOME ANXI JUST TALK EG. LEA OT N E N LI N O F F DO STU • PEOPLE WANT TO S E AMES, DO ACTIVITIE G AY PL , G IN TH E M U THINK - IT CAN B SO YO AS Y R A SC AS E B ESN’T HAVE TO VIDEO CALL. A T U O G IN ST • PROTOTYPING DO TE D N G WITH SOMEONE A AS SIMPLE AS SITTIN
EAST STREET TEAM MEMBERS EVIE TREANOR CONSTRUCTION PROJECT MANAGER, LENDLEASE ALAN BRYANT SENIOR STRATEGIST, LIVITY MEG SODZAWICZNY RETAIL DEVELOPTMENT MANAGER, LENDLEASE DANIEL BLYDEN DESIGNER, IMPACT HUB QUESTION HOW CAN WE BREAK DOWN THE BARRIERS PREVENTING PEOPLE FROM PARTICIPATING IN SHARED SPACES? RELEVANT THEMES
Project overview The group focused on East Street market in South London, formerly one of London's most popular markets. The market footfall is now in decline, partly because newer residents don’t shop there. Whilst initiatives have already been put in place to create community spaces in the area, they are not used, and new residents don’t feel a sense of belonging in these spaces. The group spent three days immersed in the market, researching loneliness and connection with market stall owners and shoppers. 64
The group realised that shopkeepers were trusted, knowledgeable, and that they could provide the invitation needed to encourage participation in shared spaces. Over the next two days, the team took over a shop on East Street and encouraged locals to come in to co-create the space. It became A Public Living Room and they asked the shopkeepers to give invitations to passersby, telling them to come into the shop. Many locals responded and came in holding their invites, proving that shopkeepers are an important connector and should be community champions.
Immediate next steps • Develop the idea of shopkeepers and traders as community champions • Provide local, independent retailers with a toolkit that offers guidance on the local area, and training on how to make meaningful connections with potentially vulnerable people • Ask larger retailers to help tackle loneliness by using their self-checkout systems to engage with their customers better, providing more information about local activities and community groups, either on screen or via a printed receipt.
S G IN N R A E L ’ S R E T SPRIN
ABOUT W O N K ’T N O D R E H • PEOPLE EIT TO THEM, E L B A IL A V A E R A T SPACES THA UDED OR AS L C IN L E E F ’T N O D AND/OR SPACES SE O H T IN G N O L E B IF THEY BREAK N A C N IO T A IT V IN E • A SIMPL D CREATE N A S R IE R R A B SE O DOWN TH ION FURTHER CONNECT CRIMINATE, IS D T O N S E O D SS E IN • LONEL NELY. ANYONE CAN BE LO 65
LEARNINGS ABOUT TACKLING LONELINESS... Clearly loneliness is too complex to eradicate in just one week! But our sprinters now have important first hand learnings to share from their prototypes:
1 - D O N ’ T B E A F R A I D TO P U T TH E I N V I TATI O N O U T TH E R E ! It can feel scary talking to strangers, or even neighbours or colleagues we don’t know that well. But, almost without fail, being more open was well-received by the people we met. Many of our sprinters report positive experiences in continuing to be open with their own neighbours, colleagues and strangers.
2 - TA L K I N G A B O U T LONELINESS IS AN I M P O RTA N T F I RS T S TE P TO TA C K L I N G L O N E L I N E SS . We only had to mention the word ‘lonely’ during the sprint and people opened up and started to share their stories. Sprinters found that just by talking about the Loneliness Lab, they prompted family, friends and colleagues to share their own experiences of loneliness with them. 66
3 - R E F L E C TI N G O N YO U R O W N P E RS O N A L E X P E R I E N CE I S V I TA L .
We started the Kick Off asking everyone to reflect on their personal stories. This quickly helped build a more emotional connection to the topic and each other, and enabled our sprinters to engage more authentically and openly with user groups, and to innovate from their own experience, rather than solving problems for other people.
4 - L O N E L I N E SS DOESN’T D I S C R I M I N ATE . Many of us jump to stereotypes when we think of lonely people. The research told us loneliness affects people from all backgrounds and ages, and out on the street, we heard so many different stories from the most unlikely places. Our gallery project (see page 50) has 14 very different stories and counting...
5 - L O N E LY P E O P L E O F TE N K N O W W H AT TH E Y N E E D . Our job is to help make those solutions happen. Itâ€™s important to make time to listen to target users early on, to find out what they need and what their barriers are to being less alone.
6- BY HELPING TA C K L E L O N E L I N E SS , YO U â€™ RE A LS O M A K I N G YO U RS E L F L E SS L O N E LY . The sprint itself was a really valuable tool in helping our participants feel more connected and less lonely, and the shared experience has laid the foundation for strong relationships for the future. 67
LEARNINGS ABOUT THE POTENTIAL OF PLACE & SPACE
1 - G RO U N D YO U R E X P E R I M E N T S I N TH E CO M M U N I TI E S YO U ’ RE TRY I N G TO S U P P O RT A N D W O R K W I TH TH E PEOPLE WHO LIVE, WORK A N D P L AY TH E RE . We based ourselves in a community centre in Elephant and Castle for the sprint week, and mostly worked in places in the immediate area. This meant we could connect with community leaders early on to help surface insights, meet users several times a day, experience the neighbourhood at different times, and build a richer sense of what solutions were possible. Next time, we would actively recruit members of the local residents’ association to join our sprint cohort, so we could ensure their buy-in and guidance from the start. 68
2 - S TA RT W I TH W H E RE YO U L I V E , W O R K A N D P L AY . If it works on your street, it might just work on someone else’s. Whilst our sprint was based in Southwark, many sprinters have since experimented with people in their own neighbourhoods and workplaces. This has given them valuable confidence and insight to start projects elsewhere, and it’s also made them feel more connected to their own communities. Connection is about trust - and it’s important that the people leading projects are trusted. If you try something within your own community, you should have a head start. We’d love to run a sprint with the residents of a single street one day!
3 - M I C RO I N S I G H TS A RE I N C RE D I B LY VA L UA B L E . Every community is different. Taking the time to talk to people within their communities can lead to incredibly useful insights, like the importance of communal taps in community gardens or how important particular notice boards are.
4 - I T â€™ S N OT J U S T A B O U T M A K I N G N E W CO N N E C TI O N S , B U T D E E P E N I N G E X I S TI N G O N E S . Tackling loneliness is about quality connections, not just quantity. Our groups found that people were looking for ways to connect more deeply with friends, family, colleagues and neighbours, and that space was a big factor in this. Not having affordable, accessible and safe places to meet and gather was one of the biggest issues.
LY J U S T IN A WEEK WE ON U R F A CE â€Ś S C R A TCH E D TH E S A CE A N D WHILE SIMPLE PL IONS CAN S PA CE I N TE R V E N T ING AND G E T P E O P L E TA L K NEED CO N N E C TI N G , W E O E X P L O RE M O R E R E S E A R CH T D DEVELOP TH E N U A N CE S A N AT W O R K S . E V I D E N CE F O R W H
EVERY THING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SPRINTING
Itâ€™s a rapid innovation tool for testing potential ideas before investing in larger pilots. We started with a sprint for two reasons: 1 - to understand what interventions were possible 2 - to create a community of people committed to longer-term action.
L E ARN
E X PER I M EN T
DESIGN Lendlease and Collectively hosted a series of workshops with representatives from business, the built environment, academia, local authorities, NGOs and the design community. These sessions helped us foresee and plan for challenges, and design a sprint with everyoneâ€™s needs in mind. The programme covered the diverse facets of loneliness and place, and built on previous work.
K I C K OF F We invited 100 participants to our Kick Off, which included our 30 sprint participants, plus representatives from business, government, NGOs and civil society. The whole group shared experience, expertise and insights about why loneliness exists in London and how to tackle it. Together, they helped set the agenda for the Lab.
Working with our key collaborators, we issued a call out for sprint participants; Lendlease made a similar invitation to their UK staff. Over 100 people applied for 30 places. While the final cohort had a mix of backgrounds, expertise, skills and sectors, all shared a passion for tackling loneliness.
SPRINT Five days to build and test emerging ideas, guided by a team of design and innovation facilitators and supported by a ‘sprint toolkit’. The process combined skills-based content, facilitated workshops and dropin mentoring ‘clinics’, with daily check-ins and check-outs to encourage peer learning and cross-pollination of ideas.
D AY 1 : FO R M I N G AND EXPLORING AM - Participants formed in groups of 2-4, congregating around shared interests, personal chemistry and/or diversity of backgrounds. PM - Groups framed a ‘design question’ and identified users and places for testing. We ran a best-practice session on user research to prepare participants for Day 2...
D AY 2 : RE S E A RCH A N D I D E ATI O N AM - Groups approached and interviewed users to research how their local environments could help create connection. PM - We consolidated learning and brainstormed interventions, each group narrowing down to 2-3 ideas to test.
D AY 3 : P ROTOTY P I N G AM - Tasked with building something to test in the real world, participants quickly pulled together materials using £150 budget, art supplies and upcycled waste. PM - Piles of cardboard were magically transformed into maps, signs, lounges and a giant art installation.
D AY 4 : I TE R ATI O N AM - We took some time for personal reflection on a silent walk, and encouraged participants to check in with other groups to share learnings, pain points and questions. PM - Groups ran a second version of their Day 3 prototypes, taking them back on to the streets for further feedback and insight.
L A U N CH P
D AY 5 : SY N TH E S I S I N G A N D N E X T S TE P S AM - Groups reflected on learnings and prepared a pitch for the Launchpad event. PM - Groups practiced their pitches, gaining valuable peer feedback and input from a panel of community experts.
We invited everyone from the Kick Off for a celebratory ‘show and tell’ lunch. Each group set up an exhibition space and shared a short presentation of their prototypes, which included the moving stories of loneliness they had heard.
Guests completed feedback cards suggesting ideas and connections to help the ideas grow, and we were delighted to have immediate support for many of the ideas from the panel of ‘keynote listeners’.
See page 84 to find out what’s next!
WHAT WE'VE LEARNED ABOUT RUNNING SPRINTS.... When we launched the Loneliness Lab we knew four key ingredients would be vital for its long term success: momentum, community, coownership and a connection to place. We chose to launch the Lab with a design sprint because we believed it would help create these ingredients - and we were right! Here are some of the things that worked - and our learnings for next time.
1 - I T ’ S A C TUA L LY MORE LIKE A M A R ATH O N The sprint is just a step in the process. Preparation is vital: contacts, places, spaces and materials. Planning for next steps is also important - a sprint won’t achieve much on its own! We paid particular attention to building the agency and community of our sprint cohort, so they’d be in it for the long run - and they are. For next time… We’d give ourselves some breathing space between the Kick Off and the sprint to do more targeted preparation.
2 - W O R K F AS T AND SLOW Sprints are amazing for rapidly testing ideas, but that shouldn’t mean the whole time is spent at full speed. We designed in plenty of reflection and thinking time - it can actually help speed things up! Each day started and ended with a breathing exercise and group check-in, which we invited participants to lead. At the sprint mid-point, we led a silent walk through Elephant and Castle for individual and paired reflection on progress and challenges. For next time… We’d make the check-ins compulsory, as we felt the groups who attended them got more from the process.
3 - D E S I G N YO U R C U LTU R E F RO M TH E S TA RT Loneliness is a very emotional issue and can be triggering. Sprints are by nature pressured and challenging, and working with strangers can be frustrating. So how you work is as important as what you work on. To create a safe and supportive peer community and space, we spent time on Day 1 co-designing open and nurturing working practices, emphasising the importance of starting with personal experience. The facilitation team were on hand with personal support when necessary, and we prioritised well-being at our daily check-ins and check-outs. For next time… We encouraged every group to design their own culture and gave them the tools to do it. But some groups didn’t make space for this and clashed. In future, we’d make this a key step in the process.
5 - P R E SS U R E C A N H E L P P RO CE SS The sprint involved elements some participants weren’t comfortable with: talking to strangers on the street, making a cardboard prototype in an hour rather than talking about it for two, or practicing a pitch after just 15 minutes’ preparation. We learned that discomfort can be constructive, as long as you name it and can support people through it. Taking people outside their comfort zone can be creative and powerful, and even the people who didn’t enjoy it say they appreciate the value it’s brought to their day jobs. For next time… We’d prepare sprinters in advance for potential pressure points, and pair up specific facilitation team members with individual sprinters.
4 - A D I V E RS E CO H O RT B R I N G S S O M UCH R I CH N E S S TO TH E P RO CE SS Over 100 people applied to be on the sprint, and the quality and diversity of applications was extraordinary. The rich mix of working styles, backgrounds, ages, sectors, genders and demographics created some really creative ideas and an incredibly valuable learning experience for everyone. We actively encouraged sprinters to work with people from different backgrounds and made space for inter-group learning to make the most of the mix. For next time… We’d recruit more local residents and community representatives to the sprint. Some groups had skills gaps eg. social media, so we would build a bank of volunteers to provide those skills. 77
6 - A CC E S S W I D E R A N G I N G E X P E RTI S E We recruited facilitators and mentors with innovation, impact, place-making and community engagement expertise to support a cohort who were largely new to sprinting. The facilitation team was supportive, welcoming and collaborative, setting the tone for the sprint. We offered ‘how to’ sessions and daily drop-in ‘clinics’ for groups to get input and advice, and we brought in local stakeholders at key moments to offer local insight and give feedback. For next time... We’d do more planning in situ and recruit a community leader to our core team. We’d have the same dedicated mentor with two groups each throughout the process.
7- BALANCE INTERVENTIONS WITH GETTING OUT OF THE WAY We provided a toolkit to support each stage of prototype development, such as mapping user needs, identifying barriers and opportunities, building group culture, and identifying a long term vision. We provided an hour of content each day to help groups use the most important tools, but mostly we got out of the way, so they could learn by doing.
For next time... We’d signpost the toolkit more so groups know when to use each tool.
8 - M A K E S O M E TH I N G F AS T A N D D O N ’ T B E A F R A I D TO F A I L Taking action instead of just talking about it is quick, cheap, impactful and a lot more fun than meetings! We encouraged our sprinters not to be afraid to get it wrong first time, but to learn and iterate from it. We built a safe space for our sprint participants so they were more likely to take risks. For next time... We’d encourage and celebrate failure as part of the checkin and check-out process.
9 - RO OT TH E SPRI N T W HERE YO U R U S E RS A R E We based our sprint at Crossways community centre in Elephant and Castle, because it was a hub for local places, spaces and community groups for sprinters to engage with. For next time... We’d do more in the preparation stage to recruit residents to join the sprint.
1 0 - P R E P A R E S P R I N TE RS - A N D TH E I R O RG A N I S ATI O N S - F O R S E R I O U S P E RS O N A L D E V E L O PM E N T Our sprint experience was intentionally transformational. Sprinters have told us they feel changed for the better in their work and personal lives: more human, open, brave and authentic. The close-knit community forged through new ways of working and being meant some sprinters found it frustrating to go back to their old ways of working. We’ve provided follow-up 'coaching clinics’ for all the groups and regular meet-ups to help participants embed their learnings in their work and lives. For next time... We’d ensure a formal follow up programme, with more buy-in from line managers and HR teams from the start.
IN E R A S SPRINT VES A TH E M S E L C K L E TA O T Y A W S; S E N I L E LON NG I R B Y E TH HER T E G O T P E O P L E E A TE A A N D C R TY . I N U M M O C 79
SPRINTER VIEWPOINTS VICKY HILL LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT, FABRIK
"The sprint was a real epiphany for me. It showed me how rewarding it is to work on something you genuinely care about, with people who genuinely care about the same thing, rather than just working in the corporate environment. We started as strangers, but became a close-knit group. Although I was taken right out of my comfort zone, I felt well-supported even during the controlled chaos and the mindfulness exercises - it was mad but effective! I learnt a lot about myself, which has given me more direction and confidence. The sprint process was very powerful and I'm exploring how I can incorporate mini sprints into our studio work: growing, experimenting and learning. I've shared what I learnt about loneliness within my company and I think it’s actually made me a better person – talking about this experience has opened up a space for other people to share their loneliness with me.”
XAN GOETZEE-BARRAL PROJECT OFFICER, SUSTRANS
“The pace of the sprint was amazingly productive and motivating, and reflecting on this following the sprint was invaluable. Our team has a lot of appetite to continue our Yellow Balloon project, especially focusing on how we can measure impact. I found the professional diversity of the sprint very valuable - it's the first time I've worked with such a mixed group including urban planners, architects, photographers and community engagement specialists. I’ve now got a better understanding of my personal motivation and energy. I’m not going to jump to solutions so quickly in my work, but sit with the problem more."
KAREN ARTHUR FASHION DESIGNER & SEWING TUTOR
"Being in a room with 29 other creatives, the energy was off the scale. It felt so amazing to be sharing a space with people who just say yes. ‘Yes, we can do that – let’s get on with it, let’s try it out.’ It makes you feel supported, and like you’re really part of something. Our idea was to take craft to the buses and the tubes. We were overwhelmed by the response of the public. People were really excited and immediately got behind what we wanted to do. Crafting allows people to connect. It gives adults permission to have fun and to play. That means it helps people to have conversations they wouldn’t normally have. And form connections they wouldn’t normally form. TFL are interested. We need more companies to get on board, to help take this forward. We can absolutely do this." REBECCA COWAN CONSTRUCTION DESIGN MANAGER, LENDLEASE
"At work I’m usually the process-driven ‘Spreadsheet Geek', so the chaos of the sprint was very challenging for me! But it was great to be reminded of the value of creativity. Our prototype for getting neighbours to know each other was a simple display board in the communal lobby, where residents could stick a colour-coded Post-it to show their neighbours how they were feeling that day. The results were really positive, with some residents immediately wanting to reach out, saying things like, ‘I’ll connect with people, and I’ll do this regularly.’ We’re excited about how this could scale up to reveal the feelings of a whole city. It could really improve the places and spaces in residential blocks, and the lives of those living there. On a personal note, I probably wasn’t aware how lonely I’d been in my life. I certainly didn’t admit it to myself until after I’d been part of the sprint team, so that’s been interesting.”
WHAT WE ARE UP TO IN 2019 AND HOW YOU CAN JOIN IN
We’re busy working with our collaborators to review all our insights, ideas and learnings and co-design a full programme for the Loneliness Lab for 2019. We’ll launch this in January. In the meantime, here’s a taster of some of the things we know we’ll be up to...
• At least 10 pilot projects activating ideas from the sprint and projects developed with our collaborators. • A series of mini playbooks on each pilot to help any organisation use these ideas eg. how to design workplaces to foster friendship, or how to help people feel a sense of belonging in public spaces.
• Work with our collaborators and experts to further deepen our collective understanding of the role of places and spaces in tackling loneliness. • Share research and best practice widely.
UNLEASH CO L L A B O R ATI O N S
• Support our first sprint cohort to act as ambassadors for tackling loneliness in London, with mentoring, peer support and the tools and resources they need to bring their projects to life.
• Continue to bring the community together, facilitating workshops for key sectors and organising mini-labs in boroughs around London.
• Build capabilities and share learnings across local authorities, built environment professionals and community organisations so they are more equipped to tackle loneliness ‘on the ground’.
• Grow the community to 200 organisations by the end of 2019.
W A Y S TO G E T I N VO LV E D
The Loneliness Lab is open to all organisations and individuals who want to tackle loneliness in London. Here’s how you can get involved. Become a partner - We’re looking for co-sponsors of the Loneliness Lab who will help us fund, resource, test and/or evaluate pilot projects over the next two years. Become a collaborator - An opportunity to informally collaborate with the Lab, working with us on a pilot, sharing research or learnings, or helping to host our gallery or an event. Propose an experiment - Do you have an idea of how to tackle loneliness and isolation through places and spaces? Do you have a space where we could test something out? We’d love to connect with you. Champion the learnings - If you’ve learned something about loneliness from this project, why not champion it in the spaces and places where you work and live? The mini-playbooks we’ll be launching next year will include practical tools and tips to help with this. You could also host the gallery in your community or workspace. Make it personal - Say hello to strangers. Greet your neighbours. Have lunch with a colleague. Call your mum, or that friend you haven’t heard from in a while. Loneliness is a big, complex issue at a societal level, but it’s easy to start making a difference individually. Your actions will change lives - starting with your own, and ending who knows where!
Bethan Harris at Collectively via
ACKLE IT TAKES A CITY TO T ILLAGE LONELINESS, AND A V LIKE TO BRING A PROJECT TO LIFE. THE LONELINESS LAB So many people have been involved, itâ€™s impossible to acknowledge them individually. To everyone who helped shape, create and bring the Lab to life - thank you! Together we are getting closer to tackling loneliness in London. We can't wait to keep working with you all.
P14-15 references 1. Age UK, 2014 2. Sense 3. Holt-Lunstad, 2015 4. Church Urban Fund 5. London School of Economics 6. Time Out City Index Survey 2016 7. Age UK, 2016 8. Office of National Statistics 9. Oâ€™Connell et al, 2004 10. London School of Economics 11. Ipsos MORI/ Octavia 2017 12. Total Jobs survey 13. Time Out City Index Survey 2016 14. Mental Health Foundation 15. Ipsos MORI/ Octavia 2017 16. New Economics Foundation 17. Ipsos MORI/ Octavia 2017 18. Holt-Lunstad, 2010 19. Office for National Statistics 20. Time Out City Index Survey 2016 Photo Credits Toby Keane & sprint participants 87
What we learned and where we're going next with the Lab.