Growing cross-sector design collaboration in placemaking

The UK Government recently announced its Levelling Up plan aiming to ‘spread opportunity more equally across the UK’, and to narrow the social and economic disparities that exist across different places. Part of this plan is to give more power to local governments to regenerate their own town and cities.

Placemaking is back on the agenda, and with it a concern for putting people at the centre of the process of creating our public spaces, taking into consideration not only economic parameters, but also issues of social justice, education, culture and health and wellbeing.

From our work with many local authorities, civil society organisations, social enterprises, as well as community groups and activists, we see an increased willingness for different sectors to work together to tackle local placemaking issues, however, there is often a lack of confidence, experience, or indeed opportunity for those different sectors to combine their ideas, projects, and assets together to drive joint projects forward.

With my colleagues Theo Zamenopoulos and Vera Hale, we recently received funding to attempt to do just that: provide the opportunity for cross-sector collaboration to be seeded and nurtured in three different locations in Wales, Scotland, and England. In collaboration with the Glass-House Community Led Design ( and working with partners in Merthyr Tydfil, Glasgow and Chapham Junction in London, we will use an approach called ‘cross-pollination’ to bring people together and build ways to support collaboration in placemaking.

This knowledge exchange project is one of nine projects funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council under its place programme, aiming to improve our understanding of place and inform place-based policy and practice. Check out AHRC’s Press Release about these projects:


You can find out more about cross-pollination (its roots and ramifications) here:






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