Understanding our local area: the feeling of a place

walworth rd

Social Life and the Urban Realities Laboratory collaborated on a series of psycho-geographic walks in our neighbourhood near Elephant and Castle in 2016. We organised a series of walks in April and May, with a final walk at the Unusual Suspects Festival in June. 

Our lived experiences are an incredible asset to understand our built environment and making decisions about planning services, however this is often overlooked. This workshop will help build up a shared understanding of how we interact with our built environment and will generate ideas about how we can capture this and channel it into better decision making. 

We think the area around Elephant and Castle sets a good backdrop for this conversation. The area has undergone significant physical transformations and is emblematic of London’s changing urban landscape with a mix of established residential areas and high-density urban developments.

During the walk we stopped at a set of locations to measure our feelings in relation to what we come across. We examined how these places made us feel, and whether collectively sharing our sometimes divergent experiences of a place can help us feel more connected to it. We captured participants’ experiences through questions and measured reactions through sensors worn by participants, drawing on Colin Ellard and the Urban Realities Laboratory’s ground breaking research methods. 

We believe that understanding the psycho-geography of the area can help everyone deal with change, whether they are residents concerned about the number of large scale developments, or urban planners creating new plans and strategies.