Leisure, production and poverty: reclaiming urban localities Blackpool, united kingdom

PROJECT OVERVIEW: The project embeds analysis, engagement and action as a means of exploring urban life conditions of a contested British coastal town. Blackpool is place of explicit extremes, which over 17 million people visit each year in pursuit of pleasure whilst large numbers of its settled population live in poverty. This project will connect academics, students of architecture, a local arts organisation and a marginalised community to examine how sustainable ecological, environmental, creative and economic cultures can be developed to empower those that are resident in Blackpool. This project aims to connect the marginalized communities of the town, study their social and spatial practices and develop strategies for localised production that will reduce poverty. The project will also increase local awareness about the local environment and the urban ecologies that constitute their everyday life and meeting places but seem to be ignored in favour of artificial and mechanised sources of pleasure and enjoyment. Likewise, this project draws attention to an overlooked natural configuration of the town, in the aim to explore new forms of production and well-being that enhance, rather than reduce, urban quality. We also aim to use our knowledge and network to enhance access to a wider discourse regarding alternative forms of urban regeneration amongst stakeholders within the town. We will facilitate conversations and research between NGO's, local authority, residents and best practice.

CATEGORY: Education SETTING: Urban STATUS: Current project

BY: University of Central Lancashire

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: Through this project we will develop a series of events to fuel engagement between the students, the urban situations and the actors involved in their design projects. Through our project partner, LeftCoast Arts, we will have access to a residence, a commercial unit and a guesthouse within the territory that we will be engaging with. This will allow us to be present, visible and active within the community, utilising an embedded and empathic mode of live action research where we participate in the existing life of the community as well as inviting the community to participate in our own activity. We will deliver a series of talks and debates from the locations described within this locality and also co-design and co-produce a small scale live build project that meets some of the needs that have already been identified. The community will also be invited to talks, mini reviews and exhibitions of the work we produce.

PARTNERS: Leftcoast Art Centre; Art B&B; Blackpool Town Hall and Borough Council; Extinction Rebellion Lancashire; International Permaculture Research Network.