My Mainway is a consultancy project which aims to foreground as protagonists the present and future residents of the Mainway Estate. Citizen participation is an essential aspect in the transformation of the built environment since it brings together urban agents (e.g. residents, direct users, technicians, architects, planners, public workers, politicians, etc) around projects, acting as a catalyst to collectively define an agenda built upon citizen needs and social situations. Participation is not a series of events, rather, a process by which the estate, the city, and its inhabitants experience a collective process of learning, approaching perspectives from the common and the diverse, looking for agreements, commitments, and reaching consensus.
My Mainway consists of a series of engagement events – from August 2020 to January 2021 – where we seek to build a close-nit collaboration with the residents to collectively reimagine the future of Mainway Estate. We are part of an enthusiast research team from Lancaster University (ImaginationLancaster) working together with residents of Mainway and Lancaster City Council. Through engagement on events, we want residents to become active voices and essential contributors to redesign the ideal place where people would choose to live. Working and cooperating, we will develop new ideas to make Mainway one of the most vibrant and thrilling places in the district.
A participatory process of this nature allows incorporating and responding to the needs, expectations, and demands of the inhabitants or direct users of the Mainway redevelopment. It provides essential information for the design of the strategies and architectural solutions that will shape the vision of the future estate, always under the criteria of sustainability and social justice. With this, the consultation aims to activate a sense of community and committing its residents to the redevelopment process – a great challenge, but also a great opportunity that can be driven by citizens.
The essence of a neighbourhood and a city are not found in the quality of the physical spaces but the human activities and interactions (also with the environment) that they support, conforming a social environment. Hence, it is not just about physically refurbishing or rebuilding a residential development, but also, and far more important, building a networked community behind to support the diverse identities of it, to care for it, to be part of it before, during, and after its materialisation.
Come and visit us at The BASE:
7 Captains Row, Lancaster, LA1 2AN