University of the Arts London
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Overcrowded Living: Journey and methodology

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posted on 2024-05-14, 11:22 authored by Adam Thorpe, Alison Prendiville

Journey and methodology

In order to gain insights, students ‘shadowed’ officers visiting residents to support them in dealing with their overcrowding issues. 67% of Camden residents live in overcrowded conditions. Students visited overcrowded residents living in social housing in Camden. Overcrowding is an issue that cuts across many service areas. Researchers talked with as many of the service teams as they could to understand the various points of support and interaction between the officers and residents. 

The project was delivered over a period of ten weeks. The design team worked closely with the Council officer leading the overcrowding project. They ‘shadowed’ her on her visits and observed the way residents were living, the challenges they faced and the interventions they had made to improve the situation for themselves. The design team analysed this data creating ‘personas’ for different kinds of residents facing different kinds of challenges caused or compounded by overcrowding. The team also created some design directions to address the greatest challenges and opportunities. The ‘personas’ were tested with residents and officers in workshop settings along with initial proposals for tools that could support council officers in helping residents to cope with overcrowded conditions. These tools were shared with officers and residents and iteratively developed and tested by the lead officer during her consultations with overcrowded residents. Finally the tools were developed in physical and digital formats for integration into the Council’s systems and processes. After gathering data analysing initial insights the design team created personas to help them.

Personas were developed based on student’s research. These personas formed the basis of the toolkit to support residents as they allowed residents to select which of the personas they felt most represented their own situation. This characterisations allowed support to be more targeted.


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