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Barking Riverside

Barking Riverside Limited

About the Project

Barking Riverside is a large development in east London along the River Thames; the scale of development means that it will take a long time to complete and provide 10800 new homes, two new schools, a community centre and two retail centres set within existing marshland.

We were commissioned as part of the Section 106 agreement with London Borough of Barking & Dagenham. Our role was to engage residents and businesses around the 443 acre site and begin to understand how this huge local change could positively impact existing residents and how we could begin to blur the boundaries between old and new so that people saw new public spaces and facilities as available for them to use as well.


Phase 1 – understanding the context February – September 2011
Phase 2 – project delivery and handover October 2011 – September 2012

Our Tools & Approach

Our starting point for the engagement strand was to map out existing groups and services in the area so that we developed a good understanding of the existing social infrastructure. We held a series of one–to-ones with members and leaders of these groups to understand the area from their perspective and look for opportunities to knit in the new facilities.

We developed a strategy to make the engagement work fun and rewarding in its own right. We utilised an empty shop on an existing shopping parade and set up a live stream of the River Thames and offered to swap popcorn for people’s thoughts about the area: what was good about it and what opportunities for improvement there were. This spectacle attracted lots of attention and got people curious about what we were doing. Having a consistent visual presence allowed people to become familiar with us and our intentions.

By analysing all the data collected we developed projects that worked on the most common themes such as: ‘We can’t find anything’, ‘We want outdoor programming’, ‘We need a well managed facility.’