S.I.B.C. – 
A council for people, by people







THE CHALLENGES

  • Improve and encourage public participation in urban planning &
    regeneration of Rhyl

     THE OUTCOMES

  • A documentary video of the research phase

  • A workshop setup and a toolkit inspired by the history of Rhyl

  • The insights from the workshop and SIBC policy report was delivered to Denbighshire Council


Stakeholders: Denbighshire Council, Rhyl Citizens

Collaborators: Morgan Thorne, Carla Schleicher, Fivos Avgerios, Ludovica Galletta

Sector: Local Government, Regenaration

Services: Service Design, Community Engagament

My Role: Research, Design, Production, Project Management, Workshop Lead





The story has started with Rhyl (a Welsh seaside resort town in the county of Denbighshire). As a threshold matter, We had Rhyl and its dire and complex social and economic challenges in our hands.

"Today, Rhyl has been named one of the worst places in the UK to live. People’s ability to find cheap flights to travel to many different international holiday destinations has left Rhyl struggling to keep afloat. Due to its situation, the town received over 22 million pounds to help fund their regeneration from the EU. Sadly, the men charged with the task to imagine a future, failed to deliver anything other than a empty coastal park and discount retail mall."
—Twin Towns 2018



RESEARCH & IDEATION



During our research phase of this project, it was evident that the people of Rhyl felt disengaged from the future of their town. Using Rhyl as the first place we want to implement our proposal, we hope to re-engage the community to help them regain their voices, so they can take part in Rhyl’s new chapter of regeneration.



With many buildings being knocked down and new buildings and businesses being created, we believe better engagement with the public for these future structures will foster a better relationship with the council. Promoting a more positive image of Rhyl within its citizens, may create a multitude of possible benefits such as job creation, mental health improvement, population retention and many others.

We were conscious of the need for a vehicle to engage people, to break the tension. At the end, we were aliens in a town that had a population of 25,149 and has had many disappointments regarding regeneration and socio-economic decisions. People have been asked many times regarding these issues but the process was failed, therefore, “go there and ask questions” was not an option. We used multiple forms of research to help shape and form our proposal, in hopes of creating an experience that was able to bring to light unique insights, thoughts, and concerns about the built environment from local people.


“...Everything we did, we brought the community with us. As you probably know, if you’re involved with something. Then, you feel part of it. You look after it.” 

—Garry Davies, Countryside Officer, Denbighshire Countryside Service




The Social Inclusion Brick Council is a proposal that hopes to help encourage public participation in urban planning & regeneration of RHYL.


It utilizes workshops to help foster conversations about the future of the built environment in any given place. We believe that public participation is an integral part of successful urban planning.







PROTOTYPING & FACILITATION


The inspiration for the design of this workshop began as an exploration into the brick making industry of Rhyl’s past. We were very interested in the disappearance of the industry and its replacement with the tourism industry, which eventually faded as well. The irony of the missing brick-making industry is that with all the regeneration, old buildings are being renovated and new buildings are being built, but any bricks used, are being outsourced.

Using tools that has a meaning and familiarity for local citizens



What's in the box

Clay
Terracotta Grogged Marl or Crank

Wooden Mould
Customised with the given city/town name

Rubber Bands
To hold the mould walls together

Letterpress Stamps 
For customising the wet clay

Booklet 
To illustrate how to run the workshop


Using “bricks” as our vehicle, we conducted an brickmaking workshop where we had people imprint their feelings or thoughts on Rhyl into a brick with the help of a map and indirect questions for idea generation.

We assembled our workshops in a public space nearby the harbor and city centre. Although we had insecurities about its effectiveness, implementing the brick as a vehicle, which has a meaning and familiarity for local citizens, worked for us.


We were able to gain helpful insights into the concerns, needs and expectations of the public and hear personal stories as we hoped. We also hoped that through this experience we can encourage participants to think more critically about their engagement with public space and the future of their environments.





FURTHER IMPLEMENTATION



Working with the Rhyl’s Royal Alexandra Hospital




To pilot our toolbox and workshop set-up again, we are working with the redevelopment and expansion of Rhyl’s Royal Alexandra Hospital— a Grade-II listed building, and will, therefore, be preserved and refurbished as needed. The plans also include building a new community hospital building on the same site.

Our group contacted Liz Lloyd, Project Manager, to introduce our workshop and present our ideas for the hospital and we received a positive reply from her and the other stakeholders.

Once the development starts up again, we will conduct our workshop with the stakeholders and local people. We aim to bring together a cross-section of the people taking part in a workshop to effectively implement community input to the redevelopment of Royal Alexandra Hospital. 

Bricks created during the workshop will be shared as an insight and placed on the facade of the new hospital.


Open Sourcing The Toolkit and S.I.B.C. Policy Report


The aim of this project is to live beyond the scope of the case of Rhyl. We have decided to open source it so that it can be applied to various developments and communities.

Our proposal hopes to give developers a toolkit to encourage engagement with their communities. It helps developers/planners to get a deeper understanding of the needs of the communities they affect.

You can find out more about the workshop and our research on the S.I.B.C. website.















BAHAR KAPLAN



➔[Selected Work]
ODD END
MISSION KITCHEN
ROUNDIT 
S.I.B.C.
CMC SPACE + CREATE 

➔[Speculative Design]
THE 1P BAND 
MUSEUM OF DISTORTED TRUTHS 

➔[Contact]
EMAIL


➔[About]
London based service designer working on innovation, public spaces and community engagement. More...







Mark