Social Integration Design Lab

As part of All of Us: The Mayor’s Strategy for Social Integration, We are Snook have been commissioned to design and deliver the Social Integration Design Lab.

The Lab will enable local authority officers from across London to work with social design experts, public sector innovators and citizens to embed social integration and design principles into public service delivery, projects and policies. It will bring together local authorities that wish to lead innovative practices which promote social integration in their local area and provide a stimulating space to design, test and share interventions that support a more socially integrated London.

Aims of the Lab

In the Lab’s first year, it will focus on supporting regeneration projects that are committed to creating an environment where Londoners find it easy and beneficial to have positive and regular interactions with those around them, and to bring different groups of Londoners together through shared experiences. Through this, Londoners will be supported to develop strong, meaningful relationships as well as shared identities.

A key aim of the Lab is for each participating project to become a best-practice example of designing regeneration projects for social integration, and to inform a set of social integration design principles that can be used by others.

The application process

Applications for the first year of the Social Integration Design Lab (2019) are now closed. Please check back later this year for information on the second year of the Lab.

The programme

The Lab will run over a period of 9 months from February to November 2019. During this period there will be 3 full-day sessions and a showcase event. In between Lab sessions, mentoring and one-to-one support will be offered. All session dates will be agreed with participants pre-selection. 

Lab sessions

Our sessions will bring leading experts across design, social integration and community engagement to run lectures, theory sessions and practical exercises, giving you space to develop your projects as a team with support. 

One-to-one support

We will provide expert one-to-one support on projects between the sessions online and with visits to your local authority. Dependent on need and project type, we will identify the best person to work with you from a wider expert team.

Lab showcase

This is a final showcase where we will reflect on the learning from the Lab, present participating project developments and present the social integration design principles tested within the Lab.

The outcomes

The outcomes from the Lab will include:

  • a series of London-based case studies which show how regeneration projects can be designed, tested and evaluated for social integration
  • increased learning for London and other regions on how social integration can be improved through local public projects, policies and services, implemented at the local authority level
  • a peer network of local authorities who are committed to using their powers and resources to improve social integration in London
  • a published set of evidence-based social integration design principles which can be used by local authorities more broadly
What are we offering?

The Lab will offer tailored one-to-one and group sessions aimed at supporting participants to embed social integration and design principles into their approaches to regeneration. Drawing on existing principles for social integration and design, the Lab will enable local authority officer leads to work with social design experts, citizens and public sector innovators to embed these into their work. 

It will offer participants the opportunity to take part in a collaborative research in action programme, which will use local regeneration schemes as case studies to form the basis for recommended social integration design principles.

We are Snook will co-design the programme with participants and will tailor the Lab in early 2019 to the needs and aspirations of London’s local authorities. 

Being part of the Lab will give participants access to:

  • expertise to promote the (re)design of regeneration schemes and policies so they support greater social integration
  • field visits to successful projects that promote social integration
  • workshops and mentoring support from social integration and design experts
  • expertise in evaluating projects for social integration outcomes
  • evidence-based input on successful interventions that improve social integration
  • tools and methods to take away in usable formats
  • a peer network of local authorities to share learnings and challenges with
  • a studio environment for dedicated thinking time supported by our experts
  • an opportunity to take part in the co-production of social integration design principles
Who can join us?

We are looking for colleagues working on regeneration projects across a range of London’s local authorities. We are looking to work with those who are committed to designing, testing, evaluating and sharing interventions.

You will need to demonstrate that you have support from your department or local authority’s senior leadership team. You will also have identified a discrete project to work on in the Lab.

We welcome small teams of up to three from each local authority for the workshops, including a senior or project lead and/or key officers involved in the project. You could be working directly within regeneration departments, or from broader social integration departments within local authorities.

You will need to have the capacity to participate in the Lab sessions over 9 months from February to November 2019, to be committed to working to embed social integration and design principles into your project, and to help us co-design a set of social integration design principles, based on your experience, that can be shared more widely.  

What type of projects are we looking for?

We are taking an open approach to the types of projects that can apply for the Lab. We’re seeking to listen first to your challenges and current (or pipeline) projects. These might include specific assets or initiatives you are seeking to (re)develop and embed social integration principles into, or a wider view of a master-plan for an area. What we’re looking for are projects that you will have the ability to shape or reshape within 2019, or to help you to build strategies that could help shape a wider set of policies and plans. We want to support your projects in becoming best practice regeneration activities that support social integration outcomes.

We’ve outlined a series of project types, below to help give you examples on the kinds of projects we are inviting into the Lab:

Indicative types of projects 

  1. Neighbourhood - Small-medium scale community-led initiatives, aiming to create new or revitalise existing use of a site
  2. High streets - Medium scale, mixed use, street-based regeneration considering markets, retail, workspace, low value industrial space and the wider public realm
  3. Town centres - Larger scale or master plan level projects that focus on wider area change and a series of linked interventions
  4.  Infrastructure developments - Large scale local plan level developments catalysed by development of transport infrastructure
  5. Opportunity areas - Extra-large scale intensification area projects led by significant housing and employment growth projections.

The Lab will be more heavily focused on projects that fit 1-3, however we are open to discuss projects that sit within 4-5. We’re interested in projects that balance the ‘hard’ assets of physical spaces and the ‘softer’ asset-based approaches of engaging communities across places and neighbourhoods. Projects may also span across all of these indicative project types. (e.g. you may have a large scheme but a public realm space within it you want to focus on).

We are interested in working with local authorities to design regeneration projects which, for example, promote social mixing between different groups, increase social trust, improve digital inclusion, and reduce the negative impacts of poor integration such as social isolation and loneliness, and segregation in educational or childcare environments. These are just a few examples, and we want to hear how you think regeneration work in your local authority could support greater social integration within local communities.

If your project doesn't easily fit within these types, please still register your interest as we are keen to hear from a range of people and project and we will provide wider opportunities to get involved. 

We understand that projects will be at a variety of stages and we’re seeking to accommodate these to ensure we have a variety in the Lab. For some projects, we recognise that Section 106, unconfirmed resources or political approval could all pose potential barriers to progression during the timelines of this Lab. We’re looking for projects to work around these and use the Lab to ‘test’ ideas before more formalised processes have to be undertaken.

Key dates

  • 6 December 2018: Expression of interest applications open
  • 22 January 2019, 2-4pm: Social Integration Design Lab Open Day at City Hall
  • 4 February 2019, 5pm: Expression of interest applications close
  • 5-15 February 2019: Clarifications and evaluation
  • Week commencing 18 February 2019: Successful participants informed
  • 12 March 2019: First Lab session
  • 11 June: Second Lab session