Case Study: Symphony Housing. Community Garden

PLACED delivered a creative hands-on workshop for Symphony Housing that involved stakeholders in developing ideas for the design of a community garden.

Client aims

  • As part of their wider Castlefields investment, Symphony were exploring the development of a community garden on an empty area of land
  • They were keen for innovative solutions but had very limited budgets
  • Before developing a scheme they wanted to ensure there was enthusiasm for a creative solution among stakeholders and gain an understanding of local priorities.


  • Stakeholders and employees were invited to take part in a half day workshop, designed to establish buy-in for developing a creative solution for the space
  • Participants started by identifying stakeholders, establishing what is missing in the area and exploring the opportunities and challenges associated in creating a community garden in the neighbourhood
  • This discussion led to three briefs being developed, centered on responding to local need whilst providing a manageable and affordable solution
  • Participants developed design concepts through model making
  • The resulting innovate solutions were discussed and strengths and weaknesses explored, further informing brief development.


  • Stakeholders were more informed and engaged in the process and supported the development of a creative solution rather than a standard intervention
  • Documented input from stakeholders to inform the brief, including identification of challenges, existing gaps in local provision, stakeholders, user groups and management considerations, informed by local knowledge and an understanding of need
  • Concept schemes highlighted the opportunities presented by the site
  • Encouraged a more holistic approach to creating a space with a strong sense of purpose and supporting community cohesion
  • Design themes and ideas developed which could be utilised in future scheme.

Client Feedback

Support pre-delivery

  • The original scope of the session was quite wide and it was helpful in the early discussions to bring the focus down onto what we really needed to achieve.


  • I expected the activity to help to shape the visual appearance of the site and some of the potential features that could be contained within it. It met all of my expectations.

Outcomes of the activities for the organisation and participants

  • The activity was extremely useful in making the group think beyond the norm and discuss what possibilities the site could have. This was really useful as participants are used to following a number of pre-set parameters. Hopefully the session has moved the design of the garden forward and made it more relevant to the neighbourhood.

Additional comments?

  • A really useful session, I’m looking forward to taking the project forward now and providing a facility that will benefit the whole neighbourhood.

“I enjoyed having adults LISTEN to our ideas about the local area and designing a place for us”


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PLACED is the trading name for PLACE Education CIC Company Registration Number 7791873