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Involving people in what really matters to them in the development of their local area is vital for communities to become stronger and more sustainable.

Institute researchers are involved in a range of research projects, the findings of which contribute to our understanding of community-led and local level sustainable place-making.

Tyfu i Ddsygu

Our extra-curricular experiential learning project called Tyfu i Ddsygu (Growing to Learn) connects small groups of students with members of community gardens in Cardiff to design practical projects to contribute to the sustainability of the gardens.

Sharing collections, sharing collections

A collaboration between the Sustainable Places Research Institute and Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum of Wales (AC-NMW), this placement investigated how the AC-NMW economic botany collection (EBC) can enhance public understanding of biodiversity and contribute to AC-NMW’s well-being duty (Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act, 2015).

Through enabling cross-disciplinary dialogue and exchange of ideas between botanists, practitioners, civil society groups, social scientists and the public, the project investigated ways in which the collection and associated activities can improve societal understanding and valuing of biodiversity and resulted in a public exhibition of the collection as well as a behind-the-scenes tour of the Museums’ economic botany collection and herbarium.

Seagrass spotter

The Seagrass spotter app, developed by researchers from the charity Project Seagrass, encourages members of the public to get involved in conservation, monitoring and education to help the scientists better understand seagrass meadows around the globe.

The app provides ocean enthusiasts around the world with an opportunity to become citizen scientists who contribute to marine conservation with just a few taps of their phone.

Canal and Rivers Trust

Just one output of our partnership with the Canal and Rivers Trust was the development of a pilot programme aimed at getting young people from Leicester’s Somali community involved in learning about and caring for Britain’s waterways.

Research, led by Sustainable Places, found that Leicester’s ethnically diverse population is not reflected amongst those currently visiting waterways. Further investigation, focused on the Somali community, found low levels of awareness and understanding of how they can access and enjoy local waterways.

The project ‘Leicester Young Ecology Adventurers, was conceived and managed by the Somali Community Parents Association (SOCOPA),  and was formed to give young people aged between 11-14 years an opportunity to explore the natural heritage of their local canals, whilst gaining skills and experience in outdoor pursuits and conservation. The project focuses on the natural and cultural heritage of canals and the River Soar in Leicester, and aims to foster young people’s understanding of and care for it.

Further research will consider the programme’s wider impact, including changing perceptions of waterways amongst the local community.

ESRC Festival of social science

During the 2018 UK ESRC Festival of Social Science researchers from Sustainable Places took over Chapter Arts Centre, to showcase the range of research undertaken in PLACE. The two-day event explored different meanings of place, its role for future sustainability, as well as the innovative methods we use to study it.

The event featured an exhibition, talks, panel discussions, cinema screenings and interactive workshops on our current work on sustainable place-making in communities in Wales, Portugal and Malaysia.