Home Sweet Home: A Tool for Community Participation?

2 06 2011

By Lizzie Bird

After being enchanted by the Pop-up book PopVille see PopVille: The Pop Out City while doing some research for my design thesis I came across a project by Subject to Change http://www.subjecttochange.org.uk/ called home sweet home – this link takes you to the interactive website.  home sweet home is an installation show where each individual audience member has the opportunity to choose a house to personalise and become part of a perfectly formed, miniature, cardboard community.  The development has a number of services to help individuals settle in, including Local FM Radio Station, a postal service, a notice board, and a local council.  Neighbours can introduce themselves and explore their community as it develops. They can make decisions on street names and other community issues.  When the community is complete a street party is held. This is when residents socialise together before taking their miniature house back to their own life sized home.   

Subject for Change uses home sweet home as a vehicle for community consultation to enable testing of a wide range of complex issues – urban, architectural, social and environmental.      The project event was held at the London Festival of Architecture in 2008 and has since then toured the UK and further afield to America and Japan. Summer 2011 exhibitions are planned in Canada. See their gallery of projects. I thought it was an interesting idea – sort of big society on a small scale?!  

Follow this link to see a BBC News article on the Norwich 2010  Exhibition – there’s a good video of the project here which shows how the community developed over the festival period.

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