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An innovative engagement project tasked with exploring local communities’, residents and visitors' experiences, feelings and aspirations around Gateshead's Riverside Park and the wider borough.

Parks and green spaces are key infrastructure[1], with their importance realised and re-iterated during Covid-19. However, their role in sustainable intra-urban development is under researched and under-utilised. As part of the wider work on Vision 2030[2] there is now a new opportunity to shape the planned redevelopment of Gateshead’s Quayside and Riverside Park.

‘Headway’ led by researchers from Northumbria and Newcastle University formed part of the engagement activity for a wider multi-partner project, led by Gateshead Council and with partners National Trust, Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust, Rural Design Centre and Big Local Gateshead.

Running throughout 2022, the project utilised an expanded participatory exercise utilising a digital device called ‘JigsAudio’. This process encouraged participants to provide longer-term, reflexive accounts of their experiences, feelings, and aspirations. In doing so, the research aimed to set a precedent for future development by centring the experience, expertise and creativity of Gateshead’s diverse population, including those underrepresented in current consultations.

This project arm works alongside 'Culture and Context in Riverside Park' aiming to design a tangible, co-designed ‘pathway’ that articulates and supports the future development of Riverside Park and the wider Derwent Tyne Corridor. The two project arms, in combination, will provide opportunities to share knowledge across sectoral divides, developing and strengthening local ties. 

Further analysis identified unmet needs within each community and outlined any existing and envisioned barriers to future development in order highlight where targeted work could deliver the most impact.

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