Making Neighbourhoods more Neighbourly – Talk the Walk

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Date(s) - 06/04/2011
4:30 pm - 7:15 pm

South London Gallery


The theme for our meeting on Wednesday 6 April was “Making neighbourhoods more neighbourly”. This event was co-hosted by Rethinking Cities and PLAYLINK .

It was an event in two parts: a Walkshop from 3.00pm – 5.00pm Meeting at Denmark Hill Station and a Talk the Walk from 5.00pm – 7.30pm at the Clore Studio at the South London Gallery London SE5 8UH.


Informal social neighbourliness, a sense of ease across generations, are qualities too infrequently associated with inner city or suburban neighbourhoods.  Why should this be so?  We believe that the local outdoors can and should allow for fun and the easy inter-play between generations.  Why is this not happening as often as we think it should? If we can imagine – and wish for – a playable and walkable neighbourhood, what needs to be done to make this a reality?


Walkshop: A 90 minute walk from Denmark Hill rail station to the South London Gallery, participants were asked to note their discoveries and recommendations and be prepared to share them once they arrivea at the Clore Studio at the South London Gallery at the end of the walk. A group of 8 used Ruskin Walk passports to help prompt discussion – these are created by local artist, Martin Fidler. Others followed a route devised by NG Bristow, a local filmmaker who developed an intriguing screenplay and treatment (soundtrack music composed by Stephen Murphy) for a walk through this neighbourhood.


Talk the Walk: Included two participatory workshops, one to determine the positives and negatives to neighbourhoods and one to determine the barriers that need to be overcome to make neighbourhoods more neighbourly – you can download details here. To stimulate discussion further, contributions were invited from three local artists, Martin Fidler (visual artist), NG Bristow(filmmaker) and Carlos Cortes (choreographer). These workshops were followed by presentations from:



Gemma Phillips, Institute for Health and Human Development, University of East London – Measuring neighbourhoods for public health research

Liz Kessler – Neighbourliness is all about place

Alison Pearce, Greater London Authority – The Well London approach and how it has helped local residents deliver positive change in their neighbourhoods.

Matt Shaw – Using play and creativity to assess children’s needs within a community.

Chris Speirs, British Trust for Conservation Volunteers – Green Gyms


Bernard Spiegal from PLAYLINK drew the event to a close with a summation of the discussions.

Download a list of the participants and view a gallery of photographs from the event. Participants were also invited to write on post it notes 3 things they would take away from the event – you can download these comments here.


Interesting and pertinent links:

DIY Happiness was featured in the Guardian Society pages on 6 April, and Sherry Clark, the project coordinator is participating in our event.

Read a recent report from PLAYLINK on Neighbourhliness and the outdoors.

Any anti-social behaviour in your neighbourhood? How about an ASBO app for your Smartphone:

Talk the Walk: Networking events for people promoting vibrant walkable neighbourhoods.

The format of a Talk the Walk event is fairly straightforward:

  • Meet up, and go on a walk
  • Mix and Mingle
  • Listen to a 3-5 minute presentation – up to 16 at any event – (let us know if you have something you want to talk about).
  • Ask questions – Share ideas – Create an action plan

Talk the Walk offers any participant the opportunity to speak to the whole group. The more speakers there are the less time each is given to speak.

Each Talk the Walk has a definite theme; themes have included: physical activity; emotional well-being and public space; animating public space; workplace health, retrofitting for walking; and children, play and independent mobility.

Bringing professionals from different fields together to promote walking is key to Talk the Walk, and in trying to achieve this and to keep costs to a minimum we have co-hosted Talk the Walks, with the Urban Design Group at the Arts Council, with Groundwork London, with Play England, with the London Borough of Bromley and with NHS Greenwich.  We are always keen to hear from other organisations that can offer us a venue that accommodates 40 people.

You can read about previous Talk the Walks on this wiki and find out what participants think about them.

Go to Get in Touch page to register your interest in a Talk the Walk or other Talkshops we offer form.