Research and Resources

Research is one of our key activities, both in relation to buildings themselves and to responses and attitudes towards it among our community. We give a voice to Londoners’ opinions and ideas by carrying out and publishing regular polls, surveys and research into key design issues such as sustainability, use of public spaces and development of social housing.

Knowledge capture

With over 350,000 visits to Open House London every year, we have a huge and diverse community, both lay and professional. We carry out regular research among this community via online surveys and questionnaires, and face-to-face interviews, while throughout the year we also undertake research among more targeted groups with whom we work, such as young people. The resulting data is used to inform our own programmes but can also be extended to inform external research.

Example: sustainability research: Every year, Open House London showcases some of the most innovative green buildings, both new and retrofitted, in response to the wide interest in carbon-saving technologies, materials and designs. In 2008 our sustainability poll of the public found that:

- 81.3% of people surveyed thought green design is very important for London
- materials, water saving and insulation were the three elements of a building Open House London visitors recognised as being sustainable

Information banks

The core work of Open-City encourages creative learning experiences for all through interactions with exemplary architecture, but we regularly produce publications and resources offering advice, guidance and case studies.

Example: case studies of school design: Learning by Design, an illustrated publication devised by Open-City in partnership with the Department for Education and Skills (now the Department for Children, Schools and Families) in 2005, 2006 and 2007 has highlighted insights from the clients – headteachers, students and governors – about how new and refurbished schools work for them.

Our experience with a range of audiences – architects, contractors, artists, teachers, governors and councillors as well as the wider community – puts us in a unique position to draw together and highlight the issues and processes involved. Learning by Design acts as a key ‘signpost’, informing, inspiring and engaging decision-makers, particularly those at the pre-briefing stage and provides an invaluable and authoritative point of reference for the wider educational community. The need for such guidance and information has been clearly established through evaluation and feedback.

You can order a copy of Learning by Design through our resources page.