Community participation and practices of engagement

Principal Investigator(s): Professor Aylin Orbasli


About us

Members of the research group are also researching ways in which public benefits of architecture, place making and cultural heritage can be realised in practice. Often embedded into research projects and occurring within different cultural contexts, this includes action research, co-creation and community engagement. 

Overseen by Orit Sarfati and Andrea Placidi, the Urban Affordance project has focused on developing sustainable low-cost solutions and design projects to address the shortage of affordable housing and work spaces in the UK, and support vulnerable communities. 

Group of people in urban street

Research impact

Outreach and knowledge exchange

The Edible Streets project is working with a local architecture practice and local builder to design and implement edible street planters in Barton, Oxford.

  • Orbaşlı, A. and Cesaro, G. (2020) ‘Rethinking management planning methodologies: a novel approach implemented at Petra World Heritage Site’, Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites, 22 (1-2), 93-111, DOI: 10.1080/13505033.2021.1928369
  • Orbaşlı, A. (2013) ‘Archaeological Site Management and Local Development’ Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites, 15 (3-4), 237-253.
  • Sarfatti, O. & Placidi, A. (2018) Crisis: Street Dwellings for Homeless People in Oxford - Inside the City, IE (Interior Educators). (see journal article)


Aylin Orbasli

Professor Aylin Orbasli

Professor of Architectural and Urban Heritage

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Name Role Email
Dr Mina Samangooei Senior Lecturer in Architecture
Orit Sarfatti Senior Lecturer

More about the researchers

Aylin Orbasli has led several projects that focus on methods of participation and engagement, particularly in the cultural heritage and development and heritage management contexts. Community-led Heritage Regeneration in India, an AHRC funded project in collaboration with the Delhi School of Planning and Architecture, trialled methodologies to engage and empower local communities living within the ruins of Agra’s historic Mughal era gardens. Working with a local NGO and community participants, the team explored ways in which local groups could be empowered to benefit from the developmental impacts of cultural heritage. In another project, community engagement methodologies being developed in the urban planning field were adapted to the cultural heritage context to address conditions experienced at complex cultural heritage sites, with a range of different disciplinary issues and diverse stakeholder demands. The methodology, developed in collaboration with the  local UNESCO office, was trialled at the Petra World Heritage Site in Jordan as part of an Integrated Management Plan for the site. 

Mina Samangooei’s research focuses on nature integration within cities where methods using participation and engagement are key to the work. The Edible Streets project has conducted three public engagement events in Oxford at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, The Pitts Rivers Museum and at Oxford Brookes University. The Edible Streets Project has designed and implemented a small planter on a street in Barton, Oxford in January 2022 with support from the residents, who are now using the planter. The project has attracted more funding to implement more planters for these residents, involving a design workshop with residents, interior architecture students and an architecture practice using co-creation methodologies.