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The University is committed to engaging with students, staff and the wider community to ensure the success of future campus developments and the creation of new buildings that have a positive effect on their environment and the community.
Throughout the planning and construction of the John Henry Brookes Building, Oxford Brookes engaged with its neighbours. During planning, local residents were invited to attend a series of consultation events. Since its completion, we've continued to engage with the local community as we enter a new phase of refurbishments and estates activity.
During building work, the Space to Think team engages regularly with the local community. We attend scheduled meetings to talk to residents in person, write to people to make them aware of specific works and have provided out-of-hours contact details so our neighbours can contact us with specific queries.
These activities are hugely successful in addressing potential areas of concern and for identifying satisfactory solutions. The Space to Think team also maintains regular contact with residents outside of scheduled meetings or updates in order to ensure all our neighbours and the community have the most up-to-date information.
A redevelopment project of the size of the John Henry Brookes Building presented an important opportunity to create an estate to meet the needs of our students. To this end the Student Redevelopment Group was set up.
The group spoke with a number of the project sponsors to ensure the designs and services they would be offering in their new spaces would best meet the needs of the students.
Learning from this, we continue to consult with students about the their needs from the new spaces being created. As plans develop for projects as part of the estates investment plan, we continue to involve students in the shaping of the spaces they use the most.
The Student Redevelopment Group provides us with the opportunity to influence change in our university in a comfortable and enjoyable atmosphere.Shweta Soni - 3rd year English and Drama
Outcomes from the Student Redevelopment Group included:
More recently we ran exhibitions on upcoming estates developments and some major refurbishment projects. These refurbishments continue the drive to redevelop and upgrade the facilities of the University and have been positively received by staff, students and the local community. The feedback is shared with the working groups and designers to best meet the needs of the buildings users, from electrical sockets to colour schemes.
The Build Talks were a series of presentations designed to give students as an insight into how a live construction project works. Industry experts, who were working on the John Henry Brookes building, were invited to present to students on their area of expertise.
The series of presentations ran over two semesters (2012/13) and covered a number of construction disciplines. These included Design Engine architects, Laing O’Rourke construction and Grontmij environmental engineers.
The Build Talk presentations are available to watch and provide an insight into the construction of the John Henry Brookes Building.
From the beginning of the construction phase of the campus redevelopment, the Space to Think team offered tours to staff and students. They were initially of particular interest to some of our Built Environment Students to see a live site first hand. As the John Henry Brookes Building got closer to completion, we increased the number of tours to allow staff and students to familiarise themselves with the building prior to occupation.
In recent years we have participated in Oxford Open Doors, too. After the first phase of development, Oxford Brookes’ Department of Planning and the Space to Think team welcomed Oxfordshire residents into the Abercrombie Atrium for Oxford Open Doors in 2013. In 2014, following the opening of the John Henry Brookes Building, we welcomed the community to see our completed new spaces as part of Oxford Open Doors, providing tours and activities for the whole family and did so again in 2015.
Following the second phase of redevelopment, we participated in another weekend of tours after the completion of the John Henry Brookes building in 2014.