Homemaker Oxford is a three-year action research project using design thinking and co-production as tools to explore the opportunities provided by alternative housing models and empty and underused space in providing medium to long term accommodation for people experiencing homelessness.

Design process

Homemaker Oxford is an architecture and design led project, using housing as an entry point to locate individual experiences of housing and homelessness within the broader context of austerity, homelessness, urban planning and the housing ‘crisis’.

As a team of architects, designers, activists and problem solvers, with expertise in alternative housing solutions, we work in partnership with individuals and organisations working on homelessness and with people with a lived experience of homelessness.

We seek to create a process whereby different knowledges and experiences are able to steer the project and coproduce its findings. We are creating a three-year living laboratory for the inclusive co-development of housing models which better suit the current housing need. This might include mapping, sketching, making or building as research tools.

The outcome of the three-year project will be to develop a new set of community-based housing strategies and a community-based system of support for people experiencing homelessness, to build a number of strategic partnerships to aid their delivery, to begin developing an evidence base for such alternatives and to change the narrative on housing, homelessness and empty and underused space in Oxford.

In March 2018 we released a short piece of research entitled ‘taking a design approach to tackling extreme housing need‘ which we then used to form a participatory workshop to co-create the 3-year strategy for our research.

We are currently working with Crisis Skylight in Oxford to deliver a class for their members on the practical skills needed to get involved with community housing projects. We’re also designing an interactive exhibition on housing and homelessness as part of Open House, Oxford’s first ever talking shop on housing and homelessness.