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think place was set up to explore urbanism at a profound level through a productive interaction between disciplines, between theory and practice, between practice and academia. Our expertise is built through a combination of experience and study; our enquiry is open-minded and objective.

Separating perception and reality in a creative field takes some effort and this can be helped by creating the space for primary research one step removed from practice.

Place Research Lab (PRL) was set up through a collaboration between think place and the University of East London as an independent Community Interest Company (CIC) to research a shared field of interest.

Place Research Lab CIC's constitution restricts its applied research activities to improving sustainability in the design and use of places, for public benefit. No profits are made on our work and any surplus income generated is reinvested to further these objectives.

Case Study: An Open Framework for Neighbourhood Design

Place Research Lab designed and tested a new prototype to facilitate Neighbourhood Planning.  It is both a method and a tool that allows residents to capture the particularities of their neighbourhood in the form of a profile.  This profile can then be used as a brief for a plan.  It can also be used to assess any plan that is proposed, so residents can understand whether it will improve their area. 

So, it is more powerful than a plan because plans tend to be fixed ideas of what the future should look like, whereas this profile can continue to be updated and used to make sure that development is something that works to enhance an area, not undermine it.  The profile is based on an internationally-recognised sustainable urban design standard (called LEED ND) and it can be expressed in this standard so that developers and planners have clear, unambiguous requirements about what an area needs.