Love Where You Live

A group of people walking down a colourfully decorated alleyway.
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Love Where You Live

We probably all want to live in a place that makes us feel happy and proud. Many of us think the outside of our homes are just as important as the inside, yet urban fly-tipping continues to be a problem, blighting where we live.

We worked with local communities in Oldham, Doncaster, Leeds and Fleetwood to understand the causes of fly-tipping and collectively come up ways to transform unloved shared spaces.

Discover more!

Fly-tipping: a rubbish issue

Fly-tipping is not only an eye-sore, but costs local authorities a massive £392 million per year to clean up and fly-tipping incidents increased in 2022 (DEFRA.) Many items that are chucked onto the street could be fixed or reused to have a new lease of life, or properly disposed of to capture valuable parts and safely recycle the rest.

Fly-tipping can also reinforce negative perceptions of an area, reducing people’s enjoyment of places that they live (Zero Waste Scotland). This is backed up by the ‘broken windows theory’ which states that visible signs of anti-social behaviour, such as fly-tipping or crime in an area, can itself encourage even more of that behaviour.

What we uncovered

Through talking to communities in Oldham, Doncaster, Fleetwood, and Leeds we uncovered some common themes:

  1. Unloved spaces

    Alleyways or fly-tipped spaces are often seen as somebody else’s responsibility; a place the community lacked ownership of.

  2. Community tensions can be high

    Residents often blame others for fly-tipping and mess in alleyways, leading to tension between neighbours and some perceiving the area as going ‘downhill’.

  3. It’s important to foster trust

    There was often a group of residents who wanted to see change, but it needed time to build trust and rapport to understand local issues and garner support for change.

What did Love Where You Live involve?

We worked with residents to help transform unloved spaces into bright and friendly (and loved!) communal spaces. We jointly held ‘community clear up days’ and workshops to reimagine alleyways where residents shared what they liked and disliked about their area and what they wanted to see more of.

By meeting regularly with the residents, we were able to utilise the unique skills that they had and work together to create a space for the community, designed and built by the community. In Oldham, for example, a local builder helped to run sessions in wall pointing and shared his tools with his neighbours.

Each alleyway was different:

  • Some were transformed into growing havens with planters made from upcycled materials
  • Others created a safe place for children to play
  • Some built and painted benches so that neighbours had a space to sit and chat.

What difference did we make? 

By the end of our time in Oldham and Doncaster, six successful alleyway transformations were achieved. Residents of the streets in Oldham reported a 100% decrease in fly-tipping.

However, the most heart-warming finding was that although #LoveWhereYouLive started off as a fly-tipping campaign, the impact of these projects can ripple much further – affecting community connections, cohesion and even safety:

  • ‘I feel really proud that we have transformed an environment that brought us continued frustration and despair into one that brings us joy and hope.’ (Doncaster)
  • ‘I’ve never seen half of my neighbours or at least not ever spoken to them, so it’s kinda nice to see people out together. It makes me feel a bit safer because I recognise people.' (Leeds)
  • ‘It’s safer for the kids in the alley than it is on the street now. Now they’ve got their own little playground.’ (Doncaster) 

This formed the start of Hubbub’s work with communities highlighting the importance of listening to a community’s needs and supporting them to lead change.

Want to transform your alley?

  • Check out our how-to-guide for some tips, advice and DIY instructions to get started.
  • Get free resources! To support the guide, we've put together a pack of designed resources including flyers, invitations and signs, to help you get your project off the ground. To request a pack please get in touch.
  • Seen fly tipping? It’s important that any fly tipping is reported to the local council to ensure it’s taken care of. Our campaign showed that areas that look well-cared for may be less likely to be fly-tipped or littered.

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