Neighbourhood- Personal Project Journal

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A new way to consume

Stella Stewart


Neighbourthood is a semi-speculative project

designing a means of making lower- impact

food consumption a more accessible concept.


Desktop Research


Initially to begin the project, desktop research

was started to help create a baseline of

knowlegde for the topic of low waste/ impact

consumption. It was crucial to understand both

what this concept is, what exists currently and

peoples relationship with the model.


Case Study Cards

I created a set of

case study cards to

colate my findings of

systems, products

and companies that

are currently in place

and supporting an

innovative way of


The cards allowed

me to deep dive in

to the examples that

I only had surface

level knowledge ofhelping

me to

understand what

they consist of and

why they succeed or

not. This research

both helped me to

understand possibility

but also helped me

set goals for what I

wanted my design to


Minor Figures

Initially a coffee

company: Minor

Figures are now

known for their

oat-milk which is

recognised for its

high standard and

industry quality.

They are transparent

about their mission to

be as ecologically

effective as possible.

Now having achieved

a carbon neutral

production system

and creating new

means of minimising

packaging for their


All ingredients, process and material

is from the UK or north Europe

TetraPak Cartons

Food/ Drink Company

Minor Figures are a carbon neutral

company- they donate to

intiatives to balance any emissions

accrued through their

supply chain. Examples of

work:Providing stoves in communites,

Educations, etc...

They also run “free days” which

minor figures fund mutliple

times a month. They pay cafes

to give out free oatmilk coffees

for a full day and the aim of this

is to invite new customers to try

products and familiarise people

with the concept.

As a company they aim to promote

this lifestyle not as one

with dietry aims but more so

environmental but they want this

to be a concious decision on the

users part and it not to feel

forced and unwanted.



To get a better perspective on the food industries functionaility, I contacted a variety of

different people and companies to help further my knowledge about the current status

of sustainable food chains

For insight in to industry I contacted

Minor Figures and spoke to their

Growth and Sustainability manager,

Thibault Geunat, over zoom. This was

an opportunity for me to understand

low impact consumption from the perspective

of a commercial companyone

who is already striving to better

their impact on the environment. While

talking to Thibault, I gained a lot of insight

as to how this industry is currently

functioning and the barriers they are

facing in order to get their ideas in action.

I was able to learn alot about how

to appeal to people and introduce concepts

that may be alien or unwanted.

The contextualised examples offered

by Thibault helped me to see value in

techniques or systems I had already

researched, giving me a more tangible

information point. The conversation

helped to consolidate my research thus

far and get targeted input/ advice.

I contacted Professor Sarah Bridle,

who is originally an astrophysicist but

has now transitioned to food sustainability.

She was able to advise me on her

work she has already done as well as

refering me on to a mutlitude of sources

that focus on this topic. Therefore

getting further insights from her really

added value to my research and helped

to set my aims further. Largely her focus

is on making people aware of the

imapct their food choices have and not

necessarily pushing a specific change

but encourgaing people to undertsand

their actions and thus make appropriote

changes for themselves. Despite

contacting a variety of lowimpact

stores I was unable to ever get

a response from any and covid restrictions

did not permit me to go in and

discuss the topic with them. This is one

area of my research that given the opportunity

I would like to re-explore.


The Supply Chain

The supply chain is is the largest factor

in a products imapct, although I was

aware of this on a surface level I wanted

to investigate this further. Often it is presumed

that the material waste/ outputs

are the most damaging in the process

of food manufacturing however there

are significanlty more elements than

this. This research helped me to thoroughly

explore the subject and unpack

the different layers a journey a product

may have. Focusing on specific products

opened my eyes to the damage beyond

unsustainable packaging.

However, when searching for this information

it was often convoluted/ very

difficult to find which confirms the difficulty

people often have finding information

on their food. The infomation provided

is mostly generic meaning people

can’t find out about their specific products.

This research really consolidated

my aims of aims of bringing information

to people regarding their food.


The Supply Chain

Land Use



Breaking the chain down in to sub-elements let me explore

the requirements for each- the damage that may be

caused if not performed responsibly. While researching

this- I began to consider how these different foods can

be made with less impact. Whether that be through

limited purchasing or raising more awareness to the


I created a set of different food timelines to follow the

different supply chains of popular food. This included

food like bread, cheese and chocolate.




Initial Issues

By creating an initial survey I was able to analyse the results where clear patterns were

emerging from peoples answers that highighted specific areas of tension. This primarily

helped when I began speaking to my direct users in the user research phase.


“ I know that it's best

to buy from independent

shops but

they don't have as

much variety as

supermarkets. I don't

drive so I can't just

go to lots of different

shops easily”

“Yes, much more

available in

wealthier areas ”

“Price, quantity is

usually less in more

sustainable options.

For example bamboo


are like x3 the price

of plastic“


surrounding the

importance of

sustainable food

but also around

where this can be


“Sorta, if I’m honest

when I’m pretty lazy

and looking for most



Expert Input

Consider how

people are

currently being

educated about thisor

if they even are.

Who is interested in

this type of thing?

Who do you want to

be interested? What

are common factors

of these people?

Could specifying a

location help to

focus the idea and

create a case-study


What role is financial

gain/ gentrification

playing in either

facilitaitng or

preventing this to be



Framing the Issue

G11/G12 Area


To help frame my work further I decided to

select postcodes to focus my work upon. I

chose the G11/G12 area as it is diverese in its

inhabitants and content which afforded me

richer inputs.

The intial desktop research was a massive

contributor to my overall understanding of food

sustainability. It both informed me of the

multi-layered system as well as the diffculty you

are faced with when trying to find information

the current systems in place wihtin the food

industry. Speaking to those in industry proved

to be the most valuable as it allowed me to ask

targeted questions but also to get perspectives

from mutliple different viewpoints. Depsite

researching a lot of different avenues in this

stage of the process I was aware that it was

something I was going to continue to throughout

the project due to the nature of the work. The

baseline of knowledge I acrrued in this period

gave me facts that helped to guide me

throughout the project as I became very aware

of the current downfalls of different aspects

which made me keen to avoid or improve them in

my later work.


User Research


After desktop research, I was a lot clearer on

what the industry consists of, the standards and

possible hurdles. With a deeper understanding

I knew it was important to get user input and be

able to clearly understand my stakeholders and

their values.


Cultural Probe

To initially get an understanding of my users

I created a cultural probe which allowed me

to gather insights from the users persepctive.

Questions were constructed from both the

initial survey results and the desktop

research I carried out- which made them

more informed.

I left these questions relatively open ended

as to allow the user to answer through

initiative with the hope that it would give me

richer insights. From this I was able to gather

a lot of opinions regarding their daily routine

which we went on to discuss in the follow

up interviews to gain further insights. Doing

both the probe and interview helped to target

issues and deep dive into each users daily

routine, decision making and justification. An

interesting part was seeing the different lists

and shops the users selected and to see the

different priorities they have, the trends within

their shop.


Intial concerns

“I would definitely buy more from independent and lowwaste

shops such as Locavore etc, I’ve been before but

for a retail assistant/student it’s not really economically

viable to be buying from regularly”

“Mostly not, but occasionally use screenshots

of recipe for requirements”

“Quality and taste of product is really

important,I’d rather have less of something

really good than an abundance of average!”

“I am gluten intolerant but love food and

sometimes I struggle to know where to go and

what to buy that isn’t gonna be a massive diversion”



From both the probes and interviews I used the information to create

‘residents’ based off of their values and lifestyle. From this I created

sets of matrices to visually depict these different factors.










Resident Tribes

Invested Residents: those

who are heavily interested in

community engagment and

being ecological.

Optimistic Residents: those

who are aware of their

actions but are limited with

resources to fulfil their


Casual Residents: those who

if given the opportunity to

partake in a system would

do it but have little to no

prior interest or



User Journeys (current)

Aswell as mapping values, I created user journeys based off of the conversations with my users,

this helped me to understand a bit more about the breakdown of their trips to the shop. This helped

to make different factors clear- especially for pinpointing similarities.

• Those who walked

went multiple times a

week for smaller trips

• All users tend to

frequent large chain

supermarkets for its

good range

• If they were driving

they would base their

choice of store off of

stock quality

• Most would take their

own bags for ease of

carrying home and



Wants and Needs

Locality and availability

is crucial to entice

people to use.

More localitly- for both

product sourcing and

stores themselves.

Something which is

convinient to use and


Users want more

information and transparency

about food.


By working with my primary

stakeholders at this stage

highlighted the current gaps in many

peoples lifestyles but also their

awareness of low-impact living. The

way in which I chose to interact with

them also made their input even more

valuable as it was thorough and

detailed. The only improvement that

would have added to the process

would have been to either shadow

them or join them on a walk-through

shopping trip but due to Covid this

wasn’t possible. This was also only the

initial conversations with my users as

their input was recurring throughout

the development.

Initial Designing


User Engagement

Local High Street

Delivery Service

Working closely with my users, we discussed the

pros and cons of these three systematic options,

disecting what each would mean for their daily routine.

It was interesting to see the varied responses

of each user dependent on their lifestyle and in

comaprison to how they currently shop. Some interesting

insights were made such as one user saying:

“Going to a big chain superstore makes me spend

more unecessarily and I think if it was a local high

street I’d waste less and price offers wouldn’t be as


Remodelled Supermarket


Modes of Shopping

To help evaluate a users

journey through the different

modes of shopping I

created landscapes which

covered a variety of

elements. I considered

things like personal

economic impact, difficulty,

adaptability, etc.

This was a very useful for

me to visually map out the

postive and negative

attributes of each.

Breaking it down in to

stages and categories

allowed me to compare

with ease and really

understand each one

individually as well as

comparisons together.


Future of the Local Highstreet


Expert Input- Two

Going in to the first input day, I was keen to present my findings and discuss the intial input I had got

from the survey.

People often care

more about things

when they have a

connection to itwhat

could this be?

What would be an

ideal target for this

sort of idea?

What role will

producers and

shop owners have?

How could this

exist on different

planes or levels?

Consider how the

highstreet can become

a social hub

rather than just a


Due to the varying focuses of the experts I

spoke with, it opened up new avenues for both

my research and potential design. At this stage

persepectives helped to contextualise my research

further as well creating new aims for my

project. This opportunity was extremely valuable

to my process as it did not answer questions but

actually created more which went on to deepen

my points of consideration.


Reconsidered timeline



Despite being the inital design phase, I

utilised this time to design the

ecosystem this future would exist in.

Hosting workshops and conversations

really helped to further my decision

making for these different aspects.

Finally making the decision of a local

highstreet model due to its ability to

create a more circular economy and a

more convinient experience. Considering

the rejuvenation of a weekly shop

and the way we shop also helped me

envisage the type of information people

would want to know.





How can links be

created between

our food and its



Storage vs Information

Reduced packaging means for a lot of food that the information

on how to handle it would be gone, so I began to look at new

means of keeping track of our food and how to best treat it.

Thinking about systems within the home that can store and share

information on the foods you purchase.




Material & Form

Material is often the most

considered aspect of the supply

chain when making ecologocial

decisions and hasn’t been a main

priorty for my work. However I

began to look at the use of

materials that may still be part of

consumption that could be

used- in this case Tetra Pak.

Depsite scoring the material in

multiple directions which did

give it more bend, the exterior

creased significantly when

formed in to shapes. This was

something that I has anticipated

would be avoided if scored

prior to bending. It also proved

difficult to join ends with any

sort of surface bond: meaning

a more intertwinned method

may benefit joining.


Material Exploration


Material Exploration

“ Because it is a food product would it go off/

rotten, it might cause cross contamination... “

“ Would I make this myself? If I did how many

bananas would I need to keep before it/ how

would I keep them until I need them? ”

As the banana skin was blended

with only water, it was unclear

whether or not it would be

successful in binding . However

as it had been throughly blended

the fibres merged well together

to create a very dense mesh. I

dried it out in the oven then

continued the process in the

direct sunlight.

In the first few days it

retained some moisture and

flexibility but once it dried more it

became very brittle . In order to

be utilised as a material it would

likely have to include something

to retain moisture while sealing

it. Alongside this, the user

feedback implied that people

were concerned by its ability to

last/ be safe for food storage.


Material Exploration

As another means of utilisng daily food scraps I considered

how the structure and configration of the same material

would vary the output. I decided to weave with banana

skin to mimic a netted material.

When I had shown this concept to user they had similar

concerns about the pulp and they did not see this as a storage

solution but rather more of a transportation means for

shop to home.

Similarly to the pulp, once this began to dry out it became

very fragile and brittle eventually resembling dried out seaweed-

lacking all malebility it once had.


Material Exploration

I tested out some further materials like mango skin

and gelatine to see how they gave different characteristics

once in a more final state. Both the gelatine

and mango proving more strucutrally effective

but with issues of tackiness and hygiene upkeep.


Material Exploration

Continuing with the tetra pak as a material, I tried

joining it by stitching pieces together. This was a

lengthy task as it had to be done by hand to achieve

enough pressure to penetrate the layers. Although

it was sturdy it would be a hard way to construct a

mass of objects due to the time scale.

I also worked with wire to consider how it could be

utilised to create hinge-like functions that could allow

a form to be flat and then built up in to a

structure. This lacked strength and would only have

worked for soild materials due to the gaps in the

panels that come with such a mechanism.


Material Exploration

I was keen to continue exploring

the tetra pak due to its prominence

in the food industry so I

approached it with different form

and attacthment techniques to

see how they worked. I tried layering,

weaving and perforating

in different ways to see how it

would change the structure

integrity and mallebility. These

tests showed me how hard it may

be to incorporate tetrak pack in

to a material form.


Material Exploration

Using the technique of

scoring and bending the

tetra pak, I created a design

which would primairly

focus on the ability to be a

collapsible structure. This

was in response to the

consideration of the space

that would taken up by the

product when not in use.

Similar to the issue of

bonding pieces of the tetra

pak together, its coating

meant it had good

resilliance so when it was

‘collapsed’ it would spring

back easily. Again the

panelled nature meant that

there were gaps in the side

proving to not be a

necesarilly effective

structure. This model

made me question the

viability of tetra pak to be

utilised in its solid state.


User workshop

To build on my previous

prototypes and ideas, I created

a workshop for my users to get

a further understanding on their

wants/ needs. This gave me a

concentrated feedback session

on ideas that I had already created

as well as drawing from them

to combine functions of

different and new ones.

In this session I was keen to have

a varied age respresentation to

be able to create a sliding scale

of ideas. This meant that there

was a variation in complexity but

also some more outlandish ideas.

There was a definite concensus

that users wanted something

easy that can collect, transport

and store thier produce instead

of multiple different stages.



“ I would be worried that bigger sizes would become

bulky in this shape”

When given to my users to test in situ, they said for many things

like fruit, you had to be forceful to get it to fit but were concerned

if it was scaled up that it would have to be very big and

impractical. They valued its function more than its aesthetically

led form.



Responding to the last set of models and feedback, I focused

more on how these potential storage solutions would fit

amongst one another but also how they would be transported/

stored to bring more ease to users when handling them.




Neighbourhood is about storing and understanding our food so to do this I decided to

create a functional storage system supported by an interface which links the community

together by sharing details of the local highstreet, recipes and forums.

Storyboarding the interaction

The Highstreet




In store interactions


Storyboarding the interaction

Highstreet to the home


Bringing Produce Home


Interface planning

I wanted the interface to act as the main source of information

regarding purchases but also a place where the community can

come together to share tips and recommendations for their own

community but also ones outwith their own. I wanted to be specific

with the different pages that would be available to users.



I wanted to ensure that the

biggest emphasis was on the

ability to get transparency on

your individual items. But I also

wanted people to have access

to a pool of recipes that would

allow them to create their own

meals easily and enjoyable. I

didn’t want this to be text heavy

so that as many people could

use them as possible such as

kids through to grandparents.


1.Mix the flour and water in

a bowl to create a dough

then split evenly.

2. Flatten the balls of dough

in to small tortillas.

3. Cut the chicken in to small

bitesize pieces and cook with

the taco mix until cooked


4. Shred the lettuce and cut

the tomatos in to thin slices.

The grate some cheese for on


5. Plate up and serve with any

sides you wish. Often best

with a cold beer and lime.


•250g Flour

•2 Cups Water

•1 Lettuce

• 4 Chicken


•7 Tomatos


•200g Chilli

•Taco Mix

•2 Avocados



Final Material

To continue my material exploration, I created a pulp from

cardboard, tetra pak and water. This blended together to

make a smooth paste which was then dried and formed. This

was a way to use surplus material that may not be removed

fully from the supply chain.


Outcome (first)


To add depth to the concept, I decided to create a start-up guide to initially introduce new

users to the system and to help them set-up their journey. This will involve some concepts

simialr to the interface but be more based on the supply chain, setting up your storage

and introduction to recipes.


To reinforce the concept and have a fuller ‘system’ i decided to create a startup guide which

would introduce new-comers to the lifestyle. The aim with this was to introduce the ideas and

layout of neighbourhood in a manual like way. With my intial draft, users fed back that there was

not enough context/ information regarding how to situate yourself within the system- to enusre

this was clear I added elements like storyboards and visual depictions of different step as well as

direct links to the other elements within the system.



To portray my concept I

wanted to include the

three different elements

of my system and show a

user using the them. I kept

the fresh produce at the

foreont to show its

importance in this

speculative scenario.

I used the film to show

when, where and how

they might be used in your

day to day life.


System Layout

Due to the different elements of my system, I wanted to create

a system layout plan that can convey the structure to viewers

and the way in which it functions locally and city wide.


Capturing the product

As well as the film, I wanted to capture the products together in pictures

that convey the concept quickly and concisely.




The first stage of the project

being desktop research really

taught me a lot about food consumption

both in an industrial

and domestic level. It opened

my eyes to how vast a topic it is

and the different ways it can be

externally imapcted. It was important

for me to organise this

part rationally and things such

as the case study cards allowed

me to do this. Speaking to the

people within industry also really

opened my eyes to the difficulty

surrounding sustainability being

actioned- especially things like

pricing and availability.

User engagement

From the outset, a big aim for this

project was to have user participation

as a main aspect of the

process- this was made harder

and slightly more disjointed due

to covid restrictions. Doing it on

a 1-1 level did however give people

more freedom to speak their

mind and discuss lifestyle based

questions. All my users were

extremely helpful in this process

as they wanted to be involved at

many different stages in my project

so their eagerness made it a

lot easier.


Primarily I feel my development

of the concepts were very driven

by my users inputs- specifically

their wants and needs for a such

a system. Materiality was a big

aspect I wanted to focus on as it

is something that would facilitate

a positive physical existence. I

am happy I was able to use surplus

material as the my main

source for my storage box. I also

managed to create all developement

prototypes using only disgarded

materials from recylcing

and general/ food waste as I

wanted my protoypes to reflect

the aims of the outcome. This

project allowed me to build on

my digital communication skills

through illustration. With so many

parts being conversations and

written documents it was crucial

for me to be able to

translate this in to a visual

means. As I am still improving I

have a definite want to build on

aspects such as the interface

and book to create an extremely

professional and coherent visual

language for Neighbourhood.


Nieghbourhood has allowed me

to create a system which can

be intercepted by users at many

dfferent stages dependent on

their wants or needs in itself affording

accesibility. It is an opportunity

to give people the tools

they needs to have a smaller ecological

impact and understand

their food more.

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