Whilst communities' everyday environments are increasingly subjugated to the will of professional trends and tools, concern arises as to the potentially damaging impact of the experientially sterile spaces that result (Habraken 1998; Dovey 2010). People with learning disabilities (PWLD) are amongst some of our most excluded communities, for whom environmental change has a heightened impact and who are rarely included in design decision-making (Mathers 2010). As identified by Hall (2010), in order to address the imbalance in professional control we must seek to transform the processes that facilitate current inequality. In the field of landscape architecture, Experiential Landscape (EL) has developed mapping tools and training workshops to aid understanding of individual/collective experiences in environmental planning and design (Thwaites and Simkins 2007). Previous use of these tools has focused upon professional employment; therefore to assess their effectiveness for community use, a knowledge transfer partnership was formed with a local vocational training centre for PWLD. In 2010 a four-month qualitative study was carried out with centre trainees and staff. The EL mapping toolkit was employed to reveal existing and aspirational site experiences, facilitated through use of complementary sensory methods which included visual, auditory and kinesthetic techniques. A number of community benefits arose from this process including empowerment of the involved PWLD and development of their environmental awareness (the fieldwork experience activated the participants to create a self-organised, conservation group to tackle environmental issues of key significance such as littering and site-specific garden development). Academic outputs included the advancement of a jargon-free professional mapping technique and the development of sensory action-generating research. In addition, Sheffield City Council selected this project for their 2011 Sheffield Showcase in order to publicise good practice in community participation.