Birmingham based Design Director Luke Hillson and Planning Associate Alastair Bird hit the classroom last week, joining Year 7 pupils at Westacre Middle School in Droitwich Spa for their careers day.
After briefly introducing the children into the world of town planning and masterplanning, they were given an outline for a fictious development. Two groups were tasked with preparing their own sustainable urban extension to Droitwich Spa, which is already home to agricultural fields, woodland, a lake and existing farmsteads. All the existing features were to be considered when redeveloping the site, in addition to providing an area for housing, employment and ‘something Droitwich Spa does not currently have’. Beyond the brief, the sky was the limit for the aspiring planners.
Luke said “It was great to see their imaginations running wild, with children coming up with ideas such as woodland being transformed into a nature reserve and the lake becoming a new marina or area for water sports. Alongside the creative there was practical thinking too. Connectivity was flagged as a need, with many of the children identifying the importance of linking areas such as housing and their proposed shops and services, albeit via teleportation in some instances!”
After the groups prepared their designs, they then marked on the plans where they would like to live within the development and which of the features they considered to be the most important..
Alastair said “The workshop certainly unearthed some budding planners and designers. Many of the children raised some of the more pressing issues faced by the industry today, with homelessness, later living, the environment and accessibility for all, high on their agendas.”
The duo were very impressed with how all the groups got involved and were passionate about their local area. One student even asked how he could start a town planning apprenticeship, so keep an eye out for Westacre Middle School graduates – they may just be planning or designing an area near you in the near future.
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