RESOURCES | SHAPE EAST EVENTS
School Workshop: Place Making
November 6th 2003,
On November 6 2003, alongside their Heads of Geography and Art & design, twenty-three Year 9 students collaborated with six members of Cambridge City Council’s Environment & Planning department during a day-long Place Making workshop at Netherhall School & Sixth Form College, Cambridge.
“Place Making” is a hands-on cross-curricular workshop for secondary Geography and Art & Design teachers and their students looking at the ways in which small social and environmental settlements evolve into towns and cities.
Sponsored by the Cambridgeshire Education Business Link Organisation (CEBLO), Shape East invited the originators of Place Making - Built Environment education consultant Catherine Williamson and architect Ben Bolgar, Head of Design at The Prince’s Foundation - to devise a special workshop introducing young people to some of the key issues in town planning.
“Between them, Catherine and Ben have devised both an incredibly creative and accessible ‘Young Person’s Guide to Town Planning’ and a valuable curriculum resource for secondary teaching staff,” explains Ben Koralek. “The need for learning activities like ‘Place Making’ has never been greater,” Koralek continues. “If we are to address the long-term need for a deeper understanding of the processes which shape the built environment on the one hand, and the urban design skills shortage on the other, we need to find ways for planning officers and local people (of all ages) to interact. Place Making is a wonderful example of one way in which it is possible to do just that.”
“The Place Making workshop format exceeded my expectations, from the first time I read about Place Making, I new it was exactly the kind of activity shape should be making available to secondary schools in Cambridge area.”
The range of issues covered within the workshop was spectacular. The first making task of the day: to construct a simple shelter designed in response to a specific environment (in scale model form), really caught the Netherhall students’ imagination and produced a veritable explosion of creativity and inventiveness that would put even the most original of architects to shame !
Having built, covered and decorated their individual buildings and structures, the workshop participants were faced with the challenge of planning a small hamlet or village made up of 4 or 5 buildings only, to include spatial provision for pedestrian pathways, public spaces and landscaping.
With its focus on the siting, orientation and function of buildings and the spaces between buildings in an urban social environment, Place Making enhances and extends the secondary Geography curriculum, making often quite inaccessible topics come to life.