Redeveloping the Strand shopping centre – academy saturday session with avison young

In April, our PLACED Academy young people joined us for a workshop with GOLD Sponsor Avison Young alongside Sefton Council to explore public realm opportunities in the new vision for Bootle’s Strand Shopping Centre.

The workshop was kicked-off with a project briefing and tour of the complex from Principle & Managing Director of Avison Young, Stephen Cowperthwaite. The tour included exploring the 3 sites earmarked for opportunity.

We challenged the young people to design new public spaces for one of the three sites, with a particular focus on attracting local young people their age. The participants took on a competitive creative challenge in teams, which encouraged them to apply critical thinking and manage a fixed budget in the form of printed money, which they were to use to purchase built elements from a hypothetical shop. The budget was intentionally low, encouraging the participants to consider what they felt was most important for their designs. Mini tasks were revealed throughout the session, such as one which asked the teams to consider an approach to enable local young people to feel a sense of pride and ownership over these new spaces. Once we’d finished hypothetically shopping, we looked at other schemes in the UK which have successfully encouraged young people to take ownership over public realm and built spaces.

The teams presented their ideas and designs to the client and their fellow cohort. Ideas included: a food court, with dedicated space to enable local youth groups to create permanent artworks; a food market; an indoor park offering safe spaces for young people; and a canal-side event space that included the creation of jobs for local young people.

We really enjoyed seeing the young people’s schemes develop as the day unfolded and were impressed with how well they budgeted to create some amazing youth-led spaces with connection and local pride in mind! A huge thank you to Avison Young, Sefton Council and PLACED Ambassadors Jay Orritt and Thomas Tzortzi.