On Saturday 17th September, we held our first monthly Saturday workshop with the PLACED Academy 2022 cohort, one of eight design workshops that will take place during the programme. The session was funded by Wirral Council, one of our Gold Sponsors, who wanted to ask for the groups’ feedback into plans for Dock Branch Park, Birkenhead.
We invited participants to reflect upon the idea of ‘place identity’ and ‘high-density urban living’ in light of the ongoing Birkenhead 2040 Regeneration Framework. Responding to the Dock Branch masterplan site, our young people produced mind maps, collages and ideas for co-housing for multiple demographic groups through mixed-media models, taking inspiration from exemplar international housing schemes, the site itself after attending a site visit, and an overview of the regeneration project by Cathy Palmer from Wirral Council.
Each of our six groups of participants considered the living requirements of families, professionals, young adults or older people, as well as pets. Their ideas included communal housing complexes for couples to live in alongside older people, a contemporary imagining of traditional red brick terraces incorporating sustainability measures such as ground source heat pumps and solar panels, and a housing block split vertically in line with the accessibility requirements of each demographic group.
One group took inspiration from New York brownstones (complimenting the local sandstone of Birkenhead’s Hamilton Square townhouses), and another proposing a sculptural apartment block that would act as a new landmark for Birkenhead, like the brick-clad ventilation towers for the Queensway Tunnel participants observed on-site. Others proposed reusing existing transit infrastructure by reinstating the historic railway lines and arches that run through Dock Branch. Many groups suggested communal spaces, including indoor and outdoor planted areas, parks, play areas for children, and shared balconies, providing opportunities for chance social interactions between residents.
We were thrilled with the work the group produced in just a few short hours, and very grateful to Wirral Council, and in particular Cathy Palmer, for making the session possible.
“We are interested in understanding the ways in which we plan for and respond to social, economic and environmental change in the built environment. This is why we are excited to support the PLACED Academy, which will equip young people with the knowledge and skills to make a difference to the planning and management of our cities.“
The Department of Geography and Planning is based in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Liverpool. We are concerned with the different ways in which we respond to and manage aspects of environmental, economic and social change in the built environment. The world’s first planning school was established at the University of Liverpool and, today, we are a leading global centre of excellence in professional planning education and research. We seek to understand, explain and address the planning challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century through the delivery of high quality degree programmes and world-leading research.
The University of Liverpool School of Management is a world class teaching facility. As a base for the Academy Summer School, it was able to give students access and insight into the facilities and opportunities that the university offers.
As a Council, our vision is to secure the best possible future for our residents. Our priorities are developed based on what our residents have told us they want and need. In response we’re working to:
Build a prosperous and inclusive economy for residents and businesses
Create a sustainable environment and lead the way on tackling climate change
Provide safe and pleasant communities
Support residents to lead active and healthy lives
Provide brighter futures for our children, young people and their families.
Wirral Council as Outreach Partner
As Academy Outreach Partner, Wirral Council have supported PLACED’s commitment to reaching young people from under-represented groups by enabling us to deliver eight hands-on creative workshops in schools and youth organisations in Birkenhead.
These workshops offered a taster of the Academy programme and introduced young people to careers in the built environment. The outreach workshops engaged over 100 young people on the development of an early vision for public realm at the Waterfront and gave them an opportunity to directly influence the future of their local area.