Students from Brompton Primary School have lent their voice to the design of the public realm within the Bowden Heritage Precinct, ensuring that the views of local children are heard alongside that of the adult community.
As part of the community engagement run by Renewal SA on the look and feel of the public open space in and around the historic structures at the state heritage-listed site—including the 21-metre gasworks chimney, 1879 Retort House and Chief Street Wall—students from year six and year seven from the school were invited to have their say via a tour of Bowden and two hands-on workshops.
Primary school teacher Amy Grant said that the experience really helped the students consider the role of placemaking in the community and reflect on what was important to them as residents.
“Watching the children discover the power of their own voice and make connections with their own neighbourhood was a really important part of the engagement process and one that helped our students to grow as citizens.
“Being able to openly discuss the design possibilities at the Bowden Heritage Precinct tied in beautifully with our geography curriculum, which has a focus on liveability, and allowed us to bring this curriculum to life in a real-world setting,” said Amy.
The workshops adopted a world cafe-style approach to help determine “what makes a great public space” in the hearts and minds of young people.
Students gathered at tables and were given the opportunity to first review and vote on the design themes identified as being most important by the wider community. They then discussed the rationale behind their choices and helped expand the scope of the design themes by contributing their own thoughts and ideas.
Sustainability, accessibility, flora, food and safety were considered to be the most important design priorities by the majority of children.
The process was deliberately fluid and democratic, which also supported the school’s syllabus in civics and citizenship.
“We have four key values at Brompton Primary School – respect, relationships, rigour and responsibility.
“The engagement workshops aligned well with these values by fostering respectful discussion and relationship-building and encouraging students to consider the ongoing care and maintenance of the design features they came up with.”
For the children, the highlights of being involved in the engagement process included a walking tour of Bowden—taking in the Information and Sales Centre, Plant 4, Bowden Town Park and Plant 19—and watching the drone footage of the environmental investigations taking place at the Bowden Heritage Precinct.
Feedback from the students—as well as that from the broader community through both online engagement and a public drop-in session—now completes Stage 1 of the overall community engagement on the public realm design for the precinct. Urban design firm ASPECT Studios has used this feedback to develop design principles that will guide the final look and function of the public realm at this historic site.
“We are delighted that members of our youngest generation, who are the future users of this historic space, have had a chance to have their say and contribute to the development of this important, cultural area,” said Shane Wingard, Renewal SA Project Director at Bowden.
“We are looking forward to subsequent conversations with the community over the course of 2020 and 2021 about design concepts for the Bowden Heritage Precinct, which will be considered within the context of Bowden’s rich industrial heritage.”
The community is invited to read the design principles devised by ASPECT for the public open space at the Bowden Heritage Precinct and the engagement reports that helped informed them: Stage 1 Engagement Report (Community) and Stage 1 Engagement Report (Brompton Primary School).
Information about how to get involved in Stage 2 and Stage 3 of the engagement process will be made available on the Renewal SA website in due course.
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