Spaceshaper in Schools (9-14 years old)
In the context of engaging with Children and Young people in the lead up to the Child and Youth Friendly Cities Forum, 5000+ and the forum project partners engaged with the 4/5 class at Sturt Street Community School, and the 6/7 class at Gilles Street Primary School using a tool called ‘Spaceshaper’ a community engagement tool developed by CABE in the UK.
Using the framework of the Spaceshaper tool, the Sturt Street class analysed first their school environment, then the Adelaide Festival Centre and then Werrinendee in the Western Parklands. Sam Nairn, an Architect from Woodhead joined the class to discuss the impact of their recent Building the Education Revolution (BER) funded gym building for which he had been responsible.
The 6/7 class at Gilles Street School analysed their school grounds and new BER library, and David Holland from DASH Architects joined that discussion as the architect responsible for it. Using the themes of the Spaceshaper tool, the Gilles Street class also analysed the State Library and the park in the North West corner of Hindmarsh Square, which the class called ‘emo’ park. A video of the ‘Spaceshaper in Schools’ work which was carried out with Sturt St & Gilles St can be viewed below.
The purpose of this work was to engage the children and develop their capacity to:
- 1. Think about the components that make up a place
- 2. Think about the different people who use the place and their needs
- 3. Learn about the process & people who are involved in decision making about the place
- 4. Think about how young people can have a say about the place
In the process of the ‘Spaceshaper in schools’ workshops we began to build the capacity of these young students to speak about the design of their environment– so that they are confident when consulted with by adults who seek their views on whether proposals are child and youth friendly. Six students from Sturt Street Community School and six from Gilles Street Primary School were invited to the Child and Youth Friendly City (CYFC) forum as an expert panel of young people, and participated in an ‘in conversation’ session led by Department for Education and Child Development, Chief Executive Keith Bartley.
Spaceshaper as a tool
IDCSA have been in discussion about the use of the Spaceshaper tool in South Australia because, in addition to its importance as a community engagement tool, it is also of interest because it has a Spaceshaper 9-14 version of the tool, which runs parallel to the adult tool. The Spaceshaper 9-14 specifically engages with 9-14 years olds (who are often overlooked in community engagement) in improving their local parks, streets, playgrounds and other spaces. The Spaceshaper tool covers eight themes:
- 1. access: finding your way and getting about
- 2. use: what activities and opportunities the space has to offer
- 3. other people: how the space caters for different needs
- 4. maintenance: how clean and cared for the space is
- 5. environment: how safe and comfortable the space is
- 6. design and appearance: what the space looks like and what materials it uses
- 7. community: how important the space is to local people
- 8. you: how the space makes you feel.
March 22nd Gibson St Reserve, Bowden
Also as part of the Child and Youth Friendly cities Forum, two Spaceshaper workshops focusing on Gibson Street Reserve in Bowden were held on Thursday 22 March. These workshops were a demonstration of ‘Spaceshaper’ in application to Gibson Street Reserve, which the City of Charles Sturt have committed to upgrade. The Gibson Street Reserve is also on the perimeter of the Bowden development and will thus be critical public space to integrate the edge of the new development within its existing neighbourhood context.
On the morning of 22 March, a 4 hour workshop with Brompton Primary School 6/7 class sought feedback from 9-14 years olds regarding the Reserve and how they rated its performance for their needs. In the evening of the same day, a 4 hour workshop was held with a group of local residents, design professionals, and observers interested to see the demonstration of the tool. The Gibson Street Reserve workshops were filmed and a video of that work is below.