Bristol students help shape development in Westbury Park

Students looking at models with Socius and FORE. Credit: Paul Blakemore.

Students from an award-winning talent accelerator programme for 15 to 18 year olds are working with developers, architects and engineers to learn about future careers in the built environment, and provide insights to influence future development.

The students, mainly from underrepresented groups, meet monthly to consider a range of topics with a professional partner, as part of Shape My City – an award-winning talent accelerator programme led by Design West. Last month they worked with development manager Socius and investor FORE Partnership to examine how design can contribute to creating inclusive spaces and provide the ingredients needed to bring people of all ages together, creating a sense of community.

Olaide Oboh, Director of Socius, part of the team behind the proposals for St Christopher’s Square, Bristol said: “Inclusive spaces don’t happen by magic. We much consciously consider how people use spaces and cater to their needs according to their age, life stage and background.”

Ideas from the students include providing comfortable seating, outdoor gyms, independent cafes, and restaurants from varied cultures, as well as accessible walking paths.

Students were also encouraged to consider what amenities could support residents of the proposed integrated retirement community at St Christopher’s Square and importantly, to encourage local people from neighbouring roads to visit and spend time there.

Anna Rutherford, Director at Design West said: “Diversity in design means a diversity of experience, perspective & creativity. Shape My City seeks to change the future workforce across the built environment by giving talented young people opportunities they might not otherwise have. The students enjoyed the workshop greatly and were thoroughly engaged with the opportunities and constraints of the proposals.”

Aurélien Collignon, Partner at FORE Investment, said: “The Shape my City initiative is a great opportunity to get young people excited about the built environment. The teenagers had a thorough understanding of the challenges of urban design in Bristol and provided valuable input into how we can work together to find solutions to these challenges. We look forward to continuing to support the Shape My City initiative and contributing to improving the diversity of ideas and thoughts”.