Budding young architects help transform their neighbourhoods

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Teenagers present proposals for new youth centre after completing urban design course led by Brookes academics.

A group of teenagers from Blackbird Leys and Cowley presented exciting proposals to improve their neighbourhoods after completing an intensive training course in urban design with academics from Oxford Brookes University.

On Saturday 22 November 2008,  the group presented their concepts for a new Youth Development Centre that could be built on Barns Road in Cowley. The exhibition included 3-D images of the centre and was on display at the Reinvention Centre on Brookes' Gipsy Lane campus.

Almost 40 young people from Cowley, Littlemore and Blackbird Leys have received professional tutoring in regeneration, urban design, planning and architecture.

Professor Georgia Butina-Watson, Head of Planning at Oxford Brookes, said: “I have been hugely impressed with the creativity and energy people have given to this project.

“The proposal for a new youth centre for Cowley is very innovative and in my view has potential to win architecture awards. We want to take this concept to an architect to work it up and then seek further support and funding from various funders.

“Our programme was designed to help equip young people with the knowledge and skills to assess and analyse the places where they live.

“Too often young people’s ideas are dismissed and we wanted to give them the skills to be able to articulate their ideas on how to improve their neighbourhoods.

“As a University we know there is so much untapped potential in this city and by working with local people we can realise this talent to shape the regeneration of our city.”

During the training programme, 40 young people aged between 12 and 16 from Littlemore, Blackbird Leys and Cowley have been trained in model making, urban design and film making.

The training programme included visits to the Angell Town in Lambeth, London and to Amsterdam in Holland which have been used as examples of creative design for generating students’ own solutions.