Students’ local insights building a brighter future

17 Jan 2019

UQ student meeting with communityCommunity is key when it comes to successful urban design and University of Queensland students saw firsthand how local input can shape project direction.

Urban Design Studio students from UQ’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences attended a community co-design workshop with local residents from the outer south-west suburb of Ellen Grove.

Landscape architect John Mongard led students through the collaborative process, prompting them to establish how community members of Ellen Grove currently use, and how they would like to use, public spaces.

“My definition of place-making is a distinction between really making spaces, as opposed to places,” said Mr Mongard.

“It involves how people inhabit a place – we need to consider that as part of the design and planning process.”

UQ Urban Design Studio student Tara Nunn said the co-design workshop allowed community members to voice their valuable thoughts and opinions about the built environment.

Suggestions covered a range of topics, including improving retail services, incorporating more seating and trees in public areas, and extended green spaces.

“The needs of the people within Ellen Grove, and any other suburb, are unique to that neighbourhood,” said Ms Nunn.

“This experience highlighted the importance of community engagement and the impact urban designers can have on a community.”

While the co-design workshop focussed largely on local development, attendees also discussed broader region infrastructure where they would like to see improvement, such as the Centenary Highway underpass, public transit services to cater the area and accessibility.

“We received high involvement from Ellen Grove residents and were shown the importance of local engagement in the process or urban design.”

Together, UQ students are working to become the placemakers of tomorrow, helping build happy, healthy and connected communities.