BirkenEd’s Place – w/c 30th January

7th February 2023

The week in BirkenEd’s Place we have continued with our second phase of engagement for the Birkenhead Waterfront and Surrounds project. This is a project that aims to deliver highway and public realm improvements to the waterfront and its surrounding areas of Woodside, Hamilton Square Station Plaza, and Argyle Street.

We held our second primary school workshop in the space on Thursday 2nd February. We were delighted to be joined by pupils and staff from Woodlands Primary School. Like our last primary workshop, we were exploring what things young people like and don’t like about streets and public spaces in Birkenhead and what they would like to see in these spaces in the future. The workshop started with a discussion about streets and public spaces – what they are and how they can be designed. Rhianna Weston of PLACED who has studied architecture and town planning and Jared Harvey of Mott Macdonald supported the workshop and were able to support these discussions and give the pupils further context on the role of a built environment professional. After our class discussion, we moved onto an activity where the pupils were asked to draw a journey they normally take (i.e., walking from home to school) and illustrate the worst and best parts. The pupils produced some fantastic drawings that clearly highlighted what they currently like and dislike about streets and public spaces in Birkenhead. The pupils then got to demonstrate their creative talents for the main part of the workshop, producing models of streets and public spaces that they would like to see in the future. Pupils were asked to imagine they were real life architects and come up with their own architect practice names! They could design any street or public space in Birkenhead they liked, but were asked if they could focus on the waterfront and nearby areas as this is the live Birkenhead 2040 framework project we have on display in BirkenEd’s Place currently. Indeed, in BirkenEd’s Place we are doing our creative educational work with young people in the context of the live projects on display in the space, so Woodlands Primary pupils had the exciting opportunity to suggest ideas and create designs that they might just see come to life in the future! Thank you to the pupils of Woodlands for their outstanding behaviour, effort, and creative talents and to the staff of Woodlands who supported the workshop.

From primary pupils to university students – BirkenEd’s Place is fast becoming a space for young people in Merseyside to share their hopes and visions for the future. Following our primary school workshop, on the following Monday, we were delighted to be visited by planning and architecture students from the University of Liverpool.

Following the enormous success of our Dock Branch tours last year, we hosted a further two this week. The walks were led by Cathy Palmer of Wirral Council and were a great success again – very well attended and enjoyed by all. These walks precede the exciting return of Dock Branch to BirkenEd’s Place for its second phase of engagement within the next week. At this second stage, we’ll be sharing what we’ve heard so far, what has shaped the scheme to date, and presenting ideas that are developing.

Big thanks go to all our volunteers and support in the shop this week – Ben Morrison, Cathy Palmer, Jared Harvey, Lesley West, and Shahin Rahman.

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