A&DS (Architecture and Design Scotland) has helped to facilitate a Future City Game [FCG] as part of a regeneration initiative for Dunterlie / Barrhead in East Renfrewshire. The event was aimed at encouraging local people to become more involved in their community, as a first step towards developing a local charter for action, as adopted in Neilston. The FCG, developed by the British Council along with partners, invited young people from local schools to generate new thinking and actions to improve the quality of life in their area.
Three teams identified that local challenges tended to be dominated by economic and social factors such as a lack of employment or other youth opportunities; however, environmental and cultural issues (e.g. derelict or underutilised land, and health issues) also need to be addressed.
To counter these issues, the teams developed a series of proposals, which could be grouped under four themes of: A park for everyone; Community self-help; Better use of what we have; A good town needs a good culture. Each team worked up two ideas which were presented to a visiting panel of adults and a further school group. After everybody’s vote was counted, the winning idea was for an under 16’s gym, which the local authority has committed to implement. Voting was close across the ideas; had it been on a grouped basis, the winning team would have been ‘Community self-help / Making use of whatever we have already’.
There is considerable interest in developing this initiative and future short term actions include: exhibiting posters of the proposals, following up the event with local school or classroom actions, and establishing a working group to take forward ideas.
Interesting related aspects of engaging with a school-aged audience included:
- viewing the school as a lead regenerator for the community
- the relevance of the ‘curriculum for excellence’; where the FCG, and awareness of what can be done to help the community, is an educative process
- A fresh take on local problems that challenges entrenched thinking
- The youth take ideas back to a) parents and friends, and b) their school – where ideas may be taken forward by either their class, or the school as a whole
- A ‘slow burn’ introduction for youth to community regeneration of their place, which develops a sense of responsibility and citizenship.