Workshop two - exploring landscape architecture

The second #shapemycity workshop took place on 27 April with a focus on Landscape Architecture. We were joined by lovely, local landscape architect Catherine Haigh, who works for HAB.

Our young city shapers kicked off the session looking at a range of different public spaces and discussing their good and bad elements (we used pictures from the fab Spaceshaper resource for this).

Catherine then gave a short presentation discussing:

  • her work & what it’s like to be a landscape architect
  • her career path since aged 16 
  • her inspiration and influences
  • a typical day in her life as a landscape architect
  • the best and worst bits of her job
  • what advice she would give her 16 year old self

Next Catherine introduced the young people to their landscape design challenge. They looked at contrasting areas of public space around the Bristol harbourside and were asked to work in a team to enhance/improve one of these areas.

Each team had to consider:

  • Bristol as a 'playful city' - how can you provide everyone with opportunities for play within your space?
  • Bristol as a 'healthy city' - how your space makes people happy and healthy? Think about: body, mind and soul, play, food, exercise
  • users: a diverse range of people use the harbourside to live, work and play. Make sure you give consideration to different types of users when designing your public space
  • the existing buildings and landscape features in your space eg. big screen in millennium square, cranes outside Mshed
  • improved connections for walkers and cyclists
  • materials, planting, water, seating, lighting, art.
The #shapemycity designers then discussed their ideas as a team, sketched them out and created some quick 3D models to demonstrate their design concepts. Finally, each team had to present their design ideas to Catherine and the rest of the group, who asked questions and gave constructive feedback.

We asked Catherine to reflect on taking part in the workshop and this is what she said:

It was fascinating to hear participants thoughts on what makes good and bad spaces at the start of the session. The exercise highlighted a diversity of interpretations and values across the group, and particularly interesting for me was a strong concern for health and safety within the group - an important design consideration that we often see translated in a very literal and risk averse way to the detriment of our landscapes and experiences of spaces".

The design of Harbourside spaces around the theme of the ‘playful city’ and the 'healthy city’ resulted in some really imaginative proposals from participants, from a new harbourside greenspace and performance shelter, to the creation of ecological islands within a new water park, and a linear park that responded sensitively to the Harboursides industrial past. The selection of spaces across the groups was varied and the different approaches to design hinted at the incredible opportunities for diverse and exciting landscape spaces within our city’.

All the young people got a copy of the Landscape Institute’s  I want to be a landscape architect careers resource and gained a useful insight into what is a creative and rewarding potential built environment career choice.