Newswise — The annual design and research ‘live’ project saw 91 undergraduate and postgraduate students from the School of Natural and Built Environment at Queen’s work on briefs set by local community groups to develop new approaches to the built environment, and to imagine novel ways to support community aspirations to shape the place where they live and work.
Initiated in 2010 by Professor Ruth Morrow, from the School of Natural and Built Environment at Queen’s, it runs in March each year bringing the skills and energies of architecture students to community-based clients seeking to tackle social and economic challenges. Since 2015 it has focused its efforts on the Urban Village areas and for the past two years on all five areas across Derry~Londonderry and Belfast.
Professor Morrow, said: “Street Society is fundamentally a social way of learning for our students, where they are put into a situation which reflects real life practice and real life challenges which they have to overcome. Not only does the project bring the students together, it also brings the local community together, helping to build a better future for people to live, work and socialise.
“One of our student designed projects from last year at Short Stand in East Belfast has informed the development and delivery of that project. This shows the successful impact Street Society has had on our local community, and we hope that this year’s projects will do the same.”
Linsey Farrell, Programme Director of the Urban Villages Initiative in the Executive Office, said: “The Urban Villages initiative is designed to unlock potential and transform areas which have seen years of decline and deprivation. This project provides the architect students from Queen’s University Belfast with a unique opportunity to take an active role in shaping the future of the places where they live and work.
“This inclusive and innovative approach will not only provide the students with personal and professional development opportunities but transform the physical environment of the Urban Villages building capacity for the local community and foster positive community identities.”
The Urban Villages initiative brings the skill and resources of strategic partners like Queen’s to impact areas with a history of deprivation and community tension. This work not only supports the Urban Village aim of improving the physical environment through the generation of creative and innovative ideas; but the presence of the student groups in these areas, and their co-design approach with local people, also creates an environment to foster positive community identities and build community capacity.
The week long project cumulated on Friday 3 March with a celebratory showcase event, displaying the work the students have done within the five Urban Village areas over the week, with international observers and Architecture Critics, Professor Prue Chiles, Emmet Scanlon and Jim Segers in attendance.
Street Society is a Queen’s University Belfast ‘live’ Project supported by the Department for Communities with funding under the Northern Ireland Executive's Urban Villages Initiative.
Media inquiries to Zara McBrearty, Communications Office at Queen's University Belfast on Tel: +44 289097 3259 or email [email protected]