Make It Happen

A partnership project with Make Architects, investigating the places we live in and proposing new ways of designing public spaces in residential areas.

Key Project Information

Partners: Make Architects
Participants: Young people aged 13-16
Format: 4-day workshop

Project Overview

Make it Happen allowed young people to explore their ideas and concerns about various residential spaces. They were supported by volunteers from Make Architects throughout the programme. Make it Happen participants were given the opportunity to use creative and multimedia activities to articulate what they wanted for residential spaces. Visits to spaces and places of exemplary design allowed the young people to be better informed on what is possible, and to have a point of comparison for their reflection on residential areas.

Aims

This project aimed to understand the importance of public space to young people in residential areas and how this can be designed and used successfully.

Project Detail

Make it Happen's participants were from two youth clubs: the Copenhagen Youth Project (Islington/King’s Cross area) and the Camden Youth and Connexions Service (Kilburn area). They were 13-16 years old and took part in Make it Happen on a voluntary basis over four days during a May half-term break.

Make Architects offered their members of staff the opportunity to volunteer and to support young participants through each stage of Make it Happen. Open-City coordinated and prepared Make volunteers for the 4-day workshop through training sessions and direct experience of work with young people which took place over two months in 2007. Overall 25 Make volunteers took part in Make it Happen, which is a quarter of the London staff.

Make it Happen participants were given the opportunity to use creative and multimedia activities to articulate what they wanted for residential spaces. Visits to spaces and places of exemplary design allowed the young people to be better informed on design and development possibilities, and to have a point of comparison for their reflection on residential areas.

The following creative activities were used as tools for young people to explore and express their ideas:

  • Mind-mapping activities
  • Photography, and video
  • Hands-on modelling in Make offices (with professional materials and machinery) drawing from exploration and photography activities
  • 3D computer modelling and graphic design

Achievements

Young People were able to:

  • Gain skills in design and model-making - with emphasis on housing provision
  • Opportunity to see exemplar spaces and work with professionals
  • Understand the implications of high density housing developments
  • Articulate what works best for them in higher density housing development

Design Professionals were able to:

  • Gain new understanding in how housing works for young people
  • Gain skills and knowledge of how to build young people’s needs and aspirations into design solutions

 

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"The forum engages young people in a subject that they do not often engage with, which is at the core of their disenfranchisement with their community. Safety and being invited into the spaces between buildings is the key to better engagement with it."

John Prevc, Partner, Make Architects