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Students deliver community solutions

Beachlands gets some fresh thinking

Published: 29 October 2018
Top row, from left, Auckland Council Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore, Suyi Gan, Katherine Knight, Franklin Local Board member Malcolm Bell, Sibyl Bloomfield, and board chair Angela Fulljames; bottom row Alex Sames, Kelsey Stankovich and Yue Yue.

It might have been a hypothetical exercise but the solutions were real when Unitec landscape architecture students applied their minds to issues in the Beachlands-Maraetai area.

In a collaborative exercise initiated by Unitec’s Bachelor of Landscape Architecture staff, the third-year students collaborated with Auckland Council, local board staff, and community representatives, to identify and respond to issues.

Franklin Local Board Chair Angela Fulljames says their help was accepted gratefully and their solutions went on to be presented to Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore and Auckland Design Office General Manager Ludo Campbell-Reid.

"The students came with some innovative ideas, bringing a range of fresh thinking to the table," Ms Fulljames says.

"It’s important we remain open to new ideas and thinking, and I’m sure some of what they were able to contribute will inform our own thinking going forward. I know my colleagues were very impressed."

With landscape architecture lecturer Sibyl Bloomfield and industry professional Gary Marshall leading the group, a 12-week design studio began with client interviews and was followed by site visits to keep the exercise as authentic as possible.

Students submitted masterplans and localised design responses while engaging with community representatives to test the relevance of their suggestions.

Some of the problems encountered in the programme included engaging people with town centre upgrades, traffic calming measures and placemaking in response to population and vehicle growth. 

"The presentations were really well-received and that’s led to opportunities for the students to engage in future projects," Ms Fulljames says.