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SPUD (Space, Placemaking and Urban Design)

The Solent Centre for Architecture + Design has set up three youth groups across Eastleigh, Southampton and Portsmouth for young people with a focus on the designed and built environment. The groups are known as SPUD, which stands for Space, Placemaking and Urban Design.

1st September 2009 - 31st July 2010

The SPUD groups are for young people with a real interest in the built environment and the opportunity to influence change in their local area.  All the young people involved will work alongside architects and planners on live design briefs.  They’ll gain new skills, knowledge, build portfolios and even have the chance to achieve an Arts Award.

Each group will run initially for 12 months, but with a clear commitment to secure funding and support to continue the groups beyond this time.  Thirty-five 14-19 year olds have already signed up to take part in the 3 groups.  The groups meet once a month at local architects offices and undertake a range of activities as well as working independently in-between the workshops.  The groups also have the opportunity to attend a series of Planning Aid workshops to broaden their knowledge and skills further.

Each group has its own website area to blog their activities – the website can be accessed at www.spudgroup.org.uk – anyone is welcome to leave comments for the blog postings.  You can even become a fan of SPUD on Facebook or follow the groups on Twitter.

Each group is working on diverse live projects in their area, mostly focused around urban design and public realm.  The Eastleigh group is looking at the town railway station, its forecourt and the connectivity with the rest of town; Portsmouth students are looking at the Tipner regeneration area to the north of the City and the potential for new pedestrian routes and facilities around the Mountbatten Leisure complex; finally the Southampton group are looking at the connectivity and route-finding from Ocean Village, through historic Oxford Street, past Holyrood Estate to West Quay.  All the locations present real challenges for the young people and are areas of the cities the local authorities are also focused upon.

Below are a few quotes from architects and local authority officers who have been working with the young people in SPUD:

“LHC Architects got involved in SPUD because we liked the idea of thinking in detail about some of the design challenges for the city centre. It also appealed to us to do this with young people who might look at it differently to the way we do. We couldn’t however do it without the expertise of the Solent Centre.
Our first session with the students was good fun, with some students really vocal from the start.
We're looking forward a couple of sessions when we hope everyone will be fully animated - and we have to calm things down.”

-Richard Summers, Urban Designer LHC

“As an architect working with the SPUD group I am looking forward to developing ideas and designs with young people in an area of Portsmouth that requires creativity and urban regeneration.  I am pleased to be part of this process as supporting and challenging their perception of the environment around them is a very exciting and rewarding experience.”

-Allister Lewis, Portsmouth City Council, Architects Group

“SPUD is an inspirational programme which introduces the concepts and issues around place-making to young people in an engaging way. It is incredibly rewarding to see students grasping these issues and taking them on as their own in such an open-minded and enthusiastic way.  The programme is making an important contribution towards unlocking potential future talent in this field.” 

-Paul Ramshaw, Head of Regeneration and Planning Policy, Eastleigh Borough Council