Students and practitioners get an insight into urban design and wellbeing

Date 13.11.2015

The Collaborative Centre for the Built Environment (CCBE) at the University of Northampton recently hosted a summer school for students and practitioners in built environment. ​

Taking place at the beginning of July, the four-day workshop was held at the University’s Avenue Campus and was directed by Sabine Coady Schaebitz of the CCBE and led by Natalie Oates, Senior Urban Designer at Northampton Borough Council and Associate Lecturer at the University.

The participants explored linkages from the Waterside site to Northampton town centre and the built edges and the design of Beckets Park with regard to the notion of health and wellbeing. They were able to see the Waterside site and the potential for creating an attractive ‘front door’ to the University. Issues such as the difficulty for pedestrians to cross the inner ring road, the unsafe feel walking through the large trees at night and the mixture of vehicles/pedestrians and cyclists in a narrow access road were addressed by the students.

A series of master classes given by professionals including University staff underpinned the studio work. The possibilities for creating a ‘wellbeing park’ captured the participants’ imagination, together with the possibilities for making better connections to Northampton General Hospital for patients and staff to get outdoors.

The Students’ Union generously supported the Summer School.

Alexandra Vasilescu, who is studying for a BSc (Hons) in Architectural Technology, who took part in the Summer School, said: “It was a remarkable experience that I would love to repeat in the near future. I felt that the people leading the classes were rightly motivated and also experienced, in order to motivate and lead us in our design workshop. In this way, our horizons were broadened and we have more to be grateful for in our student experience.”

Sabine Coady Schaebitz commented: “The Summer School was a great success for the University and the CCBE. From the number, quality and diversity of the participants to the imagination shown of how the new ‘gateway’ to the new Waterside campus could be designed to help attract students to Northampton.”