Student community feedback and self-evaluation

Student feedback from the community

Student presentations at Howdy Café, Bayswater (Image: Paul Ventrice, 2019)

The student presentation of their posters and the following QandA and feedback session with the studio partners, industry, and community, was an important benchmark in the studio and provided a good indication of how effectively the students had engaged with and applied the concepts and theory in the unit.

The Audience was invited to record their feedback for the posters. The living stream and the breweries, which represented a mix of productive and consumption, were well liked by the reviewers. Other comments focused on the use of placemaking, tactical urbanism and governance arrangements:

“…understands the limitations of implementation.”

“Well thought through with regard to quick cheap wins initially transitioning.” And: “Very good thinking with ‘small bets’ to make early improvements.”

“Really well thought out and articulated. Like how the group thought through some of the practical issues in more detail (eg funding mechanisms, target industries, interface with mixed use).”

Some comments noted limitations in the students’ work:

“Land use incentives are strong drivers – without this I’m not sure any of the big ideas (of change focus) will have any real impetus.”

“’Eco’ is a good buzzword and the catalyst site is a good idea but would have liked the ‘regeneration plan’ to consider the ‘place’ and how that would feel.” Another noted: “What kind of place would this create?”

Post-presentation celebration (Image: Courtney Babb, 2019)

Student self-evaluation

At the end of the studio, students reflected on their achievements in the subject. 13 students responded to the Student Survey. The average scores out of 5 for the students’ self evaluation of placemaking skills are illustrated in the outcome sunflower below:

Students responded to the question “what is placemaking?” in various ways. A couple of examples are: “Changing the nature of a place (through design and planning techniques) to make it inviting to the public”; “Developing any reasons for people to socialise within a piece of space. Rather than giving purpose to a space, placemaking for me is specifically centred around people…Placemaking is identifying or creating a catalyst that turns a space into a place (i.e. a place being somewhere where people will socialise”

Student’s evaluated the studio positively overall: “…brings together complex problem solving, presentation and urban design…external Living Labs classes were a great way of putting students front and centre in their subject study site. Assignments had a very natural progression through the unit as different aspects of urban regen were covered.”

However, there were some comments relating to the complexity and noting the limitations in the industrial area of traditional means to engage with community. “I always struggle to consider urban regeneration when it doesn’t first consider how community engagement and participation come into play. The whole urban regeneration concept just screams gentrification so I feel like there could be more emphasis on the importance of community engagement and participation throughout the unit…. or maybe that was just a subtly planned learning outcome of the unit???”

studio leader reflection

“The studio worked effectively to engage the students in the site context and introduce them directly to a range of issues in the Bayswater Industrial Area. The budget provided the basis for a functioning Living Lab. On reflection the budget could have been designed to allow more class time in the area to enable students to engage with the wide range of rather complex issues affecting the area and apply the lessons from the model workshop.” – Courtney Babb

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