Youth Shaping Space. Empowering young people to participate within local planning and decision-making, public consultation and development. Bath, UK.

For The University of the West of England and FCB Studio, UK. 2014.

Public Consultation Team Member.

Bath and North East Somerset Council aim to deliver 65% of the districts employment by 2026 within the Bath Riverside Enterprise Area. BANES will also aim to provide the necessary accommodation for the areas high value business sectors within the BREA.

BANES recently appointed Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios to develop the masterplan for this riverside Enterprise Area. Since their appointment, FCBS have been working with stakeholders and local community members to garner support for the future developments, as well as developing key themes which characterise different qualities of life; water, working, wildlife, human and park. This is based on the compilation of their formal public consultation so far.

Both BANES and FCBS recognise the success of the formal public consultation up to this point, yet stress the lacking engagement of younger generations and agree that this is due to the limitations of the formal community consultation processes.

This is where MyBathMyCity came into play.

#MyBathMyCity was formed by a group of 7 architecture students, including myself, to empower the younger people of Bath and engage them within the local planning decision-making process and future development of the city.

The team set up a research framework, capturing the voices of 300+ young people aged between 18-25. The opinions and values, collected through qualitative and quantitative methods, were translated into thematic and spatial strategies to directly inform the masterplanning of the Bath Riverside Enterprise Area.

Through approaching a large number of younger people directly, the MBMC team broke down barriers commonly found when undertaking public consultation with hard-to-reach groups.

The research findings were documented within a report, short film and a series of proposals for short-term architectural interventions to utilise the current derelict Riverside Enterprise Area.

Since the projects success, Bath and North East Somerset Council have incorporated the findings into the broader Placemaking Plan.

Strategic routes to complete the MBMC research and interview surveying.

Extent of the Bath Riverside Enterprise Area.

Diagram illustrating the actual location of interviews and comparison of relative quantity.

To compliment the online social media campaigns including the MyBathMyCity Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages, BANES provided access to a local store for the duration of our research programme. To maximise our presence in the city we occupied the store front, pulling together an installation using painted card bowls from the previous tenant. During the formal and informal interviews we undertook, the interviewees were asked if we could take their photo with our MyBathMyCity sign and display it in the window with all of the other participants. The window became a place to showcase your participation – a symbol of empowered youth.

A symbol of empowered youth.