By Rachel Sixsmith
First-year design students have helped to compile a guide named Future Parks for the 21st Century by defining what they would like to see in their “ideal park”.
Product design students from the University of Hertfordshire used Gunpowder Park in London’s Lee Valley as a test site to explore how councils can make parks more appealing to the 18-25 age group.
After examining the site the students concluded that colour is important to them because it makes them feel more at home.
Their project was for a consultation by Green Heart Partnership (GHP), an Arts Council England programme that has looked at how parks can be improved for people of all ages.
A GHP representative said: “The students were very vocal about needing colour and softer planting alongside the heartier, low-maintenance planting. Without these softer interruptions, the students felt open spaces looked dull, deserted and un-maintained.”
Small spaces where small groups could gather were also important: “All projects incorporated many benches or seating considerations and created several smaller intimate spaces throughout to encourage gatherings.”
The students produced a 3D model of their ideas, which is pictured in the guide, compiled to help local authorities work with developers. Hertfordshire county arts development officer Catherine Davis said: “We are looking for creative solutions towards skate parks, trails and healthy-living infrastructure that will develop a more sustainable area for the community.”
Councils can use the guide to learn how to make Section 106 negotiations that will lead to better open spaces.
It can be downloaded from www.greenheartpartnership.org