Recommended age group: 7–18
Time required: one or two 45–60 minute sessions
Equipment: Creating parklands information sheet, Mandeville apples information and activity sheets (optional).
Our local environments are constantly changing. The regeneration of the Parklands inspires us to look around with fresh eyes at our own communities. Is your school making the best use of all the spaces available to you?
- Show the students some before and after images of the Olympic Park environment and the iconic venues from the image gallery.
- Read the Creating parklands information sheet, which highlights some of the ways London 2012 transformed an area of contaminated land into Parklands to create a stunning and sustainable environment for the Games.
- What top three sustainability measures would students recommend including in the planning of the next Olympic and Paralympic Games?
- Ask the students to summarise their research by giving an example of how either regeneration or sustainability was promoted at the London 2012 Games.
- Is there an area of the school or local community that the students generally agree needs a face-lift, or which could be turned into something more useful for everyone to enjoy?
What have we got?
Invite the students to work in small teams to critically observe and 'audit' the school or the local area. They could build up evidence by:
- Taking photos of both well-used and under-used spaces and/or buildings that are looking run down and uninviting – and others that are attractive and vibrant.
- Gathering opinions from other people in the school, parents, community leaders, etc. about how the spaces are currently used and what they could possibly be used for in the future, how they could be improved and who would benefit.
- Recording their evidence of images, opinions and facts by creating a large annotated map of the area and displaying it in a prominent position in school so visitors can see it too.
What can we do?
Ask the students to draw up a shortlist and select a space that they think might be suitable for a regeneration project; for example, turning a corner of the school grounds into a study garden, or creating a space for a Values-inspired sculpture. Ask students to consider:
- how they think the area is intended to be used
- if the current use is appropriate for the school/ community
- what prevents it from being used appropriately
- what might be an alternative use?
Learning from others
Encourage the students to find out about other small-scale regeneration projects that have been carried out by local communities. What can they learn from others' experiences?
Once the students have collected sufficient background information, they can begin to draw up a proposal for their regeneration project. Each team should compile a portfolio of evidence which includes:
- broad aims of their project and evidence of the need for change
- design drawings and vision for the future
- estimated costs of materials and labour, if appropriate.
You could conclude the project by inviting each team to give a presentation of their ideas.
- Why not go the extra mile and make your regeneration project actually happen?
- How could you build on this initiative and what might be a lasting outcome?
- Look closer at the creation of Mandeville Place orchard in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Use the information and activity sheets below to find out more about the creation of a new variety of apple – ParaDICE gold.