A group of Year 9 girls in Astley Cooper school in Hemel Hempstead have been consulted after a report showed that girls were being excluded from parks and public places.
Developer Countryside, the London School of Economics (LSE), charity Make Space for Girls and architects HTA Design launched an extensive four day consultation process with Y9 girls to inform design and development process for inclusive public spaces pilot scheme in Spencer’s Park, Hemel Hempstead.
Learnings from Spencer’s Park pilot will be used to create best practice guidelines for inclusive public space delivery for the development community.
A report carried out by Dr Julia King, a Research Fellow at LSE Cities, and Make Space for Girls revealed that our parks and public spaces are dominated by teenage boys and that consultation with women and teenage girls is critical to prevent them being a forgotten group in our parks and public spaces
The bespoke piece of research investigates the way that the design of public spaces impacts their use, incorporating factors such as gender, demographics and deprivation indices. Dr King also utilises high-profile examples of inclusively designed public spaces from across the world to inform the case for inclusive public spaces in the UK.
Susannah Walker, Co-Founder at Make Space for Girls commented: “In Sweden a study showed that conventional teenage activity spaces were used 80% by boys, 20% by girls. But when one was designed by girls aged 16-24 the space they created was used much more evenly: the boys weren’t excluded; the big change was that girls were welcomed in.”
Deborah Collins, Head of Year 9 at Astley Cooper School, said: “This opportunity to empower young women and promote engagement in local democracy has significantly enriched the curriculum we offer at Astley Cooper school. Our girls are developing their communication, planning and organisation skills while learning about the process of designing and delivering a building and public places.”