We Are Young Chingford
Child-friendly District Research and Feasibility Study
Location: Waltham Forest, London
Client: London Borough of Waltham Forest
Images: Felicity Crawshaw
This project is an ambitious pilot by Waltham Forest to create a child-friendly town centre by bringing children and young people’s voices to the fore, for the first time, into conversations about future planning.
We engaged over 100 students from 3 local schools. Over 9 months we held 9 sessions each with year 5 classes from Larkswood Academy, and 5 sessions with a group of 12 secondary school students from Chingford Foundation and South Chingford Foundation. 190 secondary school students also completed a school wide survey.
The process centred on primary evidence-based research to identify issues, needs and gaps to help define a brief for design proposals and borough wide strategic recommendations. It has provided new ways of understanding and thinking about town centre public space.
Findings significantly informed a very positive co-design process. At project end, the young people were able to articulate the process and spoke confidently about their ideas for a child friendly town centre with local adult residents very clearly.
It was a wonderful opportunity for young people to exercise a student voice with local decision makers... young people should always be listened to and the process of listening is as important as the outcomes... don’t be too hung up on the outcome... let’s enjoy the journey... they may come up with things we haven’t thought of.
Has Mahir, Senior Vice Principal
Chingford Foundation School