What makes a place?

Master-developers U+I and TOWN, working with landowners Cambridge City Council and Anglian Water, are developing a vision for a new urban quarter in Cambridge and they want children’s voices and ideas to contribute to this.  At the heart of the planned new district of North East Cambridge, the Core Site development will include approximately 5,600 homes, shops, workplaces, education, community and leisure facilities, and open spaces.

Over a 100 Artscapers from Shirley Community Primary and North Cambridge Academy worked with artists Helen Stratford, Hilary Cox Condron and Sally Todd to imagine the future for this new area just on their doorsteps during the spring and summer of this year. This short film made by Sally Todd captures a flavour of the process and some of their wonderful ideas.

Close up of child drawing
Children and families an event
Back of child's head bent over drawing on orange background

The children’s ideas about play, nature, public space, and innovative responsible materials were collectively curated into ‘stations’ for a final exhibition in June, to which the developers, architects, and those involved in the city’s public space planning and production were invited. This provided a backdrop for a final group discussion in which artscapers and adults engaged in an equal and rigorous conversation around safety, locked or unlocked public spaces, animal corridors and wild nature spaces. A parting phrase from one of the developers seemed to sum up both the aspirations and the success of the project: ‘This is our brief now.’ 

More recently we have shared their ideas and questions as part of the People City Planet Festival hosted by the developers for the wider community and will continue to work with TOWN during 2023 on ways that community voices can authentically contribute.

Giant figure drawn on paper
Three plasticine figures
Illustration of clouds in a blue sky with child peeping through hole