Residents are getting ready to give two London suburbs a spruce up, armed with inspiring ideas from Kingston's Landscape Architecture students. Second and third year undergraduates have come up with concepts for developing a neighbourhood in Stroud Green while a group of postgraduates has drawn up plans to revamp the Atkinson Morley Hospital site in Wimbledon.
The students started work on the Stroud Green project after an approach from a group of community representatives and unveiled a number of designs last December. They included resurfacing the area with paving stones, planting trees, flowers and shrubs and creating sculptures. The project is now awaiting the final go-ahead, with work set to be completed by spring 2004.
Third year student Simon Greig, 34, believes the community will really benefit from the improvements. "Our aim is to create a focal point for the area," he said. "We want to give people something they can feel part of and that creates a sense of pride. Consulting the residents about the final look has been an important part of the project."
The postgraduate students, meanwhile, have been working closely with action group LUNG to redevelop the Atkinson Morley site which will become vacant when the hospital moves to Tooting next month. The students have been hard at work gauging local opinion and have pulled together three proposals.
Edd Snell, 24, said community involvement was the key to the project. "It hasn't just been about what we suggest - the residents have been involved all the way," he said. "The response has been excellent and we are in the process of putting the final touches to our plans before presenting them to locals and planning officials."
Course Director Pat Brown said the experience would stand the students in good stead when they started looking for jobs. "Their coursework is shifting towards working on live briefs and dealing with real clients, agencies and communities, which is what makes the challenges of these projects so important," she said.
Bridge - The Kingston University magazine