Lancaster: Placemaking with Young Adults
Lancaster City Council is pioneering a new initiative to co-create a vision for the garden village in South Lancaster focused on young lifestyles. The council has a strong practice of active community engagement through formal and informal engagement in planning policy. However, there have always been significant challenges in its ability to engage with young adults in a meaningful way. The importance of doing this as part of the forward planning process should not be underestimated, given that much of what is proposed within a local plan is not simply for the present but considers the needs of people 10, 15 and 20 years into the future. This is particularly the case when planning for future growth in South Lancaster and Bailrigg Garden Village through the preparation of the Area Action Plan.
The Area Action Plan has a heavy focus on how to maximise climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience as well as focus on sustainable travel and support more sustainable lifestyles. LCC wanted to make sure that the Local Plan for this new settlement was informed by young adults and to do something which could be used for more of its informal engagement events for wider plan-making
The project has enabled the council to collaborate on developing a placemaking framework tailored to its climate emergency priorities. This will help to self-assess current and emerging planning policies under the umbrella of sustainability and placemaking principles. Additional benefits include:
Developing a Lancaster-focused placemaking framework to help young adults better understand placemaking and how planning plays a part.
Directly connecting young adults and policy makers in workshops to co-design visions of the future together, providing the opportunity for young adults to see directly how the plan making process works and how their engagement has a real world and policy impact.
Based on the success of the project, the council is now delivering academic work for participatory placemaking; involving work experience students who have been through the workshops on delivering the research and policy outputs; and integrating the outcomes of this engagement series into the Area Action Plan for Lancaster South. It is also working with a film maker on delivering a short film around young people’s vision of a sustainable future.
Collaborating with Lancaster University has highlighted how working in partnership can deliver new and innovative engagement processes. The goal was to have a process that met people on their own terms. The methods the council is developing are tailored to the language and experience of the young adults. This means that we are designing workshops to be engaging for them and directly bringing them along in the plan-making process.