Playscape Co-Lab: Fostering Young Minds in Collaborative Play Space Design

Lead: Dr Md Mizanur Rashid

Professor Mirjana Lozanovska
Professor Eleanor Suess
Dr Igor Martek
Dr Maycon Sedrez
Dr Chayakan Siamphukdee
Mr Stewart Seaton

Project Description:
Playscape Co Lab- Fostering young creative minds via a co-design initiative with Low SES Primary School, Geelong’ is an innovative project at Herne Hill Primary School in collaboration with Deakin University School of Architecture and Built Environment, designed to empower young minds through collaborative play space design.

Keeping in mind what Rudduck and Flutter (2004:21) highlighted that “Very young people involved in imagining educational space [been] able to contribute ‘ideas that teachers would not have thought’,” this project seeks to foster young minds to shape their own built environment. By implementing and building on the “Design by Children Model” (Lozanovska and Xu, 2012), the project aims to actively involve students in co-designing and revitalizing the existing play space.

Through five dynamic workshops aiming to foster keen observation, documentation, and thoughtful responses to their surroundings were developed and delivered by the Deakin Creative Team. A group of 18 children (aged between 8-13) was organised into 4 groups, each group mentored by a Deakin architecture staff member of the team. Exercises of analogue and digital drawings, model making and a walking tour aimed to cultivate observation and imagination, and to inspire young minds to explore innovative ideas, and to build capacity for the transformation of their environment. The project’s initial outcome is a playground co-designed with children, benefiting the neighbourhood and city. As Herne Hill School opens facilities to the community, participants will gain a sense of belonging. This newfound confidence can empower participants to appreciate their role in shaping the city’s future.

Through this endeavour, students will engage in creative problem-solving, architectural design, and imaginative thinking. By fostering a sense of ownership of the play space, the project seeks to nurture students’ confidence, creativity, and social skills.