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Engagement is vital to the journey of transforming the 161-year old former Royal Adelaide Hospital site on North Terrace into Lot Fourteen - Adelaide’s global ideas neighbourhood and one of the most exciting urban renewal projects in Australia.
Renewal SA, has engaged thousands of citizens, including more than 1,200 young people, during the planning, demolition and early development stages.
There have been three key areas of focus in engaging with young people which are in line with specific stages of the project:
- Getting young people’s ideas into the planning
- A window to work and career opportunities
- Showcasing the history, present and future opportunities
The level of engagement and methods used has been different for each stage, depending on the key elements of that stage of the project.
What did we do?
Stage 1 - Getting young people’s ideas into the planning
The rationale behind engaging young people in the master planning stage was that the success of planning sustainably hinged on engaging the future users of Lot Fourteen.
During May 2017, 133 primary school, high school and university students, as well as 184 city residents, entrepreneurs and professionals shared their comments and ideas, mainly through seven face-to-face workshops. We asked what would make the site a great place that attracts people and encourages its use.
In the school workshops, students worked at three stations individually or in groups to produce ideas using three different tools:
- Build – ideas for the site using Lego
- Draw – a poster for an imagined future event, venue or activity at the site
- Write – creating and interviewing a future user of the site
For the university student and young entrepreneur sessions a world café format was used, with them imagining the site in the future prompted by the invitation to explore three statements:
- Functionality – ‘The site could be used for …’
- Innovation – ‘The site would be a great place if …’
- Aesthetics – ‘I would be attracted to the site if …’
In October 2017, 151 young people were engaged through three Minecraft challenge sessions, where they built 3D ideas for the site on computers at the Hybrid World Event.
Stage 2 - A window to work and career opportunities
An insight to work and career opportunities for young people became the focus for engaging young people from May 2018 through to October 2018. The on-site live demolition works demonstrated the variety of career paths available through the construction industry, while completing the feedback loop with students previously engaged.
An ‘Observation Deck’ overlooking the demolition site was used to host nearly 400 students through 12 visits. High schools, TAFE SA, technical colleges and training organisations linked to Renewal SA’s Works Program via the Doorways2Construction program were targeted. The Works Program is a training and employment model to maximise community and social benefits from the government’s urban renewal activities.
Stage3 - Showcasing the history, present and future opportunities
With the restoration of heritage buildings and many organisations and entrepreneurs moving in, the focus in continuing to engage young people is to demonstrate the transformation process and highlight the site uses and future careers across innovation, research, art and culture.
Hosting more than 11 site tours for 130 participants, participating in World Environment Day 2019 and Teachers’ Big Day Out 2020 have been the main methods of engaging young people in this stage.
What went well?
In Stage 1 an innovative approach, using familiar tools to spark creativity, worked well in the workshops. This was enhanced by integrating mediums that young people value, such as online tools and hands-on ‘doing’ activities.
In Stage 2, the unique insight to training and career opportunities in engaging through a live site greatly increased awareness and interest. Partnering with site contractors and training organisations created stronger industry connections, leading to training and employment outcomes for some students.
In Stage 3, flexibly tailoring site tours to the interests and time availability of different groups and leveraging third-party major events both increased the reach to young people. Partnering with Lot Fourteen site tenants made the tours experience more immersive.
What would we do differently?
Earlier engagement within the planning stage would have brought more young people’s ideas into the master planning process ahead of the broader public engagement in 2016.
Having stronger partnerships with other government agencies and stakeholders to support tailored content delivery for students and young people with entrepreneur and innovation interests.