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Young Urbanist Programme Season 1

Friday, March 28, 2008 Posted by Joshua Teo

This is an article written by Lyn-Anne, the Managing Editor of Five Foot Way Magazine on the recent YUP. She did such a good job, we thought you should not miss it. Find out more about Five Foot Way Magazine here.

The Young Urbanist Programme [YUP] held on Monday 10th March 2008, was a 1-day workshop initiated by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and executed in collaboration with [re:act] and held at the URA Centre. It was an enrichment programme for primary school students during their school holiday and was attended by 30 P5 students from Radin Mas Primary School and River Valley Primary School. [re:act] was engaged by URA to plan, organize and facilitate the workshop, as well as to curate the exhibition. Through problem-based urban activities, the programme aimed to instill creativity and sensitivity in our future generation, while giving them a taste of being an architect or urban designer for a day.

The objectives of YUP were to raise awareness and educate students on the importance of a well-designed built environment, as well as to introduce simple Urban Design (UD) and planning concepts, so as to build up an urban design-conscious culture from young.

Matthew Chong, a teacher at River Valley Primary School, said it was important for the students to learn about their environment at a young age so they would be aware of their surroundings and be careful in the way they live.

The programme also hoped to encourage students to nurture a keen sense of observation and interest in their built environment and to inspire students to think, design and plan as architects and planners through a design exercise and presentation session. Using URA’s City Gallery as an aid to introduce Singapore’s urban planning & design and coupled with games to add interest to the learning, the workshop was intensive, fast-paced, energetic and creative.

Armed with the YUP Activity Booklet produced by URA, the students were broken up into teams of 5, each led by a facilitator and a teacher. They went on an outdoor site study in the vicinity of the URA Centre and returned to an art and craft session on model-making, site-planning and designing to simulate the real work of architects and urban planners. The students were all in laughter as they cut out pieces of cardboard windows and dabbed their Styrofoam trees with glue.

Claire McColl of Radin Mas Primary School said she learnt how to be creative with cardboard and plastic bottles and also how to work in a team.

The tasks given to the students helped to reinforce their learning and understanding of the built environment.

Teo Hui Ting, a student of River Valley Primary School, said that through the workshop, she finally understood how hard it was to plan and build a city.

At the end of the workshop, students got to present their findings and designs to professional planners and architects. Parents of these students were also invited to sit in the presentation to give encouragement and support to their children. As such, the workshop reached out not only to students, but also to teachers and parents.

Chong Keng Hua, of [re:act], said that they are in talks with URA to organize more of such programmes and they hope to include students from polytechnics, ITEs and even parents in future workshops.

FFW was at the workshop and we noticed that even though there were chaotic moments at times (kids will be kids), the students were genuinely serious about making their models as realistic as possible and almost did not flinch when they presented their works to the professionals at URA. This collaborative initiative by [re:act] and URA was a rousing success and everyone involved left with a greater appreciation of our city’s architects and urban planners and new friendships.

FFW applauds the efforts of [re:act] to introduce art and design to students at such a young age and we are looking forward to more of such inspiring initiatives.

Lyn-Anne is the managing editor of FFW and she loves photography and film-making.

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