Game-Plan: Durham Estate

Client: Sandwell MBC Partnerships – Housing Directorate

Partners: LearnPlay Foundation

Brief: To develop an innovative method to engage young people into a neighbourhood planning exercise and help them put forward ideas for their estate’s design.

Solution: A two-pronged approach was taken to help overcome what was seen as an ambivalent approach to being involved in the neighbourhood planning process. The first involved the creation of ‘The Den’, a competition based loosely on the popular television programme and in which pupils from Q3 Academy, the school servicing the Durham Estate, were put into teams and given a brief to create designs for their estate and present a business case for the designs to an assembled panel of judges.

The judges were chosen from regeneration professionals who warmed to the task by putting the teams through their paces. In turn the teams were extremely professional in that they appointed students to be business managers, project managers and construction managers to best present their respective cases for estate improvement.

They also used an interactive games-based toolkit to build and present their estate designs, a notable feature of the Game-Plan solution.

The second approach was to conduct sessions at the nearby Tanhouse Community Centre in which young people off the estate and nearby took part in gaming sessions and in using the toolkit to come up with estate designs thus helping with the consultation and participation elements of the neighbourhood planning process.

Outcome: The Den proved to be a hugely successful exercise with pupils, teaching staff, the Headteacher and the regeneration professionals making up the judging team all acknowledging it as a a fun and productive way of involving young people in neighbourhood planning.

In total well over 100 young people took part in the two exercises thus providing valuable additional responses to the neighbourhood planning exercise and in addition enhanced the linkages between the Housing Directorate and the local community especially the local secondary school.

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