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University students float East Side ideas

An artist’s impression of giant spray cans at a skatepark in Masterton East. IMAGE/SUPPLIED

Pam Graham

Giant concrete pillars shaped like spray cans painted in bold modern art at a skatepark in McJorrow Park is one of the head-turning ideas students from Massey University have come up with for the east of Masterton.

Fourteen students in their fourth and final year of the Bachelor of Resource and Environmental Planning degree essentially went through the same processes planning consultants would go through in their project.

The class of 14 students have presented a final report for revamped or new buildings, walkways, community gardens, a pedestrian underpass, Maori art for urban settings and traffic solutions.

The students worked in three groups on three separate projects and held workshops with everyone from teens to school principals, police, community leaders, older residents and business owners.

Four of the students, Phoebe Watson, Hannah Van Haren-Giles, Alicia Todd and Josh Knowles worked on ideas for McJorrow Park, which was regarded as a lovely green space but lacking in activities for teens to people in their early 20s.

The design for landmark spray can sculptures at a skatepark was the result of a process where the students took on conflicting ideas and tried to find solutions that would work.

Initially, the idea of a skatepark with graffiti columns was not palatable to some of the older people, who saw it as attracting bad behaviour, “whereas we saw it as a way of concentrating that behaviour so that they are not tagging letterboxes,” Knowles said.

Another big idea was a Maori University that would leverage off the three schools in the area, bringing in students from outside as well as providing opportunities for adult education.

The students worked with Masterton District Council, Connecting Communities Wairarapa and Masterton Eastside Community Group.

Aaron Bacher, community development adviser for the Masterton District Council, said there were huge benefits from the project.

“The community gets fresh ideas, an outside perspective, and design thinking applied to the place they love and care about.”

From a council perspective it was up to the Eastside working group and the community to look at opportunities from the work.

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