City Walks at My Place Project
The City Walks method is being explored by members of the Elders Council in collaboration with researchers Rachel Clarke and Danilo Di Mascio alongside Newcastle Elders Council as part of the “MyPlace” project (www.myplace.ac.uk).
MyPlace is a three years collaborative research project between Newcastle University, Northumbria University, Newcastle City Council and Newcastle’s Age Friendly City initiative. The aim is to develop digital tools and approaches to support public engagement with local councils and other organisations in the research, planning and design of an age friendly city. As part of the project we have been collaborating with MyPlace researchers to explore how the City Walks can be appropriated and adapted by members of the Elders council.
The City Walks method was presented to members of the Elders Council in December 2014 as a way to engage people in discussions about the city, in the city itself, while also imagining possible alternatives for particular locations.
At the start of 2015, we worked with Rachel and Danilo to develop a workshop using City Walks in relation to John Dobson Street, a specific street in Newcastle city centre that will undergo significant redevelopment in the near future. We made new prompt cards to engage with the politics, narrative and sensorial aspects of place. We then looked at how the Elders’ Council members could appropriate the City Walk method but also how it could relate to city planning projects and consultations. Seven members of the Elders council participated in the City Walk, engaging in animated discussion to come up with ideas for how the street could be improved. A week later, after the workshop, Rachel, Danilo and Elders’ Council members joined Newcastle City Council in a week-long consultation about potential changes to John Dobson Street.