Making Space for Nature

Hands holding a yellow flower. codesign

Making Space for Nature

A collaborative research partnership project has launched to explore Making Space for Nature with the children of Ysgol Pen Rhos in Llanelli, Wales.

Llanelli has a long industrial heritage built on iron, steel, copper, coal.  200 years ago some children worked in coal mines.  Today children in Llanelli face the challenges of the climate and nature emergencies as well as the historic inequalities that continue to show themselves today.

Creating with nature offers ideas and solutions. This project will explore through a co-design approach with the children of Ysgol Pen Rhos how connecting with nature can improve children’s learning and development, wellbeing, and increase nature.

With support from the ACCELERATE Clinical Innovation Accelerator at Cardiff University a research partnership has been formed comprising:

  • Cardiff University (Schools of Psychology + Geography)
  • Ysgol Pen Rhos
  • Urban Habitats
  • Hywel Dda University Health Board
  • Carmarthenshire County Council
  • Learning Through Landscapes
  • Cynon Valley Organic Adventures

Urban Habitats will work with the project partners including the children of Ysgol Pen Rhos to gather their ideas about making space for nature.  From this will come an Action Plan for Nature making connections between the many excellent community initiatives already happening in Llanelli.

Such a plan is timely as change is happening in the wider neighbourhood and there are opportunities to inform this change including the Pentre Awel development, described as a “multi-million-pound project bringing together business, research, education, community healthcare and modern leisure facilities all at one prime location along the Llanelli coastline.” (Carmarthenshire County Council)

The project objectives are:

Phase 1: Let’s talk about nature: conversations between children and parents as they explore natural and built environments locally.

Phase 2: Making space for nature: design activities where children explore how they have experienced nature in the past and how they want to experience nature in the future in their local area.

Phase 3: Actions for nature: preliminary action plans linking children’s priorities to wider context / policy / opportunities.  Including an open community & stakeholder event hosted by the school children on the theme “My environment, my future”.

Urban Habitats firmly believes that evidence and research co-produced with communities is a powerful tool in health creation.  Research and evidence informed approaches are not sufficiently prioritised in the built environment sector and children’s voices are often missing.  And yet for us this is central to our practic/se.  Accelerate has helped Urban Habitats to extend, diversify, and build our work in partnership with leading thinkers and educationalists.

Mark Drane, Director, Urban Habitats
Mark Drane