Bringing Nature Home – How to connect children and nature through engagement?

11 Jun 2021

How to connect children and nature through engagement?

A recent government survey demonstrated the positive role of nature in supporting children’s well-being, with 83% of children interviewed agreeing that being in nature made them very happy. However, 60% reported to having spent less time outdoors since the start of the pandemic.

With our ethos that projects are more likely to succeed if communities are successfully listened to, actively participate, and benefit directly from working with us in this way, we have been planning our post pandemic engagement to focus more on children connected with nature.

A good example is the Winstanley and York Road Joint Venture partnership which has a far-reaching vision for the area which builds on the aspirational masterplanning process carried out by the council. The masterplan provides more social and affordable housing and a new park which will be used by the whole community.

Our approach to the hoarding for the first block was to take the opportunity to reflect the vision for the area for the local community. This building provided 46 new apartments to rehouse existing residents as the first stage of the regeneration.

The design brought together different interactive elements that were produced with local residents and community groups. It was a great opportunity to reiterate themes that are important to the regeneration.

The concept ‘Let’s Grow’ spanned sustainability, growth, community and the regeneration itself. We mixed activity, messaging and visuals to communicate the concept and tie everything together in a community led narrative. Building on the strapline ‘Built in Battersea. Shaped by You’, we have adapted the phrasing to work with the concept – ‘Built in Battersea. Grown by You’.

We worked with the local school – Falconbrook – to create a living green wall, restoring lavender where it historically grew, using recycled plastic bottles to grow the plants, and eye-catching illustrations to convey the story and project messaging. We chose plants which were fully grown and durable such as Lavender, the workshop will focus on painting the plastic bottles with patterns. We then secured the bottles to the hoarding using wire at the top and bottom. For the second phase of workshops we worked with the school to grow the planting from seeds in the bottles and then fixed to the hoarding once grown.

Additionally, we set up a community wood-working workshop (Assemble & Join) where members of the community can design and build objects utilising a CNC wood router and hand tools to be installed in the public realm. To date, they have collectively designed planters, signage, play equipment, allotment beds, street furniture and homes for pets, all to be installed throughout the regeneration area this year.