Students working together with red hats

The future of urban planning is in safe hands

Teams from Hills Road Sixth Form competed to design the best in urban regeneration.

During the latest Cambridge LaunchPad digital pilot, award-winning housebuilder Hill provided the ‘UrbanPlan’ workshop in a virtual format, so that all teenagers could take part while being covid-safe. Four teams from across all A-level subjects came together at Hills Road Sixth Form College for the pilot event. The students took on different roles within a group bidding to develop an area of fictional Ellham, meeting strict criteria for sustainability, community benefits and finance. Hill provided all of the resources, including detailed role guides, models and software. Their experts guided and advised the teams through live remote links.

The four teams called themselves Urban Revival, Urban Rebirth, Green Growth Development, and Regener8.

A student explained:

“The pace was really fast and kept the pressure on, but it was good because it kept us focussed. I really liked the teamwork and communication.”

Having set out and priced up their plans, each team made a presentation to the mock Ellham Council, who grilled them further on the fine details.

Bekki Clark, Hills Road’s Head of Careers, said:

“The UrbanPlan virtual event was really excellent. The presenters were brilliant and engaged the students really well and the platform worked fantastically. The students really enjoyed the day; it was such a great opportunity for them to do something in a group together, whilst learning about the property industry and getting a great feel for a realistic project.”

One team will be declared the winner, once the experts at Hill have deliberated, and they’ll receive detailed feedback by video link.

The professional team were impressed by the students’ work. The session ended with the floor opened for questions to the Hill team about their roles and the routes they’d taken to get there. Two were former Hills Road students, which added a valuable local dimension.

Lisa Taylor, LaunchPad Programme Manager, was amazed by the quality of the whole thing, saying:

“It’s been great for us to work with Hill to provide this wonderful opportunity to find out about a whole range of careers in such an engaging way.”

Lauren New, Technical Coordinator at Hill, said:

“I loved how enthusiastic and imaginative the students were in creating their regeneration schemes! It’s something I would have loved to do when I was at school so it’s great to see students being given the opportunity and to help provide an insight into the construction industry.”