'Aberfeldy hero' pupils tell planners what Poplar's future should be

Which way to go... youngsters decide future of Poplar's Aberfeldy redevelopment.

Which way to go... youngsters decide future of Poplar's Aberfeldy redevelopment. - Credit: Jonathan Goldberg

Young "Aberfeldy heroes" are helping to decide how the future of their Poplar neighbourhood will turn out. 

School friends from Langdon Park School took the lead in a People Speak consultation event staged in Aberfeldy Street as part of the London Festival of Architecture, with their own manifesto on the changes they want the Aberfeldy regeneration to look like.

Youth engagement session at Langdon Park School

Youth engagement session at Langdon Park School - Credit: Jonathan Goldberg

The manifesto tells Poplar Harca housing organisation how to shape the Aberfeldy Masterplan. 

“It’s nice to have our voices heard and our contributions listened to,” 14-year-old Shakila Begum said. “It’s something that we’ve not experienced before.” 

Co-designing with community at the People Speak in Aberfeldy Street

Co-designing with community at the People Speak in Aberfeldy Street - Credit: Jonathan Goldberg

A new underpass design was “the bit we like most”, one pupil commented, revealing that youngsters felt the area was “really dangerous at night and people get scared”.  

The 'People Speak' event on Aberfeldy Masterplan consultation was part of London Festival of Architecture  

The People Speak event on the Aberfeldy Masterplan consultation was part of London Festival of Architecture - Credit: Jonathan Goldberg


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The school chums are working with Poplar Harca’s Spotlight youth service, ZCD Architects and LDA landscape consultants. 

Spotlight’s service manager Thom Palser said: “Empower young people to shape their community, if ever you need inspiration, and watch them blow your socks off!  

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“These 'Aberfeldy heroes' were passionate about the future of their neighbourhood. Their message was to see a community thrive in safe, green spaces and activities to get involved in that are accessible to everyone.” 

Passion for the future of their neighbourhood voiced at The People Speak event in Aberfeldy Street

Passion for the future of their neighbourhood voiced at the People Speak event in Aberfeldy Street - Credit: Jonathan Goldberg

The youngsters have already influenced plans for an Aberfeldy community centre opening next year, and they pitched for and got £1,000 from the Aberfeldy Big Local community group to run a project to keep families connected while the neighbourhood redevelopment work takes place.     

Tower Hamlets councillor Rajib Ahmed, who represents the area at the town hall, said: “Their manifesto highlights anti-social behaviour and the unsafe connections to the area. They want these problems fixed.

"It’s refreshing to see young people involved in the conversation about the future of their area, because they are the future.” 

How pupils at Langdon Park see the future of their Aberfeldy neighbourhood

How pupils at Langdon Park see the future of their Aberfeldy neighbourhood - Credit: Jonathan Goldberg

The pupils analysed the spaces and told the masterplan's designers when and where they felt safe and unsafe to meet friends and enjoy life.

The next round of Aberfeldy Masterplan public consultations begins next month and runs throughout the summer.  

Listening to Poplar's youth... deciding the future of the Aberfeldy regeneration plan.

Listening to Poplar's youth... deciding the future of the Aberfeldy regeneration plan. - Credit: Jonathan Goldberg


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