“Why do they have to break everything?” This is the question some of the residents of Middleport ask as another window is smashed, another car is vandalised, another swing is pulled off its frame. Much of the destruction is pinned squarely on teenagers, which got me wondering- who are these teens? Why is destruction their strongest currency? Is it for lack of influence? attention? social capital?
On a walkabout Middleport with PSCO Ian Hopley in June 2018 I began to understand that this homogenous group of ‘teens’ was not one group at all, but many smaller friendship groups of 3 to 4 people, and to my surprise, they tended to stay well away from Middleport to avoid one teen gang- the self titled Middleport Mafia (MPM) who they say can be dangerous for them to come across.
What this leaves Middleport with is the impression of a monoculture of troubled and troublemaking teens, but in actuality, there are many more positive young people whose imprint cannot be seen in the public realm. Planning the Future is one small offering towards rebalancing the scale. It will be a way for young people to be constructive, to imprint on the public realm and feed into a wider debate about regeneration in a positive way, harnessing their innate skills, confidence and neuroplastic brains to invent new futures for their city.
This introductory workshop will introduce a few basic concepts of planning- how to assess a space and predict how it is used. Then, we will begin a campaign of tactical urbanism, identifying places where temporary, low-cost interventions could improve specific places- which may lead to permanent change.