Wirral Waters

Spatial Planning in Action - Wirral Waters

As a key element of the MCD, the students undertake a project-based module which is largely taught through discussion focused on student project work. ‘Spatial Planning in Action’ is primarily a client-related project which is designed to ensure that students are involved in a plan-/policy-making process.

The precise nature of the project varies from year to year, but requires students to be involved in the whole process of plan making from initial evidence gathering to analysis and development of appropriate visionary and realistic strategies for contemporary issues. It involves understanding the existing policy context in all its multifaceted forms, research to identify the critical issues, the development of a vision objectives and an action plan. The students are required to produce various outputs including group presentations, posters, a report and a video in order to develop a range of presentation skills. The module concludes with a ‘professional’ standard presentation and report.

As with our undergraduate programmes, field study is a key part of the project. This takes the form of data collection within the study area and a visit to another place to gain inspiration of innovative planning responses to similar sets of planning issues.

In 2022, the students were focusing on the Wirral Waters regeneration site and working with Peel L&P as the client organisation. Peel L&P is the regeneration arm of the Peel Group and has a reputation for re-imagining some of the country’s historic assets including the redevelopment of the docklands in Liverpool and Wirral. Wirral waters is one of the largest regeneration projects in the UK and comprises a 500 acre site which is part of a 30 year strategy to transform the Left Bank of the River Mersey into an internationally recognisable destination.

The Liverpool City Region is currently developing a Spatial Development Strategy (SDS) to coordinate spatial planning actions across the Local Authorities and shape the wider area for the next 15 years. The brief for our students was therefore ‘To develop an analysis of the Wirral Waters and its neighbouring areas and to develop a sustainable urbanism strategy for the area’.

The MCD places an emphasis on authentic assessment throughout the programme, working with local consultants and ‘clients’ to understand the key issues facing planners. Many of these issues formed themes in this module including climate change and the environment, health and wellbeing, an inclusive economy, place-making and communities, and embedding Social Value in all aspects of development.

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