Frog Marsh film by Bahbak Hashemi

Closing the road

Following a 2017 community consultation process, led by Sustrans and Easton Safer Streets, plans were initiated to close busy junction next to Bannerman Road Community Academy. Bannerman Road PTA (the Friends of Bannerman) successfully bid for funding from the Road Safety Trust to commission designer Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad to create a design for the new pedestrian space.

The project was an opportunity to improve children’s journey to and from school, and to help young people understand how their city could be shaped. The artist-led design was developed with input from children at the school, their parents and local residents.

Photo Justin Yockney

Bannerman Road PTA (the Friends of Bannerman), successfully bid for funding from the Road Safety Trust to commission Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad to create a design for the new pedestrian space that would be created by the closure. Developing a child-led design was an opportunity to give children and families greater visibility in their neighbourhood, and to encourage young people to understand how cities are shaped.

Photo Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad

A question for the crowd

Bahbak worked with Year Five children to creatively reimagine the area, which was then a busy junction where two roads met under a railway bridge. They drew, painted, walked, and sculpted; all the time talking and thinking about how it felt to be in the space.

Photo Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad

The children imagined how the area could be improved in the future – could it be part of the school, a market, cinema, café, gallery, or disco!

Drawing by workshop participant

We made a pizza oven! 

The children renovated a disused pizza oven found at a local metal scrap yard by the designer, and we temporarily closed the road and turned it into a pizza restaurant. We also held street parties, workshops and coffee mornings so that people could join the conversation about the new space.

Photo Justin Yockney

What did we learn?

We heard from residents that the design should prioritise:
︎︎︎ Safety  
︎︎︎ The community, togethernes
︎︎︎ Opportunities to increase outdoor activity
︎︎︎ Positivity and celebration

We set out to design a playful space that is safe, comfortable and has an identity.

Photo Justin Yockney

The final design  

A proposal was developed by Bahbak, along with a series of illustrations by illustrator Peter Judson to share the ideas behind the design with the community.

In order to address any local community concerns, and to invite feedback, comments and discussion, the design was shared at resident’s meetings and community events.

Photo Justin Yockney

“It was really positive that the ideas for the project came from locals and the parents from the school were all involved in the design process” ︎︎︎ Cllr. Pickersgill, Ruth