Planning partnership between Galway and Queen’s

By Darragh Nolan

The University of Galway and Queen’s University Belfast have teamed up for a cross-border initiative focused on education and spatial planning.

The project aims to link the plan-making, county plans and local area plans done by local authorities with second and third level education. It is supported by Galway County Council and Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.

‘Invaluable learning experience’

Secondary school students from Presentation College, Athenry and Holy Rosary College, Mountbellew were involved. Their counterparts from Northern Ireland came from New-Bridge Integrated College, Co Down and The Royal School, Armagh.

Students and staff undertook a series of spatial planning and surveying exercises in the four locations, alongside planning staff.

Dr Therese Conway, Director of the MA Rural Futures Planning and Innovation at the University of Galway, said: “This exchange is an invaluable learning experience for both staff and students”.

She added that the programme allows staff to compare teaching methods, while students got a taste of university level geography. They also gained an appreciation for how geography and planning matter in the real world.

Introducing planning to young people

“This project has been a worthwhile cause in empowering young, second level students to think about places we live while developing their interest of town and country planning,” said Brian Corcoran, Executive Planner, Galway County Council.

Though the majority of planning is about land use, it also covers economic, environmental, social and sustainability issues.

Funded under SCOTENS – the Standing Conference on Teacher Education North and South – this project is one of a number of collaborations taking place in teacher education between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Dr Neil Galway, Director of Postgraduate Studies in Planning at Queen’s University, said the project was crucial in engaging young people and encouraging them to enter the field.

“We are delighted to participate in this SCOTENS-funded study as it offers a great opportunity for our future planners to develop their facilitation skills whilst working with an under-represented section of our society: teenagers,” he said.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: