A high profile panel of experts from across the island of Ireland will visit Ulster University’s Magee Campus today as part of the ‘Atlas for a City Region’ Harvard Studio Pin-Up.
The panel, which will include Irish Planning Institute President Joe Corr as well as Catherine McEvoy, Principal Planning Officer with the Department for Infrastructure NI, will critique proposals and ideas presented by students from Harvard University who are currently visiting the North West Region as part of the project looking at future scenarios for the City Region in a post-Brexit scenario.
The Atlas for a City Region is a project being undertaken by Harvard Graduate School of Design jointly commissioned by Donegal County Council and Derry City and Strabane District Council under the auspices of the North West Strategic Growth Partnership. This project has been borne out of the unique cross border collaborative approach adopted by both Councils with a view to driving growth and prosperity in the region.
12 Harvard students of landscape architecture, urban design and planning are currently visiting the region to engage with its landscapes and future challenges after Brexit, and considering long term challenges such as climate change. Through site visits, meetings with key stakeholders, and their own experiences on the ground, these students will be addressing a myriad of topics dealing with borders and identity, marginality, sexuality, water, mobility, immigration, housing, not to mention Brexit and climate change.
These ideas will be presented to the panel of experts at today’s event who will provide a critique with a view to strengthening the ideas and proposals being put forward, facilitated by the International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD).
Speaking ahead of the event, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor John Boyle, said: “Despite the uncertainty currently surrounding Brexit, we in the North West City Region are determined to continue to work collectively to build resilience, drive growth and carve out a prosperous future for the betterment of everyone in our community.
“Engaging with experts from both sides of the border and bringing in the fresh thinking and unique perspectives of the Harvard students is an important step forward in helping us shape the future of this cross border region.”
Cllr Seamus O’Domhnaill, Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, believes that having this expert panel contributing to the Project and critiquing the proposals and ideas being developed by the students is extremely valuable saying: “We have an opportunity to bring a fresh and creative perspective and new thinking to the future development of this region. Having this calibre of experts visiting the region and engaging in a meaningful way to help shape how we maximize the potential of future opportunities and respond to emerging challenges is positive not just for the students but for the entire region.”
Prior to the workshop at Magee Campus the students will engage with peers from Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) and Ulster University and other young people from across the region through a student-led workshop in LYIT. This will be followed by the workshop at Magee Campus in Derry with the invited panel of experts from across Ireland.
Later this evening a joint reception will be hosted by both the the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council and Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council in the Guildhall in Derry where students will also have an opportunity to engage with a range of key stakeholders from both Councils and supporting organisations including LYIT and Ulster University.
The Harvard Students will use Brooke Park Gate Lodge as their studio for their stay in Derry.