The Great North Build, Lego, urban design, urban planning, green design, sustainable design, UK, Newcastle University, Institute for Social Renewal, Lego City

The Great North Build project marks the public launch of Newcastle University’s new Institute for Social Renewal – a research center that will be dedicated to resolving many of the pressing issues that today’s individuals and communities face. Eschewing pens and paper in favor of a more hands-on approach, the project asks every day people to consider how to accommodate growing businesses and the elderly, and in the case of Vikki and her colleagues, where to put the bar!

This is what she said about the experience: “It was a great escape at lunchtime to go and participate in the project and aside from the childhood nostalgia of building with Lego blocks it was eye opening to the challenges facing town planners to accommodate our expanding population in our shrinking land space.”  While her team kept their designs quite simple, Vikki described how one pair placed their “humongous power station” in a position that overshadowed strategically placed wind turbines.

“The colour coordination for the type of building is also very interesting as you get a real sense of how certain developments are being clustered together or separated out,” she added. “For example, it was suggested by one of the helpers that our law school and court room would be well suited to the ‘old’ part of town, which already housed, among other things, a castle.” Mini CCTV cameras will track the Lego city’s development as it grows up over the next couple of weeks. As Vikki pointed out, it will be really interesting to see how the final design comes out as more people participate in the project but don’t worry, the power station blunders won’t be implemented in “real-life!”

+ The Great North Build