Students share skills to create a virtual Bulls

Students' vision for a bright future of the Bulls Town Centre has been presented to the Rangitikei District Council.

Councillors, staff and Bulls residents were taken on a virtual walk-through of four options for a revamped town centre, created by Massey University students.

The fourth-year Bachelor of Resource and Environmental Planning students developed urban plans, centred on one of four potential community hubs, all with a focus on urban beautification.

District council policy analyst Kevin Morris, who co-ordinated the process between the council and the university, said the students had done an immense amount of work.

"The connections the students have made to different areas are great; they provide a sense of connectivity to main shopping areas and the Wallace Development building."

He said ideas within the presentations would influence the council in decisions made on the new Bulls Town Centre plan.

The students' passion had also influenced the community to be more proactive, he said.

"They've cleaned up and moved furniture, it's a very positive process - they're taking community ownership."

The students' involvement in a "real world" project was praised by Massey University senior planning lecturer Imran Muhammed.

The council contacted the university before the start of the semester and they worked together to form a brief for the students, he said.

Students had been involved in council meetings and workshops during the process, and the council had been very generous.

"Kevin has come and provided feedback almost very week."

He said the students had had a really active involvement.

"They really showed a lot of motivation - they attended a Saturday morning workshop in Bulls."

So far the feedback from the council had been good, he said.

"The council are open to listening to our ideas - we offer a fresh approach."

Massey student Keegan Aplin-Thane said the group had learned valuable skills during the project.

"We used skills we haven't previously used before, listening to a community and interpreting their needs into a tangible design," he said.

Getting to attend all the meetings and workshops meant they felt connected to the community.

Bulls and District Community Trust development manager Jayme Anderson said the project was a great initiative.

There were many positives in the presentation, she said, and the students' work really highlighted the opportunities for Bulls.

Manawatu Standard