Primary students transform unused reserve into living playground

Grade 5 and 6 children from Pascoe Vale North Primary School have imagined, designed and constructed a temporary Parktopia in the Coburg North Linear Reserve.

Parktopia ratio

Held in partnership with Moreland Council, students created temporary plant installations, built a multi-use play-space out of cardboard and painted murals to illustrate their hopes for a sustainable future.

They also wore animal costumes that they created and put on a performance for parents and friends.  

The event was the culmination of a six-week workshop series run by University of Melbourne researchers and Moreland Council Landscape Architect Wendy Skala to teach students how architecture and creativity can facilitate positive community and environmental change.

Researchers say Parktopia also supports learning pillars within the school curriculum including sustainability, being an active citizen and the creative arts.

Leading artists Kate Kantor, a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne, and Vanessa Chapple, an independent artist and Creative Producer, worked closely with students throughout the project.

Students dressed in costumes at Parktopia

Pascoe Vale North Primary School students at the event. Photo by Sam Osborn Rassaby.

University of Melbourne Academic Fellow in Performance Design & Sustainability (Ecoscenography) and Project Lead Tanja Beer said Parktopia encourages children to play an active role in sustainability.

“Children have strong ideas about the environment and what type of world they want to live in,” Dr Beer said.

“By encouraging discussion at an early age, students realise the role they play in advocating for sustainability and making positive choices.”

The ideas generated by the primary school children will form the re-landscape of the Linear Reserve in 2019.

Media enquiries: Holly Bennett | 0466 514 367 |