Students take on urban development
Tackling the development of Hamilton is not just a task for city councillors. Rototuna High School students are also learning how to develop an empire.
Students Mia Wilson, Jimmy Crawford and Luka Rigter presented a submission on behalf of the school during the city council 10-year plan hearings as part of their Urban Empire course at school.
The Urban Empire course requires students to look at new areas of Hamilton like Peacocke and Rotokauri and analyse and work on different aspects such as transportation and community infrastructure.
Thomas Reding, who is one of the teachers of the course, said the students are put in control of a plan to improve that suburb.
“Our hope is we might be able to get back before the council and the students will be able to pitch their own ideas to Hamilton’s growth,” Mr Reding said.
“It’s not just about looking at the infrastructure in a suburb but getting the students to look at wellness of community and what makes it.”
The students were part of different groups looking at the new areas of growth, Mia looked at Peacockes and Jimmy looked at Rotokauri.
“I think the city needs to be balanced when it comes to growing, currently we are spreading far north when it comes to Rototuna so both Peacocke and Rotokauri are good options,” Mia said.
The students are aware of the financial burden they could be inheriting in the future with the central government providing a 10-year interest free loan towards Peacocke.
They understand that growth is inevitable, but would like councillors to consider all demographics in the 10-year plan.
The two students both said councillors need to think about future growth when developing Hamilton and as keen cyclists, used cycle lanes in Hamilton as an example.
“I think cycling was sort of an after thought. Like they said ‘oh wow cycling is a thing’ so they just added cycling lanes to roads that can’t accommodate them instead of building roads with enough space for cycling lanes to be included,” Jimmy said.
Cendrine Pfister, a teacher of the course, agreed and said Hamilton is developing so quickly that the councillors do need to think ahead.
“Hamilton is exploding so quickly, they are just building to house everyone and they are not really thinking about the community and things that might be missing. I think Rototuna is a very good example of that,” Ms Pfister said.
“There is no sense of community, you don’t know your neighbours and you don’t come together as a community. There is nothing here drawing the community together.
“Rototuna grew so quickly and now we are only just noticing the problems now, the fact that Thomas Rd, you are in traffic no matter what time of the day and there is no community centre, just houses.”
Mia said the lack of community infrastructure in Rototuna makes it difficult to have things to do outside of the house.
“We can’t exactly go and hang out at the supermarkets,” Mia said.
The students said the councillors seem to be disconnected from youth at times and may benefit from their perspective.
“They are quite disconnected about what has been happening in other places around New Zealand where a lot of the places have the infrastructure older kids need,” Jimmy said.
“A lot of the stuff they are planning is more direct to adults or children, like the new playgrounds, but they don’t really think about those in between,” Mia said.
The students said the community hub is a step in the right direction for the suburb.
“The two ideas for the hub will be beneficial for our school and community, the pool and the library,” Mia said.
Mr Reding said the students have been involved in developing their own pieces of community infrastructure at the school which includes a playground and a bike track.
“This school has a history of giving back to the wider community and we would like to be involved as much as we can be.”
Rototuna High School students Mia Wilson and Jimmy Crawford spoke at Hamilton City Council’s 10-year plan hearings.