University of Galway and Queen’s University Belfast have joined forces on a new cross-border initiative in education and spatial planning with secondary school students and local authorities.
The project involved geography staff and students at Presentation College, Athenry and Holy Rosary College, Mountbellew, as well as New-Bridge Integrated College, Banbridge, Co. Down and The Royal School in Armagh.
It saw students and staff carry out a number of spatial planning and surveying exercises in the four locations across Galway and in the North, with guidance from planning staff.
It was supported by the planning departments of Galway County Council and Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.
The aim of this joint project was to link spatial planning to second and third level teaching, to improve the teaching and learning experience for teachers and students.
While statutory planning is predominantly about land use planning, it also encompasses economic, environmental, and social dimensions of sustainability.
Dr Therese Conway, Director of the MA Rural Futures Planning and Innovation at University of Galway, said that this exchange is an invaluable learning experience for both staff and students.
“For university and school teaching staff it allows for an exchange on teaching methods and for the school students it allows that to get a taster for what geography and spatial planning are like as subjects at university, what options there are for careers in this area and how geography and planning matter in real world contexts,” said Dr Conway.