Carnoustie High School Crowned Winning High Street Designer

19 December 2022

Scottish secondary school pupils unveil blueprint for future towns and cities.

Congratulations: The Carnoustie Carbon Initiative team impressed the judges with their eco-friendly car-less high street. The team comprised Elizabeth Garness, Lucy Fleming, Matthew Booth, Iona Cameron, Brodie Walsh and Andrew Turner.

The winning high street design for TechFest’s Blueprint Challenge: A Future High Street project was unveiled during a special online ceremony.

The winning team, Carnoustie Carbon Initiative from Carnoustie High School, impressed the judges with their inspirational, eco-friendly high street which would remove cars and instead see residents travel underground via a tram system powered by wind and wave energy. At ground level, cycle, skate and walking paths feature, offering serene plant-covered walls, an orchard and oak trees. The high street would also house a sensory garden and an eco-dome where residents can grow their own produce. And in a bid to capture the increasing volume of rainfall, an advanced drainage system gathers and re-uses rainwater from the permeable pavements.

The brief tasked pupils with bringing energy, technology and nature together to create future net zero urban areas using innovative technology to imagine a high street where buying your favourite products leads to more nature, not less. The students created diverse teams showcasing different skill sets such as engineering, architecture and art and design.

Supported by Bluewater – the London based private equity firm specialising in global energy – S5 and S6 students across Dundee, Moray, the Highlands and the North-east were invited to redesign their high street as part of the project before presenting their solutions to a panel of experts during the live final. Teams from Aberdeen, Carnoustie, Elgin and Fraserburgh took part.

Considerations such as how our high streets will be powered are essential to the energy mix of our future towns and cities and played an important role in this project. Judges were looking for ideas that tackled ‘modern problems’ such as architecture, power generation and consumption, economic stability, and wellbeing.

Dr Kirsty Mustard, principal teacher raising achievement/teacher of biology from Carnoustie High School said: “We are extremely proud of our TechFest team. They approached the task with great enthusiasm and demonstrated amazing commitment, teamwork and dedication. They worked extremely hard and made excellent use of the range of skills within the group. The task brought great insight into the high street challenges currently being faced and brought real meaning and relevance to their learning, A huge thank you to the TechFest team for inspiring our pupils.”

Sarah Chew, TechFest managing director said: “The designs were so inspirational and choosing a winner was extremely difficult for the judges. The students took the brief and really used their imagination to offer some fantastic ideas and solutions. As we move towards a more sustainable future, preserving the high street and equipping it for future generations is a fundamental part of securing our towns and cities for growth and expansion.”

Frazer Blyth, director and member of the ESG committee at Bluewater added: “It has been a pleasure to see these young minds tackle head on one of the biggest challenges our cities and towns face today. Their consideration for not just the retail experience, but also the environment and how humans interact with each other is to be commended. We have been delighted to partner with the amazing team at TechFest on this project and continue to support the important work they do with young people in Scotland.”

TechFest wishes to thank the School of Architecture at RGU for supporting the project and the judges for giving their time – Frazer Blyth, director and member of the ESG committee at Bluewater; Dr Gillian White, net zero consultant; Dr Quazi Zaman, architect, urban designer and lecturer at Robert Gordon University; Suzanne Rhind, strategic town centre’s executive and Moray Barber, head of tax at EY Aberdeen and owner of TEDx Aberdeen, and Sam Johnson, a fourth-year psychology student.

TechFest is an Aberdeen-based charity which aims to engage young people in the four main STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and encourage them to go on to follow a career which uses these skills by demonstrating that they are both fun and relevant in day-to-day life.

Each year, TechFest runs the highly popular TechFest festival which attracts tens of thousands of children and adults to a series of STEM-based events in and around Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire, as well as a year-round programme of educational events for schools and young people.

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