Secondary Students to Redesign the High Street

7 September 2022

Blueprint Challenge: A Future High Street gives pupils the opportunity to refresh their towns

Senior secondary school pupils across Dundee, Moray, the Highlands, the North-east have been challenged to redesign high streets across the country as part of TechFest’s latest project, Blueprint Challenge: A Future High Street.

Supported by Bluewater, the London based specialist private equity firm focussed on global energy, the task asks S5 and S6 students to create a space that allows society to thrive while celebrating the natural world at the same time.

Pupils will be asked to bring energy, technology and nature together to create a high street which uses innovative technology to create future Net Zero urban areas which encourage nature to grow.  Considerations such as how the high street will be powered are essential to the energy mix of our future towns and cities and will play an important role in this project.

Schools have until September 9 to register a team ahead of the project launch on September 12.

Teams will work together to create a project summary by the end of November, followed by a presentation day in December, when they will showcase their solutions to a panel of experts.

Students are encouraged to create diverse teams showcasing different skill sets as the project spans a range of different disciplines including engineering, architecture, art and design and health and wellbeing.

The task challenges pupils to “imagine a high street where buying your favourite products leads to more nature, not less, where natural wealth is celebrated and economy thrives, where the air you breath is pure and fresh, and birdsong no longer competes with traffic”.

Sarah Chew, managing director of TechFest, said: “The city high street plays a unique and fundamental role in today’s society. It’s more than just a place to shop, the high street is also an area of cultural, social and economic importance. However, it is a sad fact that most high streets are poorly equipped to address the threats that urbanisation places on natural resources, ecosystems and the climate.

“If left unchecked, this places a very real threat on our overall wellbeing and the future of our planet. We must work together as champions of nature to create urban spaces that work for both people and the planet in order to ensure their long-term viability.

“Alongside the project supporter Bluewater and our panel, we are looking forward to challenging the pupils to come up with clever solutions and seeing what they come up with.”

Participants will be supported with a series of online webinars with industry professionals and the chance to ask questions.

They will also have access to a series of TechFest Talks podcasts with guests including Net Zero consultant Gillian White, Quazi Zaman, an urban designer at Robert Gordon University, consultant psychiatrist Olga Runcie and Kate Pangbourne, an associate professor at the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds.

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.

For more details and to register a team for the Blueprint Challenge, please visit:

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