Year 12 VET Community Services students gained insights into Design Thinking this afternoon when they attended a panel session titled ‘Empathy in the City’ hosted by CityStudio Bendigo at the La Trobe Art Institute.

Developed in Vancouver Canada, CityStudio is an immersive course that takes students outside the classroom to work with local council, community and La Trobe University to make places more sustainable, liveable and joyful.

This year BSSC students will work closely with La Trobe University Bendigo students to problem solve and co-create solutions to the question of Dining Differently: What are the ingredients for a post-COVID recovery?

Today’s session, hosted by lecturer in Community Planning and Development, Melissa Kennedy, featured Psychologist and Behavioural Scientist Professor Pauleen Bennett, Visual Artist Dr Andrew Goodman and City Planner and academic Dr Kiran Shinde, discussing how we create social spaces that are inclusive, safe, versatile and, above all, empathetic, particularly in cities where demographics are changing and becoming more diverse.

The conversation touched on how we find a balance between the function of cities and the need for natural environments, how we deal with issues of heritage in a changing society, and working with the traditional owners of the land our cities are built on.

Students will develop and test experimental projects to engage local businesses and community around expanding outdoor dining possibilities and revitalising urban spaces. In listening to the City from multiple perspectives, students will need to think deeply and creatively around a range of issues such as placemaking and public spaces, urban revitalisation and entrepreneurship, public health and wellbeing, inclusivity and access, smart cities and Bendigo as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy.

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