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Curtin transforms derelict Indian village site into educational playground

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Twenty students from Curtin University’s School of Built Environment recently returned to a northern Indian village to design and build an educational playground for village children.

The visit is part of a larger Lakhnu Village community development project that commenced in 2009 and will develop and construct sustainable housing and infrastructure to improve the education, employment and hygiene of the village and surrounding areas.

Project leader, Associate Professor Reena Tiwari said the collaborative project gave Curtin students the opportunity to develop skills to work as part of a multidisciplinary and multi-ethnic team, while also assisting a developing community.

“The visit allowed students to see the importance of working with a community to create a better standard of living for those that don’t have the resources to do so themselves”, Associate Professor Tiwari said.

“The teams also included a number of different disciplines such as urban planning, construction management, architecture, anthropology, media and cultural studies, to give students the opportunity to work together in the kind of team they may encounter when leaving university.”

Future visits will focus on providing better hygiene and educational facilities including the restoration and adaptive reuse of a 100-year-old abandoned building into a vocational training centre for the village girls.

The redevelopments were overseen by architectural history and cultural heritage experts, Professor John Stephens, Jake Schapper and Michael Phillips from Curtin’s School of Built Environment and were a collaboration with local Indian universities and the non-government organisation Indian Rural Education and Development.

Visits to Lakhnu over the last three years have collected considerable data on residential home construction, health and hygiene, education and infrastructure in the area. The research will monitor the impact the refurbished spaces have on the village and be published upon the project’s completion.

More information on the Lakhnu Village community development project can be found here.

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