Winner for the 12-15 category
"My favourite part of the competition was editing images of Usk and seeing how some relatively small changes could make a huge difference to how the town functions."
Freddie Howells (aged 12) from Caerleon Comprehensive, Newport in South Wales
Observations of South Wales
I live in Usk, a small town in South Wales, of around 3000 people. The main street, Bridge Street, is made up of pubs, cafes, shops and houses, but with no parking bays and very narrow pavements which make it very dangerous for mothers with buggies or elderly people. As there is no parking, delivery vans often have to mount the pavement to deliver to shops, blocking the way for pedestrians and traffic and creating tailbacks. This has created a problem with air pollution on the main street causing a problem for anyone who suffers with asthma like myself.
Ideas on improving the main street
My idea to improve our main street is to change Bridge Street into a shared space, taking away the pavements and road markings so cars and pedestrians share the road which makes drivers slow down and be more cautious as there is no set space for pedestrians so they have to go carefully. This would make more space for pedestrians and vehicles and by encouraging cafes to add outdoor seating in the wider areas, it would slow the traffic down even more and encourage more people to use the high street.
Reducing the air pollution
I would like to do something to reduce air pollution and improve the look of Bridge Street, so I would plant grass roofs on suitable buildings and some planters containing plants to improve oxygen levels and reduce carbon dioxide, as well as making the street more attractive and calming for pedestrians and drivers. A street that appears calm and relaxing should improve driving behaviour.
I live in a town which is by a river and in a part of the UK which gets a lot of rainfall but which we don't utilise. I would like to incorporate some form of rainwater harvesting for all the properties along the main street. This could be used to reduce water consumption and minimise volume of water consumed with any excess used to generate hydro-power.