By Ebonnie Knight

During the past term, the Year 7s were given the task of rebuilding the Fremantle Port into a liveable city to include all people. Our idea of “perfect” was always something we had to think about during this project, as we had read ‘The Giver’ in English, which is about a utopian society. My group focused on what tourism on the port could look like. We were initially going to build an underwater viewpoint where the marine wildlife would not be in tanks. Through research, we came to the realisation that an underwater viewpoint would not be a profitable tourism investment since we already have places like AQUA in Perth. Therefore, we pivoted our idea to a fine dining experience with underwater views of a shipwreck, with native wildlife thriving around it. This area would also have conference spaces for people and small businesses to rent out.  By doing this, we would be providing facilities to the community that would have multiple uses for all kinds of people to enjoy.

For the duration of Project Utopia, we used the ASC Capabilities to broaden our thinking. The Capabilities allowed us to work productively to make a positive difference as they provided us with skills that can be used in all aspects of life. Project Utopia was a real-life group project where these capabilities could come into play.

ASC Capabilities

Problem-Solving -Through my experience in this project, my group and I had to solve many problems. We had to think about how we would create a place where everyone is welcome. We had to find ways to come as close to perfect as possible and with that comes challenges. One big problem we had to solve, was the fact that we thought that we would be able to use a filtration system known as osmosis which would filter the river water as it has chemicals. Through more research, we learnt that to use osmosis you need a net of some sort, and we would not be able to do that as it is a river mouth where animals and boats need to pass through. So, we had to think of something fast as this was close to the end of our project. We found our Science teacher, Mr J, who helped us to problem-solve. We thought of things that we could use that would have multiple benefits to the wildlife and that’s when we thought of regenerating seaweed and seagrass. One thing I learned about problem-solving is that you must keep trying and be determined to reach the goal you have set.

Here we are discussing the creative options to include in our design.

Creativity– Creativity also played a large part in our project. This was because we did not want to recreate an environment already available in Perth if it would not be of any benefit to the community. Instead, we wanted to create a unique facility that suits the needs of the people. Therefore, we made it have multiple uses to provide more opportunities for the people of the area. We also thought outside of the box when we were creating a more sustainable building. To do this we put a rooftop garden on top of the building to clean the air as well as make the entrance appealing and set the mod of the venue. Creativity is always important in design because as humans we are picky and don’t like everything to be the same.

This photo was captured when one of our visitors was helping us find a good floor plan for our restaurant.

Resilience– In this process my group I had experienced many challenges, during this project. But through this we learnt that letting that put us down would not work well, instead, it would just waste much needed time.  This meant that we had to be resilient and find a way to turn a problem into a more defined idea or find a new idea. An example of when we had to be resilient was when we were thinking about sea life and how we could best benefit it. We thought that you would be able to put a coral reef into the riverbed as it is saltwater. We did a little research on this as we thought that the reef would be able to survive in the river mouth. This was difficult to overcome as we had to redesign the whole underwater scene. But we overcame this and had a positive and resilient mindset. 

working effectively and efficiently.

Effective Communication– It was important that my group and I were always communicating effectively and keeping one another in the loop with new or developed ideas. As well as having organised files where the whole group could access the research. At the start of this project, some members of my group were not cooperating with the rest of the group. But what I learned from this, is that it’s a good idea that when working on a concept, that you write down what each person’s task would be for the duration of the project. This would not mean that just they would work on it, but everyone could still provide ideas towards the task.

Livability & Sustainability

This project was all about creating a liveable place for people in a community that would be sustainable for all. When creating a restaurant, it was difficult to find a way to make it liveable and sustainable at the same. This is where my group and I had to think outside of the box to create a place for people to use for entertainment, as well as work.

 We created a multiuse area to assist with livability as when working in a small area like the Fremantle Port you need to compact your areas while creating a welcoming environment. Another way we increased the livability was by making the menu more child friendly at breakfast and lunch. This would make it more livable as the whole family would be included. Livability plays a big part when designing an area that includes all elements of work live and play. This creates an environment that can supply the needs of the community.

this was a drawing of our underwater restaurant and conference spaces.

The way that we incorporated sustainability into our design was by creating a new home for the natural sea life. We did this by rehabilitating the river mouth bed. Some of the things we put in the riverbed were multiple kinds of seaweed and seagrass. This would help filter the water as well as provide food and homes for the small fish.  We also found a way to clean the air a little bit more by creating a rooftop garden to filter the air as there are lots of machines in the area and that would create toxins in the atmosphere. Although a little garden would not do a lot, it would still filter the air and make the world a better place.

During this project, I learned that it is important to have a unique space for all people as well as having a nice balance to ensure that the facility is welcoming and not too overwhelming.

Public Speaking

This is a small segment of my public speaking presentation.

I quite enjoy public speaking, But I still push myself and there is always room to improve. One area that I feel I need to work on is my body language as well as my facial expressions. This is something that I should have practised more of that I did not do. Instead, I was more focused on my speech and not the whole presentation. I feel that I should have been more aware of my strengths and weaknesses. Now I have grown and learnt from it but I know that in my next oral presentation I will have to find a better balance between my oral presentation and physical presentation. Because your body language says more than the words that you speak. I am aware of my mistakes and know where I need to improve.  I am proud of how I presented but there is still room for improvement.

Lessons Learnt During Project Utopia

 I found that Project Utopia was an engaging project that helped me to learn about how the world runs. I enjoyed how we got to go on an excursion to the Fremantle Port to get an image of what the future space could look like. I also enjoyed the way that we got to work in a more hands-on atmosphere. As personally, I learn best from hands-on and real-life activities. At the start of this project, my group was not collaborating as well as it could of, I feel that we would have benefited if the whole group contributed more at the start of this project. Although it was frustrating, I leant that some people don’t work as well as others in a group and that is where you must show that you will all work together and come up with a unique idea, like the underwater restaurant we came up with.

 I really grew from this opportunity as I was able to work on my strengths and weaknesses. I discovered more about myself through my learning. I learnt that I have to work in the moment and not get stressed out about the future. I learnt that I am quite a controlling person, but with this, I also learnt to relax and not be in control all the time. I learned to have a more positive mindset when going into a large project like Project Utopia. All of these strategies I can use for the rest of my life. This was an amazing experience and I hope to continue to work on my weaknesses so that I can be the best me in a working environment.

Final product-