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Showcase 2023 Student Spotlight: Josh Packham

Student Spotlight featuring BA (Hons) Product Design student, Josh Packham and his project, Flood Reduction Environmental Drainage Solution (FREDs).

Render of a speed bump on a main road

The project

The project began when Josh's foot got wet from a puddle that had formed after a couple of hours of rainfall while walking home. He began to look at why cities flood and if there was a way to stop this from happening.

FREDs is designed to tackle flooding in city centres where natural alternatives aren’t viable. The run off from the rain channels itself into roads where the tarmac prevents the water from infiltrating into the soil below. This is where run off becomes pluvial flooding. The solution is a speedbump that drains water away into a filter drain below the surface. On top of minimising flood risk, the use of a speed bump also allows an at grade crossing for pedestrians and makes the street safer by managing car speeds.

Render of a speed bump on a main road

The inspiration behind the project

Aside from wanting dry feet, Josh's work was inspired by two fronts. Firstly, the ambitious designs produced by todays leading urban designers such as Thomas Hetherwick. Looking into these projects and understanding them began to dictate the direction of the project. He particularly made note of how they design for people in space and the needs of pedestrians.

Secondly, the swelling movement from communities online who discuss the opportunities of a car free environment. The data suggests, to an overwhelming degree, that private motor vehicles being the dominant form of transport is highly detrimental to the people who live in within a place. Researching the issue inspired Josh to be a part of this change in how all citizens can live in their urban environment.

Over the course of this degree I have identified the specialist areas of design that I wish to work further in. This project allowed me to start that journey of full exploration and to bury myself in the work for 6 months. Even with this project not being traditional to product design, the tutors I had were very happy to support me throughout and direct me to lecturers on other courses who were better skilled to answer the more specific questions. This project took me from Architecture to Civil Engineering and all departments were very welcoming.
Render of a speed bump on a main road

Being part of NTU

While at NTU Josh has made the most of being at university. The course was great for helping him to find what he wanted to do after he graduates, and the tutors are very warm and encourage thinking a little differently. Outside of this he has been on the committee for Film Society twice with one year spent as President.

Access to these experiences and opportunities has allowed him to develop course specific skills, such as sketching, manufacture and review, but also skills not specific to the course such as public speaking, presenting, time management and critical thinking.

Josh's most memorable moment at NTU is tricky to narrow it down to just the one but from by time on the course, what he will remember for a long while is a final year trip they took to Amsterdam. It was a great way to reintroduce themselves to course mates they hadn’t seen since the start of COVID and get away from university work for a couple of days.

Render of a speed bump on a main road

Closing remarks

BA Product Design is a great course to help you find your future. The tutors will allow you to design almost anything which gives students a great amount of freedom. Additionally, if Product Design is something you don’t have much experience in, the course will help you develop fundamental skills that you can build on across the years you are enrolled.

Finally, taking a placement year is a great way to see how industry operates. What you learn in a placement year can really help ground any project work in your final year and, sometimes, you can use these contacts for advice/ resources when working on your self-directed project.

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