Week 16 « Designing Dublin: Learning to Learn

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Week 16 – Ciarán’s book review

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

Our first official book review took place this Friday. Ciarán was first of the team members up, presenting his selection for the week – Man Watching: A Field Guide to Human Behaviour by Desmond Morris. A classic book on society and behaviours, he delves into the various gestures we use daily and explains their inferred meaning. Through our body movements, we subconsciously reveal our attitudes, desires and innermost feelings. Ciarán led us through the levels of actions Morris defines, from Inborn Actions, which are actions we do not have to learn, such as infants feeding to Absorbed Actions, which are actions we acquire unknowingly from our companions, such as winking. Also exploring gestures and signals, Morris explains these in great detail. Understanding people, empathy and reading signals to gain insights is a crucial element of our work in Designing Dublin, making Man Watching a wonderful start to our book club!

Week 16 – Markets Area – site study

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Last week, we decided on the Markets Area as our working area for engaging people, testing ideas and developing strategies and recommendations, to create long-term positive change. Why? Our research told us it was a hotbed of potential! We began the site study last week with Ronni Tino, our resident technology expert. He helped us to get our bearings in the area by observing and developing intuitive responses for the area.
The challenge this week was to conduct a site study of the Markets Area in order to better understand the area, its assets and its potentials. The following topics have been explored as part of the site study:

A. People
B. Movement
C. History
D. Community
E. Existing plans
F. Regulations
G. Built environment
H. Enterprise
I. Work, live and play
J. Informal use of the built environment
K. Sustainability

The team have been out for the week from early morning to late at night, exploring these topics individually. They have been meeting people, gaining contacts, photographing interactions, mapping building uses, conducting desk research and visiting libraries, bringing the information back to the studio and sharing it with the team. With our understanding of the area growing, we have begun to see potential designs, such as creating life in the alley-ways that will lead to the river and opening the markets between 4am and 9am, similar to Covent Gardens The quirkiest things we found out about the markets are also available to listen to in this short audio clip:
 

Week 16 – Visiting The Studio

Friday, January 21st, 2011

On Friday, we were delighted to visit The Studio in Dublin City Council for a presentation of their work to date. The studio was founded in September 2009 by three of the DCC members of the Designing Dublin 1.0 team, Deirdre Ni Ragallaigh, Sarah Scannell and Jeremy Wales, they were also joined by Pauline Riordan, a DCC planner. Their challenge is to bring the working methods of Designing Dublin into an organisational setting, to identify, communicate, encourage and facilitate innovation in DCC. Using the mantra of “an idea is not innovative, until it is acted on”, they have set about turning ideas into action. For Innovation Dublin, they exhibited in the walkway of the civic offices a selection of existing projects from DCC that are working in new ways – improving the City for its users and producing a definite product. It’s a simple and powerful idea, as communication is a challenge within DCC and many staff members may not have been aware of the exciting work being undertaken in different departments.

Currently, The Studio has set its sights on a ‘turning ideas into action’ campaign. Gathering over 300 ideas from DCC staff, they are now sifting through these ideas to find the ones with potential, which they will then lend support and backing to. The Studio is still in very early stages, with most innovation units requiring a number of years to establish themselves, yet they are already beginning to provoke change, challenging staff to consider ‘soft’ options, encouraging new initiatives and sharing knowledge across the 6,000 person large organisation.

Week 16 – Visit from Paul Kearns

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Paul Kearns, co-author of a provocative book about Dublin City, entitled Redrawing Dublin joined us in the studio today to discuss the project. Redrawing Dublin shares with its readers the personal journey, undertaken by Kearns, a senior planner in Dublin City Council and Motti Ruimy, with a background in fine art and architecture, as they ask questions of the City in an attempt to broaden the debate about Dublin and the importance of Cities in modern life.

Bringing together mapping, graphics, photography and statistics to illustrate thoughtful essays on how Dublin City works, doesn’t work and could work, they have amassed a goldmine of information about the City. Focusing on the qualities and potential of Dublin’s Inner City to provide city-living for its users, they question how the City is developed; “When you rail against the visibility of taller buildings, but are silent on the invisibility of poor-quality, high-density apartment design”. They mix these hard-hitting statements with more quirky assessments, such as the architecture of the urban brownie, which compares the price, weight and dimensions of various City Centre brownies; and guidelines for improving urban planning, such as The Ten Commandments of ‘Thou shalt not increase apartment size’.

Kearns and Ruimy have not just built a new language of intriguing and indicative terms, combined powerful imagery with insightful essays, they have begun questioning the City and as result questioning its citizens.
Why do we develop houses and apartment blocks as we do?
Why aren’t we addressing the inner-City issues?
Why are we as citizens of the City not demanding or creating change?
Let the debate begin!!

Week 16 – 100 Exciting Things in DCC Atrium

Monday, January 17th, 2011

100 exciting things you didn’t know about the city centre is on show once again, for first-timers, urban addicts and sceptics alike!! It will be exhibited in the Dublin City Council Atrium from Monday 17th January to Friday 28th January between 9am and 5pm on workdays only. It will not be open at the weekends. Please call down, explore the exhibition, pick up a map and share with us any exciting things we missed.

We have learned from the first exhibition that the people of Dublin would love further information regarding the location of the 100 Exciting Things. We have created a Google Map with all of the information, so now it is easier than ever to go, enjoy the City!

View 100 exciting things you didn’t know about the city centre in a larger map.