Week 19 « Designing Dublin: Learning to Learn

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Week 19 – Tara’s book club

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Tara introduced the comprehensive analysis of space entitled ‘The production of space’ by French sociologist and philosopher, Henry Lefebvre to the team today. Lefebvre’s hypothesis is that people and social situations produce space, and we are constantly creating these spaces everyday. There are three types of space; mental, which is the abstract notion of space; social, which are the worlds we create through social practice; and physical. Social and physical spaces feed into one another, for example the social space of the art world creates physical spaces such as galleries, studios and art shops.

Deeply philosophical, this work brought a number of topics to debate such as ‘society as spectacle’, the theory that we often are living an aspirational idea of life, rather than real life. Another controversial point was the three stages in making space, from ‘absolute space’ which is something without meaning, such as a well to ‘abstract space’ where a space is given quantifiable value through capitalism. Despite it’s complexity and deeply academic approach, Tara surmised the key points in a much more user-friendly fashion, helping us to understand the cycle of spaces, the relationship between City and space and how we can add to social structures.

Week 19 – Visit from The Studio

Friday, February 11th, 2011

The Studio, an innovation lab formed in Dublin City Council by three of the DCC members of the Designing Dublin 1.0 team and since joined by two more DCC staff members visited us on Friday to see how our project was developing. Returning the favour after our visit in Week 16, Lindsay and Vincent brought the through the three project stages; A. Growing awareness of the city, B. Improve the destination experience, C. Make the city sticky. Focusing on phase B, which will continue until early March, they explained the process of selecting the Markets area, the recent work on the site study and Open Days. Lastly, they wrapped up by sharing the recent 11 ‘lacks of…’ that have emerged, with each forming a project which will be prototyped over the coming weeks.

The Studio and Designing Dublin have close ties, given that one was born out of the success of the other. Since then, The Studio has gone on to establish itself within DCC, undertaking a number of exciting projects using the existing skills and resources of it’s staff. The sharing of knowledge, working methods and lessons from successes as well as failures, allows both groups to continue learning from one another as both The Studio and Designing Dublin progress.

Week 19 – Visit from Michael Rice

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Michael Rice, bio architect, expert in sacred geometry and general spiritual guru was our guest speaker on Wednesday afternoon. This combination of interests and beliefs propelled Michael to design buildings, which promote a more sustainable lifestyle. Making a powerful point, Michael asks of architecture why unsustainable buildings are designed. He believes that a successful design should show a measurable increase in life support and quality. Basing his theories in fundamental elements of the universe; cyma tics, wave lengths and fractals, Michael shared some compelling work and life lessons with the team. The importance of not taking ownership, that the body and mind should be used as receptors for creativity without owning it; knowing which path to take in life by going with the most tingly option, the one that makes you feel most alive; and the importance of maintaining a grounding and sensing all that is around you. At the end, Michael performed an enjoyable experiment in kinaesthetics on the strongest man in the room – Ciarán! Firstly, he tested Ciarán’s strength by pushing down on his outstretched arm, which Ciarán resisted with great force. Michael then moved Ciarán’s to what he hoped was his week spot in the room, beside the telephone. From this place, Ciarán could hardly resist the push of Michael on his arm!

Michael’s talk proved to be one of the most controversial amongst the team, with differences in opinion’s arising regarding the theories behind his architecture and life philosophies. A guest speaker who provokes debate has engaged the team, great success! Regardless, the team can take many life lessons away from his talk, a greater knowledge of the principles of bio architecture, as well as fascinating insights into a unique perspective on the world.

Week 19 – Visit from Charlie Lowe and Declan Wallace

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Charlie Lowe, DCC Area Manager for the Markets and Declan Wallace, DCC Assistant City Manager joined us on Tuesday morning to share their knowledge, advice and insights with the team. They are two key decision-makers in the Markets area, working closely with the community to develop initiatives on the ground and initiating regeneration plans, to ensure the long-term development of the area. Charlie and Declan’s unique perspective brought to light a number of issues, which we will now take into consideration as we develop our projects. They expressed a need to begin creating small, incremental change in the area rather than sudden large-scale change in the form of redevelopment plans; the difficulties arising with communication across the numerous DCC departments involved in the area and the desire to grow citizen initiatives in the area through appropriate channels.

Seeing the Markets area through the eyes of the City Council was enlightening. They operate in a tricky space, working for the citizen but often limited by bureaucracy, politics and financing. These constraints, along with breakdowns in communication, often lead to a suspicion of the motives of DCC. It is now our hope to address these issues in the Markets area through our projects, to find new ways that DCC can communicate with it’s citizens, to help them work more effectively in an area and to begin resolving the doubt citizen’s may have regarding their motives. What emerged most compellingly from the meetings were Charlie and Declan’s shared passion to improve the Markets area for the City. It’s now our challenge to see how we can smooth the path for DCC to work most effectively for the Markets area.

Week 19 – Advancing the 100 ideas

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

The team have produced 100 ideas for the Markets area, based on the site study research and conversations held during our open days. Now, the question turned towards which of these 100 ideas are the most appropriate for the Markets area? At this crucial stage, the team presented their process of distillation from the open day to the 100 ideas. Working through each group, the team pulled recurring themes and issues, such as the grab and go culture and the need for more unique services in the area. After hearing from each group, these issues were categorised and 11 common themes, or ‘lacks of…’ emerged:
A. Lack of safety
B. Lack of communication
C. Lack of identity & vision
D. Lack of community
E. Lack of wayfinding
F. Lack of facilities
G. Lack of ease to start a business
H. Lack of knowing the system of the area
I. Lack of ownership &citizenship
J. Lack of linkages
K. Lack of fun & lightness
L. Lack of diversity & vibrancy

Each theme or ‘lack of…’ is a potential project and will be prototyped over the coming weeks. With these themes in place, the team then had to get their elbows out and fight for guardianship of their desired theme! Under each theme, relevant issues, which we had heard in the Open Days, were added to give focus to the theme. These issues are essential to bear in mind as the work progresses, as they are what we heard directly from the people of the Market’s area.
Working individually, we then matched appropriate ideas both from the recent group 100 ideas task and an individual 100 ideas task undertaken in the first weeks of the project. The team are now getting to know and understand the project under their guardianship, and will begin spending time seeing the bigger picture, designing the system and finding scale in the project, before starting small by prototyping a solution in the Markets area.