Week 20 « Designing Dublin: Learning to Learn

Archive for the ‘Week 20’ Category

Week 20 – Linnea’s book club

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Linnea brought three books to the book club this Friday – ‘Glimmer ‘by Warren Berger, ‘The uncommon life of common objects’ by Akiko Busch and ‘Delusions of gender’ by Cordelia Fine. The varied selection fitted nicely with her interests in design and feminism. One of the best prepared book clubs to date, Linnea began with ‘Glimmer’, which is a must-read for this project. Berger’s book on how you can apply design thinking to wicked problems in the business, social and personal world. There are 10 key principles to successfully change design which are shown in action, using examples from the work of Bruce Mau, Yves Behar and Dean Kamen. These 10 principles are excellent for the team to be aware of and provides context to the work we do everyday. Secondly, Linnea brought us through the evolution of the telephone, how it has changed how we communicate and it’s growing range of functions intertwining with everyday life, in Busch’s book on ‘The uncommon life of common objects’.

The final book ‘Delusions of gender’, gave great insights into how our understanding of the world and gender are formed from birth. Rubbishing the science behind theories that male and female brains differ, Fine proves that we are affected by stereotyping from a very young age through subliminal messages and associative memory. There are no differences in the capabilities of the male and female brain, it is hardwired to do anything and learns from everything around it. A well-prepared, diverse selection of books with interesting topics and talking points, Linnea has set the bar very high for the next book club!

Week 20 – Understanding the ‘Lacks of…’
and marrying projects

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

This week was all about the team pushing their ‘lacks of…’ to new places. Working individually on each of the 11 ‘lacks of…’ themes around which we are developing projects in the Markets area, the first task was to understand where the lack of came from. For this the team went back to what people in the Market’s area had said, pulling relevant quotes and conversations. Next, the big idea or vision for the project was selected by understanding the existing system around which the project is framed and the direction with the most potential. Finally the concept for the project was defined, with the short-term goal to be reached in March. Key to this stage of work was to keep the voices of the people close, to start anywhere and to use the research material we have already gathered. Interestingly, each team member approached their ‘lacks of…’ in different ways, with frequent presentation and feedback sessions to ensure all ‘lacks of…’ stay on track, are moving in the right direction and growing in depth.

It is an exciting stage of the project. With each ‘lack of…’ just finding it’s legs, we are mindful of giving the projects the structure and room to develop into strong, clear and relevant projects. Every ‘lack of…’ holds a piece of the Markets area puzzle! With this in mind, we teamed a number of the ‘lack of’ projects on Thursday afternoon. Some marriages were matches made in heaven, while other team members felt they were somewhat forced into wedlock! Not to worry however, the marriages are just a way of helping team members support one another, bounce ideas off and prototype together if overlaps occur. By next Wednesday, each ‘lack of..’ will be a fully formed project with a clear structure, vision and stages to prototype. The projects will all be tested in the Market’s area from the first week in March so keep a look out! In the meantime, the team will continue digging, having a-ha moments and nurturing their ‘lacks of…’ as they become projects capable of running long after ‘Love the City’ wraps up.

Week 20 – Visit from Maser

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Maser; graffiti artist, urban lover and champion of Dublin joined us on Wednesday to inspire the team as we give shape to the 11 ‘lacks of…’ in the Markets area. Maser has offered a lot of love to Dublin City; it’s identity and vibrancy. In return, Dublin has given him characters and stories to last a lifetime! Returning to Dublin after many years of travelling changed his perspective on the City and spurred him on to begin sending positive messages to Dubliners about the City with the project ‘Urban Lover’. Urban Lover featured taglines such as ‘Maser loves u’, ‘Urban achiever’ and ‘Eye feel this cities love’ placed in thousands of locations throughout the City.

Using the streets as a canvas has grown Maser’s affinity with homeless people, who use the streets as their home. The process of creating a piece of graffiti often means he spends long periods of time with homeless people in the City. The conversations and interactions he has with this frequently ignored section of society began a journey to fund raise enough money to pay for a much needed medical van for Dublin Simon Community. Maser contacted Damien Dempsey, a Dublin musician, and together they created ‘They Are Us’, a series of public art works inspired by Dublin City. Dempsey provided the lyrics and Maser transposed them onto the City. ‘They Are Us’ probes the mistakes of Dublin, highlights the good in the City and inspires Dubliners to rise above their challenges. The project succeeded in raising over €29,000 for the Dublin Simon Community.

Maser is a genuine champion of Dublin, holding up a mirror to where we are, inspiring a mood of positivity and taking initiative to create much needed  change for Dublin’s marginalised. How can we provoke all Dubliner’s to love the City like Maser does? His sage advice was to love yourself first. Love yourself Dublin!

Week 20 – Working session with Mary-Ann Harris

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Dublin City Council’s biodiversity officer, Mary-Ann Harris, joined us on Tuesday to help the team see their ‘lacks of…’ projects through the lens of biodiversity. Mary-Ann and the team braved the weather to walk the Market’s area and better understand the types of biodiversity in the area, spot signs of wildlife and find how it could be improved upon. Biodiversity is defined as the measure of a given species in an area. In the Market’s area, we learned there are very few places where species can prosper. A graveyard and an abandoned site provide amongst the richest biodiversity in the area. There are also a number of playgrounds, however these are not connected to other green spaces. This lack of connectivity is a critical issue – it means the animals can’t move from one area to another safely or easily to grow in population. Mary-Ann pointed out to the team that a healthy ecosystem with good connections is more desireable than a fragmented system with specific biodiversity sites. The importance of biodiversity in the City and having meaningful open space for the mental health of citizens also came to light. Walking the Markets area along with Mary-Ann showed how inhospitable the area is to wildlife and the potential biodiversity has to foster a more liveable City.