Week 24 « Designing Dublin: Learning to Learn

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Thank you volunteers!

Friday, March 18th, 2011

The Designing Dublin team wish to thank the 30 plus volunteers who have been helping us turn ideas into prototypes! Through your energy, enthusiasm and optimism you have ignited the projects. You are proof that the City is full of talented people. The future looks bright for Dublin! Thank you!

Week 24 – Book club with John

Friday, March 18th, 2011

This week in Book Club, John presented with much gusto, three books – ‘Recycle’ by Moira and Nicholas Hankinson; ‘In search of Myths and Heroes’ by Michael Wood; and ‘505 Great Leaders, Scientists, Inventors, Sports People, Stage Performers’ by Robert Frederick. Recycle is a handy inventory of furniture designs which can be created using recycled materials, such as bed spring candle holders and a bird feeder made from an old log. These quirky designs show the potential in unwanted or disposable products and are relevant to the work John and Una are doing at the moment on safety and navigation.

‘In search of Myths and Heroes’ is based on a BBC television series and follows historian Michael Woods as he journeys to remote places on earth in search of the truth behind four myths – Shangri-La, Jason and the Golden Fleece, the Queen of Sheba and King Arthur. Finally, ‘505 Great Leaders, Scientists, Inventors, Sports People, Stage Performers’ picks out people who have made their mark on history and gives the reader a small bio on each. John’s smorgasbord of books was refreshing and created a curiosity amongst the team to uncover further insights, well done John!

Week 24 – Prototyping highs and lows!

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

A number of projects underwent an initial testing phase this week, with prototypes hitting streets and venues in the Market’s Area! The response to the testing of the prototypes brought to light the urgent need for these projects in the area, with the team members taking many learning’s away for both themselves and the group. Tara and her ‘Lack of ownership’ project tested bringing people of the area together to design pieces of public furniture around their favourite plant, which will then be fabricated and installed near the designer’s house for a week. Shane and Mary and their projects, ‘Lack of linkages’ and ‘Lack of appeal’ hosted a meeting of over 40 key stakeholders involved in creativity. They discussed how creativity can be grown in the area, found ideas for projects which will transform the Market’s area through creativity and linked these ideas with the people who would be interested in carrying them out.

The remaining projects are racing towards prototype! Nuala is busy photographing people, Lindsay is taking video recordings of people, Eimear is stalking down a vacant premise, Vincent is meeting health and safety requirements, Una and John are hammering out logistics and Ciaran is laying the foundation for his prototype. The projects are on the right track and will come to life in the next two weeks!

Week 24 – Visit from Neil McCabe

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Neil McCabe, a Dublin City Fire Fighter and champion of the world’s first carbon neutral fire station joined us on Wednesday. Over four years ago, Neil set about boosting the morale in Kilbarrack fire station by refurbishing the station. However, with a shortage of funding, he realised that the only way to refurbish the fire station would be if it paid for itself. This set him on a path of researching during the day while working the night shift to draw up a green plan and define seven themes for sustainability towards creating a carbon neutral fire station. The target Neil set for the project was to adopt technology and best practice, include local business and economy and involve the community. In the four years since then, the fire station has noted an 80% reduction in it’s carbon footprint. It’s the world’s first fire station to put out fires with rain water, treated shower and bathroom water. It’s the world’s first fire station to begin trading carbon stock with businesses. It’s the first in Ireland to use a biodiesel mix in the fire engines. It also houses 1,000 bats in bat houses, several beehives, a commemorative garden, vegetable allotments. These are just a small number of changes Neil has achieved in the fire station to date.

What is most remarkable is the effect that this project has had on the people involved in the project – the fire fighters, the local businesses and local community. It rejuvenated the morale amongst fire fighters, brought retired fire fighter’s back into the station who are now actively seeking projects to work on in other fire stations; local businesses have adopted to provide new carbon neutral technology and equipment and employment rates are up; a number of outreach projects to the community have provided education in biodiversity and awareness of the dangers of fires; the Kilbarrack area in general is enjoying the fruits of biodiversity – with bees pollinating plants, swarms of butterflies and greater range of birds and insects. This project has not only transformed the fire station, but has rejuvenated the Kilbarrack area and has the scale to effect fire stations and communities nationwide.

Neil’s work is the flagship project for the DCC Sustainability Report 2010. It shows how everything is in our own hands, we can improve conditions for others and ourselves, and each contribution adds to Dublin. The project is a template for how other fire stations can work.

Neil’s mantra for the project was – think it out, involve the unexpected and create change, wise words from an extraordinary man!

Week 24 – Interview with New York journalist

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Rich Bailey, a New York based freelance writer who worked on the revitalisation and sustainable development strategy for Chatanooga in Tennessee, joined us in studio today. He interviewed John, Nuala and Eimear, spent some time soaking in the studio atmosphere and took in a brisk walk of the Markets Area for an article he is writing on Designing Dublin! Rich contributes to a number of US magazines focusing on urban spaces, planning and community development. It is a wonderful opportunity for Designing Dublin to spread it’s approach and spark conversations about how best to grow rich, layered and happy Cities!