Lin « Designing Dublin: Learning to Learn

Archive for the ‘Lin’ Category

Listening to what we heard

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Last week all the street engagement teams gave presentations to the whole group about their experience of talking to people and what they heard. It was interesting to hear about the different perspectives and opinions the team had heard. Something that struck me was just how diverse the things people told us were. Shane mentioned how one person might say something along the lines of “great sense of community here, people are very friendly”, and the next person might say “its gotten very isolated here, people just keep to themselves”. It reminds us of the complexity that we are trying to tackle. Sometimes it is bewildering to try to understand all the layers and components that make up the city, and even a smaller area. The level of sensitivity needed to come up with appropriate and interesting solutions when distilling material collected from talking to people is huge.

With this in mind, the team have tried to get to the bottom of what it is we have been told by the people in the area, and then following this, come up with ideas on what we could do to tackle the things people want tackled.

I worked with Shane and Nuala to look at the range of ideas that had come up. We then tried to group the ideas, to get an understanding of what elements of the area we were proposing possible positive (oooh alliteration) changes for. We came up with roughly 14 categories. This way the ideas are linked in what might be possible interesting or useful combinations. Or, for example, under the events category, we might say what event here might have potential for helping reinforce a sense of community…

Typography and Graphic Identity

Friday, February 4th, 2011

One of my favourite things in the Markets Area is looking at the old and often hand painted signs in the area. I think there is something fascinating about how these signs convey a very interesting visual identity in the area. There is not necessarily a continuity to the signs, but it got me thinking about identity and Irish identity in particular. There is something very real in terms of identity in these signs, to me, that might be useful when thinking of “Irish” design…?

Site Study – Enterprise and Retail

Friday, February 4th, 2011

The theme under which I was tasked with Site Study was Enterprise and Retail.

I went out to look at the types of businesses that are in the area, taking notes and photographs as I went. As I went about my investigations, I began to wonder about how we could measure the effect that our project might have…

The types of businesses in the area is centered around the economic activity of the market, so there is lots of fruit and veg wholesale and retail. As you look around the market building itself, there is Brendan’s Cafe. Towards the Capel St. side there is more variety in the enterprise, for example along Mary’s Lane and Mary’s Abbey we have Tattoo Studio, CycleBike and MCR, as well as the Laundrette.

There were some little surprises along the way as well, I never knew there was an architecture firm in the area:

or a hot desking space, AmWorks, on Anglesea Row. Just goes to show what you might find in an area if you keep your eyes and ears open.

During my research I talked to one or two people, mainly people who work in the markets. The overall feeling from what they said is that there is less work now, with lots of empty stalls in the market building. They also talked about how cold it was to work there, seeing as the building was built to stay cool to preserve the fruit and veg.

I also got thinking about what we could measure in an attempt to track the impact we have on the area:

  • money (revenue in the area)
  • footfall (our good friend footfall)
  • vacant stalls/properties
  • pop-up/start up businesses
  • variety of goods and services

Book Club!

Monday, January 24th, 2011

As you may have read on the main blog, this year Designing Dublin has instated its book club. Im really excited about this interesting way to share knowledge and interests among the team. Also going to be very exciting to have a dedicated little library of books to dip into.

The first book we looked at was “Redrawing Dublin” by Paul Kearns and Motti Ruimy.

Lindsay shared his insights from reading the book with us. A lot of very interesting imagery, such as whiting out all the cars in the Dublin Caste car park, or imagining what it would be like if there was green space in the derelict site near Smithfield Luas stop. Also some great interviews with people on their experiences living in Dublin, including Dick Gleeson, Mick Wallace and Bertie Ahern. It was felt what we could learn most from the book was using imagery to represent information in attractive and convincing ways. Also some useful maps of Census 2006 data helped us to visualize the city in new ways.

The second book for our book club was “Manwatching – A Field Guide to Human Behaviour” by Desmond Morris.

This book was published in 1978. Desmond Morris explores human behaviour and how our body language is very telling of what is going on internally. Actions, for example, are divided into categories such as ‘inborn actions’ (actions we dont have to learn), ‘discovered actions’ (actions we discover for ourselves), ‘absorbed actions’ (actions we unknowingly learn from others), and so on. He also identifies things like the twenty basic ways of moving from place to place. This book might help the Designing Dublin team in being more aware of looking at how people behave and interact, and perhaps in identifying body language clues when we are talking to people.

Working Area – The Markets

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Already two weeks back after our break! Hard to believe. Time has been spent trying to evaluate our chosen possible working areas, and narrow them down to more manageable chunks of the City. Lots of discussion went on about on the merits and potential that each area might offer. The Markets area was chosen for its potential with a great built environment, under-used resources such as the market itself, and as an interesting linkage area to Smithfield (and beyond).

First impressions of the area, after an extensive exploratory wander are that it is quite quiet and empty. There is an awful lot of vast blank wall space. The area seems charming and interesting in its own way, however, there are definite deficiencies such as a lot of organic waste on the ground, anti social behaviour such as the man I saw urinating against a wall.

I do own other clothes…

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

… But somehow, in all the photos of me on the blog, I am always wearing this jumper:

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:


I do love it though. Happy Christmas Jumper One and All!

“Soft” Mapping

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

As well as GIS we have been exploring some other methods of determining a working area. My personal attempts involved a foray into Wordle and going back over the material collected at the exhibition. Here is the fruits of feeding all the answes from our question “What area of the City do you think needs more love?”  This is just taking all the text from people’s answers (approx 150 answers) and using the lovely application at The application then shows you which words show up with most frequency in the word cloud.

So, Smithfield and Thomas St appear to be our most popular answers!!

The Wilderness Downtown

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

This interactive film for Arcade Fire uses Google Streetview to create an individualised experience for each user! Its pretty cool, try it out:

A pretty funky way of experiencing the City in a soft, arty kinda way!


Monday, December 13th, 2010

Now that we have met and engaged with many many City lovers and Stakeholders through street engagement and scheduled conversations, the next task is for the Team to pick an area of focus in the City to work in.

The task here is to try to make sense of the complex and varied information on challenges that we have been presented with, and use it to select an area to work in where we could have most impact. One possible way we will do this is through a mapping tool called GIS (geographical information systems). We will attempt to map a series of challenges and then overlay them to identify an area in the City which needs more Love!

We have been tackling this problem in studio with, you guessed it, post-its. First we tried to distill all our engagements into challenges which were written on post-its. All of these were put together on boards, and then matched together under broad categories. We came up with categories of challenge and tried to identify the rough order of importance, based on how often people mentioned them. Communication and ownership, environment, moving around were some of these categories.

Now for the tough bit.. each mini group of post-its which had been brought together as representing the same issue was distilled into an overarching question which (hopefully) got to the core of the issue. Following this we brainstormed about what map layers would best show these challenges.

This work continues with the help of our GIS specialist, to make the map layers come into actuality in an effort to identify our Love the City working area!

The Exhibition

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

So, what have we been up to since I last posted on the Scheduled Conversation?  My blogging may not make it apparent, but there has been loads going on. Too much to keep up with in fact.

So, our exhibition, 100 exciting things you did not know about Dublin, was held in Filmbase from 17th Nov –  20th Nov. Getting everything ready involved a big effort from the Team… One of my favourite tasks from the project so far was designing the feedback sheets which we would hand to the general public. Drawing on our prior experience with Chat Couch engagement, we carefully came up with three questions that would help us to get the information we were looking for. The questions were: “What amazing things in the city have we missed, that are special to you?” “How has the exhibition shaped your view of the city?” “What area in the city centre do you think needs more love and why?”. The aim was for us to gather more Dublin gems, check our effectiveness, and get opinions on where we could work in the City. We collected over 150 feedback sheets with loads of interesting and encouraging feedback.

“Found some real gems that I’m definitely going to check out – love the monkeys playing pool!”

“It’s made it seem a bit more exciting. Very helpful for finding alternative things.”

“I found out about a few places I’d love to go and see.”

“Made me love it even more and realise there is lots I haven’t seen.”