John « Designing Dublin: Learning to Learn

Archive for the ‘John’ Category

JC-Red apple consequence.

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Red apples have played a part in life down through the ages. Im sure it was a red Cox’s pippen that  Eve gave to Adam and look at the consequences, fish crawling out of the sea and turning into humans. Of course that still begs the question where did Adam and Eve come from but i dont have all the answers.

Sleeping beauty took a bite and fell asleep for a thousand years (Time depends on who your talking to or who’s telling telling the story ) and was only woken by a kiss from a handsome prince or was it a frog who turned into a handsome prince. This begs the question, what had the frog/handsome prince eaten. The other question i would ask is ‘Would the ugly frog know it’s a frog or does it see itself as a prince. Is it aware that it is ugly or presume it is a handsome prince. I suppose what i am getting at is, do we change or is it the frog. Suppose by a princess eating a red apple, the whole world changed  and we see things differantly, except the princess of course. As i said, i dont have all the answers, just the questions. A good question, just like a  red apple will lead to good outcomes but you must find your own answers, red apples and good questions enable this.

The reason i’m exploring this, is to look at the consequense of biting one of these apple to-day and falling asleep for a thousand years. Would the world wide web still exist and if it did, how much information would be on it. How long would your beard be, could the pretty princess have a beard, if she did, would the frog kiss her?

Would you wake up in the same bed and have bed sores. If you had bed sores would you be able to sleep for a thousand years. It may seem that these questions are uninportant but if you have bed sores your priorities change.

Just imagine what the bed would be worth or would it have deteriorated. The antique’s road show may still be around, depending on the price of fuel or will their transport be driven by red apples, well! you never know? Mind you, it would be rational to call it the ‘antique road show’, if it’s still travelling.

What is it about red apples as opposed to green or yellow apples, could it be allure or to be more precise, ‘Lure’.

Life would be better if we asked more questions and ate more red apples?

Dublin-a City defined by it’s ‘Lure’

JC-A plea for help or a warning?

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

On church street bridge-on the path.


Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

It is always hard to analysis learning when you are in the middle of the process. I have tried this during Designing Dublin, ‘Love the City’ and find it very difficult, design thinking is differant. Nevertheless, there are some identifable outcome for me.

I know now that i can work outside my comfort zone in an environment that is alien to me. I feel i can take on challanges and work in areas where the answers are less than obvious. There is a challange in this process to design questions to facilitate others to answer, rather than us/me, supplying the answer. I feel this is real empowerment.

In designing these questions we ask, ask, ask and then we question, question, question. When we reach a conclusion, have an answer, we then question the conclusion, time and time again.

I have also learned to challange my fears by using them to my advantage, to challange myself. My fears ask me questions that are not asked of me elswhere and this enriches me substantially, as i am driven to find the answers. My fears have become my best friend.

I also feel i am much better at listening to what people mean as opposed to what they say. The sub text!

I have also learned how people love their city but feel distant from planners and decision makers.

We have had some inspirational speaker including Jean Byrne, Paul and Kristian, Mark O’Halloran, Maser the graffiti artist, amongst others.

There is also the unexpected popping up on a daily basis, most of us are used to this happening occasionally but not daily, yet it happens here and is dealth with effectively. This particular area is very similiar to working in DCC, which is not as distant from ‘Love The city’ as we might think. On a daily basis i will deal with the unexpected, unknown and follow paths that are not as defined as we might expect. There are also problems that crop up, with no obvious outcome, where  myself and other s in DCC will be tasked with finding solutions. The differance here is that no problem is allowed to stand in the way and this would be differant in the public (And private) sector. Obstactles are seen as challanges by all in ‘Love the City’ rather than by the few in the public sector.

The Tool Box; Often we see a tool box as something full of metal or wooden tool, physical tools to enable us to carry out a task. There are other tools and in another sense, a differant type of tool box.

We need to look at ourselves as a tool-box and the skills we have developed as the tools. Our growth as re-stocking, maybe new or improved tools.

In this process, the new or improved tools i acquired are; An ability to identify a problem-Investigate it-Generate ideas and design a process to hhelpor enable the solving of this problem. These are powerful tools and while i would have had some skills in this area, i now have a much higher spec tool-kit.

Jean Byrne quoted a piece of advice-Know what you know and be confident with what you know. This is very powerful. Im not so sure i fully know what i knw but i am sure i know a lot more than i did this time last year. what i am sure about is that i am confident about what i know even if i can fully identify it at the moment.

This will entail some reflexion on my part over the next few months.

The benifit of collective positivity is very obvious in this process and how it is able to climb over adversity. I would love to see a new Ireland, a new economy, based on this principle, it is very entrapenureal in that money is not as important as the challange. Obstactles are overcome by the resources of creativity.

The Designing Dublin process ‘Love The City’ is differant to other learning inititives in that it challanges your thinking in a way that no other process could or would. To be fair, it also challanges the tutors alongside us as we grow together.

The next step is to take this learning and use it to create or work in a business environment.

I agree with Jean, its about Showing, Learning and then us teaching, this is what Vanessa has done, so its up to us/me to carry this out by passing it on. At the same time remembering that a good teacher is always learning.

JC-Up the Dubs

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Dublin GAA follower in Cook Street, Dublin

JC-Tenement House.

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Tenement house built as part of an arts project by senior citizen in Macro Centre, North King Street.

JC-Old Debtors Prison.

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

The old debtors prison on Green Street, presently being restored.

JC-Safety in the Markets Area.

Monday, February 14th, 2011

This title implies that there is a danger/safety issues in this area. Not so?

This project emenated from our street conversations, titled ‘Open day’.

As each of us spoke to people in differant locations, inside and outside buildings, we had constant referances to how dark and unsafe the area was. When asked, everyone could tell me of a friend of theirs or a friend of a friend, who had an unhappy encounter in the area. this was a common occurance during our street and scheduled conversations in the city at large before christmas.

I had a chat with Lindsay after our open day conversations and we came to the conclusion that darkness wasn’t the difficulty and the lack of safety was more a presumption than a reality, as it is in many areas of the city.Tthis doesent mean that there is no crime in the area, just that it’s not as bad as presumed.

So what leads to the presumption?.

This is where i am at the moment, reading ‘The death and life of great American cities’ by Jane Jacobs.

Of course one book doesent supply all the answers to the problems of a city and this one is no differant.

It looks at ‘The North End ‘ of Boston (USA) and why the streets in that area work and others don’t.

My big question at the moment is ‘Everthing Jane says in this book makes sense, very pragmatic and easy to implement. Why hasen’t this happened’. This book was first published in 1963, still we make the same mistakes in our cities, while in Ireland our cities are more and more heading the same way as all cities of the world. i accept there are some exceptions but exceptions are not necessarily the answer.

Again another question? ‘Is it the drivers of change that matter’. Janes ideas are driven by principles that put people before everthing else in the living city, while most cities are driven by economic principles that see people as ‘an economic resource’.

Out of these questions will come a project in the market area around the topic of ‘Safety’.

Dublin- A city defined by searching for answers.

JC-The flea Market/Inside.

Friday, February 4th, 2011

This is the inside of the Flea market in Newmarket, as you can see, lots of people and believe me, lots of business. There is a nice coffee bar/Cafe at the far end. Mind you, there was a long queue for the food and space limited for sitting. Some people went outside with their coffee and sat on the childrens seats. (You can see this in my blog-JC-Newmarket/Flea Market.

Dublin-A City defined by it’s flea market;

JC-The Next Step-2

Friday, February 4th, 2011

With our 20 Ideas, Lynsey and myself headed back to Ormond building, typed them up and hung them on one of our boards. We then cut up one of our sheet with the ideas, thoughts and views of the people we spoke to into individual units and tested if they fitted with our twenty ideas.

Along with Eimer we then attempted to come up with other ideas with eimer challanging/questioning our assumptions. this led us to, or close to another twenty ideas.

Yesterday, thursday, we looked at the full 40 ideas and how some of them may have commonality. we also questioned whether they allmatched the views, ideas raised in our conversations. this led us to 24 ideas that we will now look at.

JC-The Next Step.

Friday, February 4th, 2011

After our street conversations and the recording of same on excell, we harvested the material for views, ideas and thoughts of our participants. with this in hand, we decided to leave our room of 1000 ideas and head over to the canteen in Civic building to snatc a quiet corner and drink some coffee.

Our task, along with the was to come up with 20 ideas

The quiet corner was an illusion or delusionary thought as the place was so noisy. If you could imagine hundreds and hundreds of bees all buzzing and multiply this by hundreds, you mightstart to get a sense of the noise. Never the less, we drank our coffee and started on our task, which proved very fruitful.

We looked at each idea, thought and view expressed and tried to identify how this would convert into a scalable idea/project. I found the ideas flowing quite easily from our conversations, for 16 of the ideas and then felt the flow slow down. Never the les we completed the 20 idea capture and never noticed the noise, which had died down sometime during our time drinking coffee.