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The beat on the streets part II

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Shane and I hit the streets in the afternoon. This time  we choose to go to Fr. Matthew Square near the old Distillery Building.  We choose the area to meet a cross range of people in the area. At first it was quiet. Not many people were passing and even when they did not many people wanted to stop.

Shane came up with the idea to go and get some fruit from the market….both to support the market and also brighten up our table. It worked. People were intrigued by the oranges and it was a nice ice breaker (and it was icy enough) and they were getting one of their 5 a day!

We met a range from local residents who have lived there all their lives to new professionals who have just moved in.  Some local businsess people stopped to talk to us and we met some teenagers coming back from school too. Again we got interesting insights that helped to build up an interesting picture of the area.

The beat on the street

Monday, February 7th, 2011

On a cold and windy Thursday (27th January) we hit the streets. Now it wasn’t for the fun of it – although it was lots of fun. Nope, we were intent on making contact with various aspects of the local community and getting a better understanding of the Markets Area.

We devised a set of basic questions to ask the participants.

How would you describe the area to a friend?

What would you like to see happen in the market area?

Are there any hidden gems/stories from the area?

And then we looked for any contact info to help us build up a list of people within the area.

We also printed a map looking to record peoples movement through the area.

I hit the streets with Una. We headed around the corner and set up a stall in front of the Chancery House Flats. While it was cold, the people were warm and friendly and happy to help us in any way they could. It was quiet with much waiting time inbetween the conversations. That was part of the process and a learning in itself which was only gained by actually being out on the streets. There is only so much you can read from a book. The real learning comes from physical experience.

From here, Una and I went to Ormond Square and set ourselves up near the Playground. Oh yes, I nearly forgot. We created a table from cardboard to use as a physical tool to attract people.

It certainly helped as it created a weird visual presence that people were not used to on the streets.

The poster also helped to atrract people as it was an invitation to get involved and have their say.  I feel it gave the impression that we welcoming, curious and all inclusive. That’s a good way to approach to any person on the street.

Site study

Monday, February 7th, 2011



Getting lost in the markets.

I approached my site study of the markets area under the theme of “WORK, REST, AND PLAY” along with the topic of nature (my beloved nature).
The work rest and play is very broad and incapsulated many of the other themes that were being examined. So at first I looked for nature and found very little. I soon jumped ship and moved to
“play”.
Call on a friend.

In the time of need I looked to some friend in the community that could open the door for methe gatekeeper to the information. To the school (George’s Hill primary school) I went. And from there I got an understanding of what was going on. I was sent to other people involved in play and activities in the area. Some proved to be already researched/ under the heading of other peoples’ topics so I was able to help them with some information. While talking to some of the people I was able to get a feel of what was going on within the community. I learned of the success of a Halloween parade that acted as a link between the various groups within the area. I also got to see the community centre just off Dominic St. and the great activities that were running in the community – including mosaic creation with a local womens group.

Empty spaces

While I learned of some success I also came across voices that communicated the deficits within the community. I got the impression that there is a lack of sufficient sports facilities within the area. The nearest sports centres, football fields, and swimming pools are all outside the boundaries. And this caused issues because of the lack of communication between different community areas. It felt like there was little crossover between the areas. Even as I researched the area I ended up going round in circles. I went from one person to another without making any amazing breakthroughs. Maybe that was the learning from it –that there wasn’t anyone place that catered for all the sports/play in the area.

On the up side, I found the two well equipped playgrounds were well used by many people young and old.

Art and creativity

At the same time I was able to come across some interesting finds. There is a very busy art studio – the market studio- across from the primary school. We were even able to attend a new art exhibition entitled “NamaRama”. In the building they have many studio spaces and a few exhibition spaces as well. There is also the New Art studio near Capel St. with eleven other artists working in the local area. On the other side of the area I got to meet Laura involved in BLOCK T in Smithfield – an exciting new group of artists / art space creating a positive energy in a once run down building.

Questions

Monday, January 31st, 2011

At this moment of the project the complexity of the city is hitting home once more. How do you cater for everybody’s needs? Can you? How can the balance be found between the needs of locals regarding social issues in an area and the potential to introduce change for commercial development too?
I posed this question to some of the group and they reassured me that both aspects of change can go hand in hand. They aren’t totally separate. Both types of change can help the other side of the coin…phew.
one such example was the introduction of football facilities into an area. While catering for the locals it may also attract outsiders who then are drawn to the area and thus they may support the local economy as a result. I’m still daunted about the upcoming idea prototypes but I am looking forward to see how they pan out..

It’s show time

Monday, January 24th, 2011

The Radio show on Near 90.3fm had been a real success.

John O’ Shea had helped us immensely sharing with insights from his years of experience on the radio.

It is harder than I thought to formulate the show but once the first plan/framework was set up then it seems to be able to run much smoother.

Trying to create the theme or content was tricky. And then getting a feel for timing of the specific programs was an exercise of working in the dark. A run-through was all important to get a feel of how each section would be. And this need to “feel” something is very real in my life right now.

Vipassana

After completing a 10 day Vipassana meditaion course – which is all about seeing/remembering the truth through the physical realisation of the senses -  I am coming to terms with the difference between knowing something in your head and knowing something for real.

So as long as we continue to keep learning from our physical mistakes then fair enough. That goes for horrible buildings or poor systems. I hope that we can let our egos go a bit and let go of our attachments to our stances. I feel this could be done by our polititions at the moment where they just seem unable to let go. It’s more important to learn by doing and realise we are all just doing our best at each particular moment.

technology

Monday, January 24th, 2011

A few weeks back  we had a magic person with us. His name is Ronnie Tino. What a name!

Aside from that, he also shared with us some valuable insights from his experience. He gave us a new viewpoint on the topic of technology ( technology could be any implement that is used for an activity – could be as simple a stick or a ball) and it’s uses. I am a bit of a sceptic when it comes to all the new technology that is in our lives today. While technology is meant to be enabling us to live better lives, I feel we may be misusing it.

Ronnie gave us examples of how technology can help groups and projects develop. One such example is this

http://www.talking-tree.com/

Data is recorded. (it’s important to get good quality data)

Data is stored. (does it take a lot of space or is it almost invisible)

The data is converted(translated) into a use-able form. (0′s and 1′s are no good to me)

The new information is then presented through a user friendly system. (a good example of this may be facebook or a user face on a computer/phone)

I suppose the output/interface is set up in a way to allow the viewer to get an understanding of the information gathered by  the instruments.  In this instance I feel the most important thing is the basic data such as the environmental and climatic conditions and how it affects the tree. All the other output on the site is fluffed up which is grand.

After spending time listening to Ronnie I do see how technology can be used to raise awareness and allow people be more involved on a larger scale. There are many other examples out there to indicate this. One big example from history is the printing press. It opened up information to the masses and helped to completely shape the world. The same could be said for new farming methods way back. The new rechnology for storage of grains allowed farming to take off and thus helped to increaase the population because humans no longer needed to hunt for survival. They had a somewhat secure supply of food which freed up time for other activities – such as chess and kareoke.

UpStart

Monday, January 24th, 2011

check this site out

http://www.upstart.ie/

are you sick of seeing the big polititions heads plastered all over the countryside? well here is something different.

an arts initiative that is using the current political situtaion to make a positive change in the country

i better get cracking and create a few submissions.

design – form follows function

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

I have lots of ideas of the way the world SHOULD be.

But that is a load of rubbish. What I think SHOULD be, may not be what people want and may not be what is best for all of us.

I worked a little bit as a graphic designer and I had terrible trouble. I thought what I wanted was the only way. I was the one who knew it all.  I was more interested in colours and materials instead of the real important message. I didn’t fully listen to the client and the client didn’t fully listen to me. There was a break down in communication.

I’m realising with this project that anyone involved in design needs to be a great listener. I feel that a designer for people also needs to let go of their ego or else be very aware of there own predjudices. That way maybe they can meet the client half way.

I feel the same applies to this project while working in an area. I am learning that people need to be listened to. I can come with ideas and still value them but I also need to be open to what locals have to say. After all the design of a city surely needs to be centred around the needs of people and living beings( trees, water, animals, insects, environment etc).

This is a strength of the Designing Dublin project. I have learned the importance of ongoing communication and collaboration with people when it comes to design.

after all in nature (as far as I know – please tell me otherwise if you know of any examples), form follow function.

a picture in the minds eye/ the magic in life

Friday, January 14th, 2011

We are currently working on creating a series of radio programmes with Near 90.3 fm.

When trying to develop a cohesive plan I felt lost. We had the details down on paper but it was like the bones of a body without any life. Who are we creating this series for? What are we trying to do?

So after being given some direction by the creative Director Vannesa (we were asked to create chapters of a book that made up the radio show), I felt first hand the importance of having a clear focus or picture in my mind. From this picture / theme I was able to glimpse the life and possibilities that lay there before us.

While details and rules are very important it is vital for me to remember the essence of something. It’s like our human bodies. We can eat and drink but without the life energy (chi) then we aren’t fully living. The same applies to planning and design. There is a magic element that can’t fit into any little rule or box – It is what makes life on this earth, magic and unpredictable and wonderous. How else can human beings come from two tiny little cells or a huge oak tree come from a tiny acorn?

And I feel this magic element needs to be incorporated into our design processes. It’s surely all about life and the important elements that supports life. So for humans in Dublin it may be oxygen, water, food, heat, greenery and something else that we can’t even quantify. Sometimes it might call for a very intricate building that has charm and love to inspire people visually or else it might be a ramshackle structure that allows people a space to be creative. It can vary. For animals it might be something totally different. Do you agree? Can design (all forms – urban, product, graphic, etc) incorporate this magic element to new levels and how do we do it?

The markets. perception can be your reality

Friday, January 14th, 2011

My feelings on the markets area…

I was amazed the first time I saw the markets . I never knew about it and I wanted to know why I never knew about it.

The building is beautiful. The location is so close to the city centre. For me it was such a new area that has so much potential.

I was  unsure whether I could go into the market. In fact , I never knew I was  allowed to go in and buy food. It wasn’t clear to me.

Even still I don’t get the feeling that it is easy and clear for people to move in around and around the area. This is  my feeling as I have heard that lots of people do use the fruit market.  Funny how perception can rule your behaviour.

And on that note , I wonder whether something physical needs to change or whether it is up to perception to change or as I suspect it may be a bit of both.  They probably work hand in hand.