JC-Street Conversations. « Designing Dublin: Learning to Learn

JC-Street Conversations.

Headed out with lindsey to carry out some street interviews around our 100 ideas for the markets area. We first had a walk to see where would be the most fertile areas to harvest. We choose Capel Street at the corner of little Mary’s Street-Inside the Corpo fruit and veg market as well as outside to talk to traders/Wholesale and retail-Outside the old Corpo tax office alongside the Luas route and close to one of it’s stops.

Back at base Eimer was printing off some maps and question sheets. The idea behind the maps is/was to capture the routes people took through the area.

Lindsey, Shane and Micheal had created cardboard tables/benches for us to work on while Micheal and Una had put together a mini sanwidch board inviting people to help us- Design a Better Markets Area.  What an invitation! The graphics for this was were designed by Brian. It was a similiar idea to what Paul and myself had used very successfully in our conversations at the point market before Christmas.

Our first point of call was outside the Market building  on Mary’s lane. We set up our cardboard table in front of an empty unit and immediatly attracted attention from traders. “Whats this about” “Who are yis” “Are yis from the corpo” etc. This attention immediatle gave us a ready group of people to interview. Some of the people there were very tentative about talking to us and did but looking over their shoulder. The reason for this became apparant when one of the owners appeared and to say he was outspoken would be putting it mildly.

He made referances to all this having happened before “Waste of time” some expletives and referance to “Young people havent a clue, dont know what they are talking about” rolled from his lips.  He also pointed his finger as if to make a point  about young people but slowed down when i drew his attention to my age, not a lot younger than him. This changed his demeanour ever so slightly but he didn’t want his views recorded but was prepared to share them-well throw them at us would be more accurate. We told him we understood his concerns, emphasised etc and finished on good terms with him.

There was certainly a lot of passion out there for the market but a lot of anger against the council (DCC) and their lack of interest in improving footfall.

Some of this passion was replicated when we moved inside the market where we were greatly facilitate by the manager Joe Crosbie.

The lack of certainty and falling footfall was the major concern here. There was relief that the downturn of the Celtic tiger had stopped the proposed developement of the market as proposed by DCC. There was a feeling that this would have changed the charactor of the building and the area. Tradition and history seems to be very important to people within the market itself.

Everyone spoke very highly of Joe Crosbie,but were less than kind about his employer, DCC.

We spoke to traders and buyers here, mostly Irish but a few from differant ethnic groupings likr Romeo from Nigeria who felt the building should be knocked down and rebuilt as a shopping centre. He also felt it should be inclusive of all ethnic groupings. I should say his views were in a minority of one.

We broke for lunch after this and had a sandwich in Brendans Coffee bar which we found very welcoming. We noted an upstair part of this unit which would be ideal for a scheduled conversation.

After lunch we headed up to the old DCC tax office along the Luas line. Our intention here was to capture people passing through the area.

As soon as we put up the table and spoke to one person we attracted enough people to create a queue. The invitation to people to help us design a better market area was an enticing prospect. People generally are not invited so openly to help in developement or design tasks or share their opinions, in this manner. (Planners/Designers take note)

The enthusiasm was palpable and the exchanges interesting. Here we spoke to legal people/Builders/Visitors as well as residents of the new apartment blocks. We didn’t seem to meet anyone from the local social housing. One of the questions asked was about our connection to DCC and what we intended to do with the outcome of our conversations. We explained our process based method and they seemed happy with this with the exception of one woman, who didn’t stop but kept roaring “I want more water”.

We called it a day and headed back to record all the comments. This was done on an excell sheet and stored to be used later.

The next morning Lindsey and myself headed up to Capel street at the corner of Little Mary Street to try and capture people passing throught the area.

Our experience here was similiar to the tax office, as soon as we set up our cardboard table and started conversing with  one person, a queue formed. we had a busy morning with very enthusiastic people from all over the City and beyond who had diverse reasons for being in the area. Shopping, wandering, working,students from the DITs, on interview and one guy who was cycling around on a bike advertising products. He stopped here to have his hair cut, not by us, i should add.

One amusing moment was when a young student asked me where our funding came from and i assured him we worked on a very minimal budget, he looked at our cardboard table and quipped “I see what you mean”.

Dublin-A City defined by People.

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