Very glad to have recently stumbled across Candy Chang. What an inspirational artist. Her work is well worth looking at here.
Candy observed that today we have more tools to reach out across the world, so why is it hard to reach out to our local neighbourhoods. In her MA and work she explores how we can ‘better design our public spaces to share information, self-organise, and become effective agents in our communities’. Love it!
Interest in Candy was heightened from working on the launch of East Village last year, for a property developer. Their aim is to help build and nurture a neighbourhood from 2013. It will be interesting to see how far they push this and actually go about shaping a community, as the techniques used by Sophie Ramsbotham & Alex Furunes could come in handy. They’re students (from the Architectural Association School of Architecture) running a regular stall on Berwick Street market. I popped to see them on the stall, after hearing about their work. They’ve been collecting drawings, comments from local traders and doing video interviews.
Their project is called Positive Dialogues and they hope to give a voice to locals’ concerns, so the ‘planned redevelopment of Berwick street market, doesn’t just go to the highest bidder but addresses the needs of the community.’ Why can’t public space be better designed so that it’s not necessarily allocated to the highest bidder but also reflects and facilitates needs of a community?
Sophie and Alex are doing a great job in helping to make this happen, along with people like Candy. One project I particularly like, is where she took an abandoned house in her neighborhood in New Orleans and turned it into a giant chalkboard. Residents could write on the wall and detail what was important to them – ‘Before I die’ is definitely worth checking out here.
‘The wall became a space where we could learn the hopes and dreams of the people around us. Before I Die transformed a neglected space into a constructive one to help improve our neighborhood and our personal well-being.’
Another project ‘Looking for Love Again’ cleverly extracts themes, as they appear from people’s memories, which can be used as a public focus group, for influencing ideas and what then happens to the building.
Learning about social influencers like this, led me to attending a Responsible Business event in March, where I had the pleasure of meeting Think Public. They’re a social design agency and do some truly great work, through collaboration and the exchange of ideas:
‘The people who use and deliver the services, have the experience and ideas to make them better. After all who knows the strengths and weaknesses of the service better than the people who use’.
It’s good to see that the art of collaboration, really consulting and involving people, brings about such great things.