StreetWorks: A collaborative platform and stepping stone between designer, authority & citizen.
Striving to make the way we shape our future environments inclusive to all.
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“The key to fixing our broken patterns of urban development does not lie in grand plans or giant projects. It lies in the collective initiative and energy of people armed with new ideas, tools and tactics.”
As we live in an ever changing, complex world where global issues are being felt locally it has never been more important to think about the way in which we design our urban environments. People and our social structures are at the centre of spatial development; as we form our urban environments by the way that we live and move, with resulting forms such as streets, squares, alleyways and blocks of accommodation, to name a few. As we share our cities between social groups and societies; after they meet basic needs of food, shelter and security; it is important that we build our environments that encourage social quality, provide opportunity for growth and are adaptable to change (Montgomery, 2013).
“Few, if any forces in human affairs are as powerful as a shared vision.”
In his book, ‘The Fifth Discipline: the Art and Science of The Learning Organisation,’ Peter Senge discusses the value of a shared vision as being the answer to the question, ‘what do we want to create?’ A shared vision forms a common interest and idea between people and organisations that projects a developing image with an end goal (Senge, 1993). To discuss this notion in relation to our built environments, with people being at the centre of development, a shared vision creates a common identity and strong sense of purpose; encouraging different ways of thinking and providing a platform that allows and encourages questions, risk-taking, experimentation and change (Campbell,2018).
To build a successful environment, it is important that the vision of the designers is shared with users. Whilst this could be considered the basic principles of design; to give clients what they want; it is obvious that within our city planning and development there is an overarching divide between designer (professional), authority and the public. To give a simple example of this; it would be fair to say that most people only contribute to the planning process when they are complaining about a development that has already happened. This may be due to our systems being exclusive, complex and not easily accessible to allow people initiate change, or simply these people may not be interested in the design process – and this is ok – however, as users of our cities and spaces, we are all ultimately affected by the results of development. Therefore, it seems absurd that there is such an unapproachable divide between our 3 sectors; designers, authority, people.
We (as a society) are fundamentally affected by the actions of urban change in our cities. Whilst this is the case, shouldn’t we, not only be central to our vision, but the drivers behind it?
As the outcome of a final year architecture thesis project that combines urban planning (M.Arch + UP), StreetWorks has been developed as a digital platform that aims to act as engagement tool to build a community of a shared vision; that drives positive urban change through representation of event, culture, conversation, design and planning within our cities. Challenging the future of urban design, StreetWorks proposes a new movement that is innovative in the design process, with social networking, integration and collaborative practice at its core.
The fundamental incentive of StreetWorks is that it is a digital platform that is attractive and is inclusive to all members of society. Whether all members or viewers are collaborative in discussion, projects or ideas, is beyond the point. What is important is the engagement of everyone – from the person who is not interested in design, to the groups of people in our cities trying to make positive change and authorities which have the power to make things happen.
How do we engage everyone in the design and planning process of our cities?
Ultimately, this is the question that StreetWorks intends to continuously adapt and evolve with over time as we begin this new movement that challenges boundaries between; user and designer; public and professional; communities and authorities. StreetWorks is an emerging platform that seeks to develop the shared vision of our society.
StreetWorks is divided into 3 areas;
Although separate, each area is complementary and supportive of one another, tied together by an evolving archive of articles.
The Event(s) page is the initial engagement tool that aims to attract all, through a calendar of events, interventions and activities taking place within their city. Whilst, being an active platform for advertisement of creative and cultural activities that bring people together. As initiated in the city of Dundee, the calendar currently holds the Dundee Creative Calendar 2019, however is ambitious in expanding its geographical location in the future. Got an event coming up? Add it to the StreetWorks calendar!
Charrette 742, being the fundamental concept of StreetWorks, aims to present an interactive interface that actively engages and shares ideas between creatives, professionals, users and the public. An alternative participatory design method, providing a discussion board and online ‘charrette’ initiatives, Charrette 742 encourages unlikely participation and collaboration by means of art, games and conversations.
The Design area of this website documents case studies, design proposals, projects and ideas relative to the overarching agendas of StreetWorks. Providing a bank of information that can inform and that we can learn from to develop positive urban change and encourage public/community collaboration and engagement of future developments.
StreetWorks is a live project that is continuously evolving, producing new ideas, articles and opportunities. However, the website is built upon fundamental articles that are demonstrative to the understanding of context and provide rationale to the project, creating a series of subject specific manifestos that support and inform the principles of StreetWorks. These articles include:
This series provides the foundations of the StreetWorks incentive and should be read collectively to give an overall understanding of the project.
Campbell, K. (2018). Making Massive Small Change. London: Chelsea Green Publishing.
Cooperrider, David & Whitney, Diana. (2005). A Positive Revolution in Change: Appreciative Inquiry. The change handbook: The definitive resource on today's best methods for engaging whole systems. 87.
Cooperrider, D. and Srivastva, S. (1987). Appreciative Enquiry in Organizational Life. [pdf] JAI Press Inc. Available at: https://www.oio.nl/wp-content/uploads/APPRECIATIVE_INQUIRY_IN_Orgnizational_life.pdf [Accessed 20 Apr. 2019].
Montgomery, C. (2013). Happy City. Penguin Books, pp.36-42.
Senge, P. (1993). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. London: Century.