Uula

WEEK THREE - SUMMER WORKSHOPS

Uula Saastamoinen is working with the HERE+NOW team for a 4 week period to learn more about the co-design processes we use in all our design, place-making and landscape architecture projects before he goes on to study a Masters in Landscape Architecture. Uula is learning about a different aspect of the work we do each week. This is his third of a series of blogs about his experiences and learnings.

 

Hi again!

This week I was looking at different ideas for a summer workshop which would take place in an existing community, bringing different community groups together while celebrating the legacy of the site. This would also provide an opportunity for students to add something to their portfolio as they could take part in the design and implementation process.

There are quite a few variables to consider when planning a workshop: who are the parties involved in the site, what kind of things the locals want to see, are there any groups wanting to get involved, where to get funding, can the workshop be timed with other events, how long should it last, and so on. I was looking at different ways to use a site, and how to make use of everything that is already there, while finding ways to bring all the community groups together and contribute to the workshop.

This week I was mainly concentrating on finding information about similar projects around the world and potential sources of funding. I also started sketching some simple creative ideas which I thought were not hard to implement, and which might work well. I’m continuing the project next week, and hoping to gather more information about sources of funding and parties wanting to get involved in the workshop.

- Uula

 
Plywood seating for movie nights

Plywood seating for movie nights

Workshops and art exhibition venue

Workshops and art exhibition venue

Cube Hack

Cube Hack

 

WEEK TWO: PUBLIC LIFE STREET ASSESSMENTS

Uula Saastamoinen is working with the HERE+NOW team for a 4 week period to learn more about the co-design processes we use in all our design, place-making and landscape architecture projects before he goes on to study a Masters in Landscape Architecture. Uula is learning about a different aspect of the work we do each week. This is his second of a series of blogs about his experiences and learnings.

 

Hi again!

This week I took part in a public life street assessment project for several town centres in Edinburgh. The purpose of street assessment is to collect data about the 'public life' of particular streets and spaces for analysis to enable the making of better informed decisions for their future improvement.

I visited Nicolson St/Clerk St, Stockbridge and Portobello on three consecutive days, and made observations about obstacles and other things which might affect the flow of pedestrians and how desirable these places are. I documented my findings with a camera, and I also interviewed local people to get their view on different pros and cons of the area. All these tasks are part of a larger system of mapping people’s movement at different times of the day and different days of the week, and are designed to provide solutions which take into account the locals’ aspirations and knowledge, meaning they also end up being cost-effective - targeting solutions that maximise impact for users.

One of the key things I noticed was the series of issues caused by narrow streets and very limited space for sidewalks, especially in places like Stockbridge where there are many young families. Bus stops provide shelter, but can also act as obstacles during busy hours. While the initial expression of the area is important, local people’s input is very priceless in knowing where to get started. The result is a huge pile of data, which is then used to suggest small and big changes to these town centres. It was an exciting week for me, and I am glad I had an opportunity to take part in the process!

 

  • Uula

 

street assessment

WELCOME UULA!

We're excited to have Uula Saastamoinen working with the HERE+NOW team for the next 4 weeks. Uula is originally from Finland but studied for his MA Hon Geography in Edinburgh where he became interested in place-making.  Uula is joining us to learn more about the co-design processes we use in all our design, place-making and landscape architecture projects before he goes on to study a Masters in Landscape Architecture. Uula will be learning about different aspects of the work we do each week for the next 4 weeks and will be writing a series of blogs about his experiences and learnings.  Welcome Uula! 

 

 

Hi everyone! I am working with HERE+NOW for a few weeks to learn more about co-design in landscape architecture, which is of great interest to me.

As it is my first week, I have been researching different practices for co-design and place-making from around the world. I've learned that when the locals are at the centre of the process, the solutions are often very cost-effective, as they can be targeted appropriately.

Some of the innovative tactics I've found for engaging with the locals in the initial planning process include:

  • Park Hack; cubes which were installed to a park in Shoreditch, allowing the locals to go inside and write and draw to the walls what kind of changes they would want to see in the park. Data was collected over three weeks, and the process is very democratic as everyone can engage with the cubes on their own time. This was also the most cost-effective way, given the limited budget. 
  • Memory-sharing, either by using an online platform where people can share images and stories of their favourite place, organising actual gatherings where people can share stories, or a combination of both (e.g. an exhibition of photos taken by the people).

One of the things that I also regularly noticed in my research was that one of the challenges to overcome in co-design can be a lack of trust between the locals and planners, and the fact people are not used to being part of the planning process. Ways to get people excited before the actual co-design charrettes might include things like leafletting, or using social media in co-operation with local community groups. Reaching different age groups (who all use spaces in different ways) is also crucial.

All in all, I was delighted to see so many creative strategies being used globally, and I can’t wait to learn more about co-design during my time with HERE+NOW.

- Uula

co-design.jpg

Image credit: Project for Public Spaces