CiTyBee has started to make an old dream real. In collaboration with MapCentia.com we are now developing an online mapping tool that boosts the efforts to tell stories “in and about the city”. Have a sneak view on a first trial version that is using the stories told on walks and public meetings in Hedehusene 2012 here. Stay tuned for further developments
CiTyBee has started to collaborate with Marko Sancanin from Platforma 9.81 in Zagreb on a process where a team of sociologists, anthroplogist and landscape designers are working with architects to involve the Dubrava neighbourhood around an old marketplace in the eastern part of the city in creating a new urban space.
The Marketplace is deserted and looks a bit sad, yet it is surrounded by a soup kitchen, a professional boxing club, a local theatre and off course a café. See photos from the Neighbourhood here
The neighbourhood is a classic Zagreb half wild development with mainly selfbuild houses. It fits the porosity of Neaples that Benjamin and Asja Lacis wrote about in 1925:
In such corners, one can scarcely discern where building is still in progress
and where dilapidation has already set in. For nothing is concluded. Porosity
results not only from the indolence of the southern artisan, but also, above
all, from the passion for improvisation, which demands that space and
opportunity be preserved at any price.
Friday february 22nd was spent in good company with 26 students from Sheffield School of Architecture. Instead of a presentation that showed our work in Hedehusene we involved them in a live presentation of CiTyBee.
In just 2 hours we went through all 3 phases: telling the stories about the spaces; engaging in a dialogue with the aim of identifying the most important of these stories; and acting on the outcomes of the dialogue to answer the brief of the day – How to make the station in Hedehusene more visible.
The result was impressive and played well into the activities in the afternoon when we held an open house for the local community to come and share their thoughts and ideas.
In late 2012 we started to publish “Zines” – publications that can be produced cheap and fast. Just like building on the spot, “Zines” can be used as effective tools to making the dialogue about space more concrete and visible. We want to start producing “Zines” much earlier in the process – rather than producing long reports, like we did in 2012, that often go unread.
In this case we produced two issues of a new local magazine – Hovedgaden (The Main Street), edited and produced by local people with the help of some students. Instead of stapling we got an old sewing machine and sewed them together.
Most of our activities were documented with video. We used a modified iPhone setup which was handy and discrete, but despite using a good mic our sound quality was never very good.
We have used mapping as a tool in our work in many different ways, first with Supertanker and now with CiTyBee. Read more about the background for how we work with mapping here
In our prototype in Hedehusene in 2012 we used no high tech GPS or smartphones. Even though we would like to do that, we think that mapping starts with just being in public space using the best sensor for the rich sensory and emotional diversity of the city: ourselves and our senses.
We do 1 : 1 Mapping, Street Map and Patterns of Possibilities
1 : 1 Mapping
Our Street tool Box is an important instrument in our 1:1 mapping. It allows us to get around and be in public space, talk to local people and start to map the space through narratives and dialogue.
The mapping became both a way of documenting stories “in about urban spaces” but it also allowed us to meet the people on their “home turf”, giving importance to a particular space. Many of the people that we met through this interaction would later go on to being involved in future dialogue and offshoots.
By instantly putting up new signs or “Street Whiteboards” we would create a 1:1 map that documented the dreams, needs and interests for that space.
With the new signs and the Street Kitchen we also want to create a situation that shows how a space can be taken or appropriated in order to inspire people to dream of other ways this space could be.
We use a big transportable map that can be moved around and stickers that function in a similar way to the “Street Whiteboards”.
The Street Map became a feature on the monthly market in Hedehusene. It was a popular occasion for people to tell stories and point out the places related to the stories. Again the stickers are used to immediately document what has been said and encourage those who arrive later to react on what has been said earlier.
Patterns of Possibilities
By the time of the first public meeting the map has become quite full with keywords that document the many stories. (This is where technology might come in handy)
The map shows how many views and stories different places have and that these stories often see the same place in different ways. The map visualises the many different voices of the community and most importantly gives people a way of acknowledging these other voices. This gives a more nuanced and constructive discussion based on a better mutual understanding…hence a dialogue is created!!!
People are given little blue stickers to mark what they think is important. The result is that “Patterns of Possibilities” start to emerge on the map showing the important areas and themes. This is the starting point for the rest of the public meeting that will look at what to focus on and how to act on it. Finally the new ideas and suggestions are documented on the map.
In order to make some quick prototypes we have a selection of cordless power tools – mostly various Hammer Driver-Drills but also a wonderful cordless Recipro Saw. Our aim is to get the batteries recharged with solar panels in the near future.
Kia from Helsinki built 9 benches for a public meeting in one day!
Amel brought his own tools to speed things up.
We were asked to present CiTyBee in Paris in October at the conference “Alter Architectures”. A number of practices from the “Underconstructions” network would present their ideas as a part of the discussion on EU architecture policy.
We were invited to Helsinki in april 2012 to talk about Supertanker as a part of the exhibition “Shorelines” (which again was a part of Helsinki being the “World Design Capital”) It was a good opportunity to go back and reflect on our early work in Supertanker – based in and focused on the Copenhagen Harbour.