Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Co-design Workshop

Stanley King reflects on the nature of co-designing. This description neatly sums up what it feels like to be a co-design artist engaging in a design dialogue with the community:

We help people to give designers criteria for their designs.
As an architect may ask a family client 
”When your home is built
All entirely to your satisfaction
What would a day look like?

What round of life do you wish to live?”

As with the home, so with the city
We ask the community
“Imagine a time some years ahead
After all planning and construction is done 

All done to your entire satisfaction
What would a day look like?
What would you wish to do here?”

We write their ideas along a time line as they call out
Walking, jogging, drinking a coffee, meeting friends, sitting, talking, 

Watching activities of others
We list the special events throughout the year
They see future days for their community
They glow with pride at its vitality

Gathering in small groups to talk of activities
They walk the site to perceive qualities that would enhance Their desired activities
Quality of light, colours, sounds, textures, smells, and tastes, 

The nature, and landscaping, and architecture

Sitting in their small groups around their artist
They describe the things they wish to do
The artist draws a figure as directed, walking or sitting
Draws other figures, spaced as directed to get the social distancing 

Draws the environment they desire around the activities

Glances at their eyes to check
All approve an idea about to be drawn
They collaborate with each other and with the artist
Creating together a drawing of images from their minds-eyes

The drawing becomes their own
They say to neighbours
“Come and see our drawing.”
Everyone rates the features of the drawings 

Consensus becomes apparent
Delighting in one another
Delighting that their own ideas were good enough to be drawn 
Imagining a future life they wish to live
Being at one with their neighbours
Saying clearly this how I wish - how we wish To live here

Designers create freely with the workshop sketches 
Behavioural-settings form functional criterion for their designing Heads bent low over technicalities
Looking up to check their plans will realize the life portrayed

Presenting plans to the community
Showing how and where people’s ideas have been accommodated Being seen by the community as talented allies
Turning their public dreams into reality.

When all is done
Special places designed entirely to their satisfaction
Alive with the life they together imagined
Vancouver’s Robson Square, Granville Island
Calgary’s Olympic Plaza, and hundreds of humane places Saying with pride and belonging
“I had a hand in creating this.”

Stanley King 12 March’14 Vancouver