Hi! Can you believe it’s Thursday already? We definitely cannot.
Today was the “come back to your childhood day”: as when we were kids, we were walking through the neighbourhood looking for things to play with. The city is still full of wonders, but some of them the adults do not see anymore, and others they are hesitant to use: playgrounds, for example. We believe that there is enough place in the city and on playgrounds for children and adults alike. That’s why we created a parcour/urban fitness track – except that we didn’t make anything, we just went looking for suitable objects.
Today was the 3rd day of the urban hacking workshop with Florian Riviere, and today we hacked Strelka. It’s possibly the best place for hacking in Moscow because ‘locals’ are more than willing to play and hop along)
Today was all about Florian’s trademark hacking: urban games. After a short briefing and brainstorming, we decided to transform Strelka’s wooden amphitheater into a racing track, the bins – into “basket rings”, the concrete stair landing – into a maze, and the parking lot – into a hopscotch game.
If you do not like any of this, do not worry – we didn’t use spray paint, only chalk and multicolored duck tape, so Strelka as you know it is safe =)
The racing track turned out to be hard to climb, but you really feel like a king of the mountain in the end – see Anna’s victorious dance in the video!
It’s a small report on our second day at Voykovskaya on Florian Rivier’s workshop Urban ConQuest.
We’ve been very anxious to come back after the great fun we had on the first day when we made an “Ochko-basket” instead of a broken basketball ring. This day we renewed it by adding layers of yellow and blue tape to the paper balls. In case you are going to make your own: balls with cramped paper inside are better than just cramped tape, and fly more steadily.
We had a lot of plans for the second day, including: a pop-up art studio or trees memorials on the tree stumps near the tram tracks, the renewal of an old pool-like children’s place, using metal nets for pop-up lunch bags and get-the-ball-on-the-rubber-string-into-papercup portable game etc., but first and foremost we wanted to make a hammock.
The thing is, we found similarly useless low fence made of metal tubes in the area where many people complained about lack of sitting places. Funny sidenote: when we were asking people about their preferred outdoor games, men talked about ball games and card games, but women tended to talk only about the games their children played. To the direct question about their own preferred game activities, they replied “We grew out of it”. Maybe it was just a coincidence, but it is sad nevertheless. Anyway, the lack of comfortable seats worried everybody.
For the hammock we used green fabric net from the construction site, which the workers kindly allowed us to take. Thank you again, if by any chance you are reading this=) To make a stronger frame, we used ordinary string, and wrapped the green net two or three times around the frame and the fence. We managed to get a strong and comfortable seat which literally everyone can reproduce.
We still need a name and the website continues to be tweaked (feel free to add suggestions to the comments), but on Sunday July 22 we presented the idea and online platform for SynchroniCITY to residents of Troparev-Nikulino during their weekly outdoor discussion forum.
The web application was developed by Alexey Sidorenko from Teplitsa Social Technologies, who converted the team’s concept, design and wireframe into a functioning, online reality in just a few hours.
The tool connects the offline, low tech mailbox method of involving residents to participate in solving local problems by giving them an online space to profile issues, discuss them, and access resources for solutions.
Essentially giving people a space of resources and discussion for neighborhood DIYism.
Hopefully after a test run with feedback from Troparevo, the tool can start to take root in districts across the city. We also want to incorporate barter among people to connect virtual and real space.
Check out the website here: http://ngo2.ru/sync/
After a morning of methods and ethics, the all-girl team of hacktivists led by Florian went into Voykovskiy to practice spontaneous interventions.
Finding a basketball court with no hoops, they involved a local (security guard) in a creative instance of DIY repair.
The goal for the rest of the workshop will be to practice urban hacking skills aimed at a neighborhood intervention that targets play; generating and hacking found materials into spaces and infrastructure for pingpong, basketball, urban games, quests etc.
Our second workshop on tactical urbanism, media and data has now begun! Apart from discussing ideas of a New Collectivism in Moscow, we have been exploring food cultures as an opportunity for urban interventions at the Red October Chocolate Factory site. More updates soon.
View Red October Research in a larger map
On day four, the teams began working on actual prototypes for an intervention in the microrayon Yuzhnoye Medvedkovo. Two team each are taking up one main problem: lack of communication and lack of participation. In the early afternoon a group of landscape architecture students and a teacher from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, who are on a study trip to Moscow, dropped by for 2 hours to act as a kind of ‘special forces’ team that provided early feedback. Teams briefly introduced their interventions so far. Our Dutch visitors then gave some valuable feedback in the form of questions, suggestions and constructive criticism.
Several participants went to Yuzhnoye Medvedkovo together with Marc to test out their prototypes in the park along the Yauza river, where they want to situate their interventions. One of the signs reads “I could be your grandmother”. The plan of this team includes creating templates for people to make their own playful DIY signage in order to forge relationships between people and the park.
On the third day of the workshop ’Designing for Ownership’ we proceeded with problem analysis and generation of ideas for the area. Teams prepared and presented their SWOT analysis of the most important issues in that neighborhood, and identified stakeholders, important locations, and media channels in use. Here’s the analysis of both the green team and grey team:
We decided to inverse our analysis of the underlying issues and the ideation phase, by starting with generating as many ideas as possible for the neighborhood, and then extracting an iterative analysis of the most important issues from these ideas. We figured that the (re)formulation of complex issues would naturally emerge from this creative thinking, instead of narrowing the bandwidth for ideation too much in advance by beginning with the analysis. That worked really well.
We identified five possible complex issues in Yuzhnoye Medvedkovo that should be addressed (see below). After that we wrapped up this very productive day by forming teams around these issues, and discussing what type of event would like to do on Saturday 14 July, the final day of the workshop.
1. Phenomenon: lack of communication
Nothing is done when people complain about something.
Public bulletin boards are mostly official information by municipality; citizens cannot really contribute anything.
Lack of communication between actors.
Lack of feedback system: what is done with my complaint? (bureaucracy)
No room for own initiative, and no reward or incentive.
There are few venues for contributing your own ideas.
Allow people to make something collectively in their neighborhood (‘commemorative objects’), e.g. a mural painting, a garden,
Allow people to contribute ideas via some medium and pinpoint ideas on a map.
Build a new pavilion where people can meet.
Reuse existing buildings, like libraries.
2. Phenomenon: vandalism
Vandalism of everything physical.
Lack of sense of ownership among people for environment.
Lack of responsibility of stakeholders.
Lack of regulation and consequent rapid action (of municipality).
Make really solid stuff (but not so interesting)
‘Broken windows’: rapid repair.
Make people feel responsible (how..?)
Make park a living being by allowing it ‘to speak’ through data streams.
Have people (activists) act to solve problems themselves: stimulate DIY culture.
Moveable furniture ; deposit (small rent) system for furniture; “chair share”
3. Phenomenon: lack of infrastructure
There too little benches, trash bins, toilets, but also for social interaction between different people.
There is not much to do.
There is little in terms of (useful, interesting) objects, places or services for people to gather and make conversation.
People have little that they share with each other, like cultural events or media
Organize an event to gather people and make them discuss issues they find important.
Periodical events in amphitheater, show propaganda films about doing good and collaboration.
Brand the neighborhood: “Rent-A-Tram”; “I Love Yuzhnoye Medvedkova” on bags from the local factory.
4. Phenomenon: policies represent people unequally
Almost all policy is directed towards children, old people, handicapped people, veterans, but not adults.
There is only one beer bar in the neighborhood.
Municipalities try to avoid touchy subjects and instead focuses on neutral topics.
Create more bars and other places for adult (male) communality in the neighborhood; inclusive.
Have people themselves program spaces, e.g. dancing spaces, wedding space, morning sports.
Build parkour courses for teenagers on roofs.
Pop-up cafés in residential areas; run by local people.
Banya, sauna, etc.
5. Phenomenon: lack of participation
People seem to only want to do something for money, not out of free will.
There should be more cool activities to undertake, more room for entrepreneurship.
Curate events together.
Some motivation or reward system for people who are active. Maybe through an area competition. ‘Citizen of the month’.
Signage with instructions for cleaning up (dog poo).
A kind of reciprocal non-monetary exchange circles between stakeholders, e.g. music school performing for veterans, who take care of security; or dog owners who meet with disabled people.