In this short video, we shift focus a bit from the park to the IFRC building itself. Through the voices of its staff, including that of the director, Francoise Le Goff we understand how the new building came to replace an older space. As well as the reasons for reaching out both,within the organization and towards the neighbourhood, to get maximum involvement of all. We also learn about the development plans of the premises unfolding, step by step.
This video allows us to pause for a bit and take stock of the process, as it has already been happening over the last few months. It makes us value the laborious and painstaking efforts of the institution to undergo it in the first place. And ask questions: Was it / is it necessary ? Was it/ is it new? Is it effective? These are open-ended queries that only the coming weeks will bring clarity to, as the fruits of the exercise start to circulate in the form of reports, propositions and suggestions, gathering more feedback and then moving on to become newer workshops, plans and eventually concrete projects.
In the history of urban evolution in Europe the involvement of an organization in the city's civic life is not new, but it is not very common in its recent history either. In pre-modern times, the church or guild did play an active role, along with civic associations, in shaping the life of a neighbourhood, but modern day urban planning discourages this as it is mediated by technocratic specializations. More importantly, bureaucratic constraints, and financial concerns tend to discourage such engagement and processes.
In this light, the attempt of the IFRC to engage is special in this day and age. And as the video suggests, by spotlighting the space itself - it opens up possibilities and becomes an invitation to engage.