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View from the Street

When a resident is asked what she would like to transform in her neighbourhood, she is not just being asked for her opinion or expressing a wish, but actually putting forth her expertise. An expertise that is a vital input in the entire exercise.

Residents, users, inhabitants of any urban space are experts on that particular experience of space. Without the knowledge of that experience no planned intervention can actually be effective.

It is this recording and documenting of the views and responses of the proverbial 'voices from the street' - based on the moments of expertise, developed through experience, that comprises the raw material of participation in urban planning.

A truly participatory project is never about simply agreeing or disagreeing, voting for or rejecting a proposal that someone else comes up with - usually a technocratic formal voice. But it becomes participatory when the users and inhabitants of space share their expertise of use and organized reflections of their experience which become part of the proposal itself.

In this video - we hear a selection of voices who express their ideas and make suggestions - a small representation of the larger archive of knowledge that comprises this ongoing documentation exercise.

From community spaces, to better lighting, from factoring the needs of children to those of the environment, from suggestions for street furniture to promoting an aesthetic of wilderness, from a refuge from traffic to a space of convivial interaction; the archive of suggestions made are rich and diverse.

Incorporating them into the emerging framework for the IFRC park is not a challenge - but a gesture of trust in the participatory process.

Please share your feedback and comments freely!

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