DREAMS FOR THE FUTURE KULBANEPARK
Kulbane Area Renewal
This project actually consists of two steps where the first one became a frontrunner for the second. They are both concerned with developing the Kulbane district in Valby together with students from Lykkebo School but have different outcomes.
The newly established Area Renewal in the Kulbane district in Valby, Copenhagen, needed input for their new district plan, and we were lucky enough to be selected as facilitators for the youth through a collaboration with the local Lykkebo School. The neighbourhood is socially diverse with specific areas around the Kulbanevej district left socially deprived and home to youth who don’t feel any sense of belonging. Thus this Area Renewal project had a huge focus on engaging youth and aimed to activate schools and youth clubs in the future development of the area.
Besides acquiring knowledge about how the children use the area today and collecting their ideas, it was important that the work we did marked a new beginning. We wanted the children to know that they would be part of something bigger, that we needed them, and that they add value.
Through meetings with Lykkebo school and the Area Renewal, it was decided that we should do a workshop with all the students from 0-7th grade. Boom! 300 students. The outcome of the workshop needed to be used by the Area Renewal team immediately. Therefore it was crucial that the youth’s input was clear and easy to decipher. Hoping to make the workshop an exciting and fun day for all the participants between ages 6 and 13, we chose to give the workshop a playful theme. The students had to be agents on an important mission to help the Area Renewal team create the best neighbourhood of all time.
At the beginning of the day, we gathered the 300 students in the school’s main hall. From there, they were sent out on three different missions. After each mission, students returned to the main hall and submitted their results before being sent out on the next mission. The first mission was centred around the students providing information about their behaviour and movement patterns in their territory. On the second mission the students had to go out to the area and observe and analyse a site. On the third and final mission they had to develop ideas for the future.
Because of the huge age range, we had to design specific tasks for the different age groups. 6-year-olds can’t read and solve abstract tasks like the 13-year-olds. At the same time, the results had to be consistent. This required a lot of preparation on our part, as well as the close dialogue with teachers from the different grades.
In autumn 2016 arki_lab put Kulbane’s future on the agenda, in collaboration with teachers and students from Lykkebo School in Copenhagen. The project focused on creating awareness of the future developments in Kulbane Park among students, giving them a voice in the development of this local public space.
The project started off with two workshops at the school, which aimed to give students insight into the design process, learning how to make simple site analyses, conduct small interviews, participate in creative brainstorming sessions, and design using small sketch models. The overall goal of the project was to facilitate young people in developing a physical identity for the new park by creating installations that were placed in various key places in the Kulbane neighbourhood. The entire process consisted of a design week and a final ‘opening’ event, where parents, teachers, politicians and interested citizens could see the students’ work.
Designing the installations
Throughout the design week students engaged in practical design processes and were a part of building different installations. It was arki_lab’s role to design the installations in a way that reflected the students ideas and wishes. At the same time, it was important to have an overall common thread, relating different installations to each other. The installations helped mark the start of the Area Renewal’s development and give citizens a sense that change is on the horizon.
Involving children and young people
The goal of the project was to create a dialogue with children and young people from the community about the development of the future Kulbane Park, but also to mark the beginning of the Area Renewal’s work. The objective of the workshops was to provide young people with valuable insights into what it means to be an active citizen, through learning methods to examine and understand their town and to express themselves creatively. At the same time, the project complemented the Area Renewal’s work through providing valuable ideas on developing Kulbane Park and ensuring local awareness of the project. It was a unique learning opportunity for students to engage in an investigative, experimental, and creative urban design process.
From our experience, demonstrating physical change and improvement in young people’s communities is the most effective method for active participation – getting out of their usual environment and becoming an active part of their area’s development. In addition to the students feeling involved in the future development of the park, the project also provided them with design and craftsmanship skills that they can draw on in the future.
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