Co-Design Workshops & Community Feedback
On 4 November the volunteers who had been declared the Community Space Planning Committee met with team members form TUT, ICRC and 1to1 for a workshop hosted and facilitated by 1to1.
Firstly, it is important to note that not all engagement processes run smoothly at al times. The first co-design workshop was in fact scheduled for the 28th of October, but nobody attended the workshop. This was disheartening but allowed the team members representing 1to1, PlanAct, TUT and ICRC to really interrogate our engagement strategy and what we may have done wrong to result in such poor attendance. It was agreed that perhaps the role of the community in making decisions, and how highly we value their input, was not clear.
We decided to use the scheduled feedback session (on Saturday 31 October) where we had hoped to share out design development and ideas with the community, to ask for grievances to be aired and concerns addressed. This meeting was largely hosted by ICRC who used their social mobilization skills to remind the residents that their involvement is critical in the success of the project. We re-established the volunteering process and the Community Space Planning Community were once again invited to attend the co-design workshop that would be held midweek.
The Workshop (Attempt No. 2)
One idea to reinforce the importance of the community representatives for developing a collective strategy and plan for the neighbourhood was to establish a formal committee and allow it to act as an identifier for the representatives, to establish a shared platform wherein equal agency and authorship is given to the representatives and NGO partners equal agency.
Therefore the first activity was to develop some ideas around the assembled individuals’ priorities, motivations and purpose for the task team. To ease the discussions, two grouped were established where keywords and ideas were suggested, discussed, and captured. Thereafter the groups shared their ideas with each other, and a collective set of principals were captured by the facilitator.
Ultimately the key ideas were captured as being “Strength, Hope, Action, Power/Purpose” which gave us the name SHAP Bertrams. SHAP is a colloquialism (form the word Sharp and often expressed as Shap-Shap!) meaning everything is okay, often expressing enthusiasm and optimism. The idea was captured in a logo creating an entire identity for the task team responsible for neighbourhood development affairs in Bertrams.
The next step was for the two groups, that included epxerts and represnattaives form ICRC, 1to1, TUT and the Community represnetatives, to become architects & palnners. Each group was given a 1:00 scale mass model of the site and an array of craft supplies. They were first reminded of the outome sof the community planning workshop, which was to form their brief for the deisgn charette.
The produced two colourful, creative maquettes that were based on their disucsisons and designs. They then shared the two designs in a design crit with the other group, where comments and questions were encouraged. It was an extremely fun workshop and as the facilitators it was great to see how eople interpreted the brief and illustrated their ideas.
Meeting with the clients
The two design proposals were the subject of a feedback meeting the following Saturday. Each group selected their representatives, and another design crit was had, this time with the whole community in attendance to ask questions and give feedback. The feedback was captured to inform following iterations.
Additionally, the newly formed SHAP Bertrams committee name and logo was shared with the community. SHAP Bertrams became a shared chant to end a meeting or emphasize a point, where a speaker says “Shap Bertrams?” the crowd answers with “SHAAAAAP!”.
As with the previous workshop, a democratic process was assumed. Each resident received a sticker that they could stick on their preferred design proposal, this acted as their vote and thereby the preferred design proposal was to be selected. Perhaps it is a show of how representative the design task team is, but both designs received exactly the same number of votes. They would have to be combined to finalise the design.
Developing the Design (a second co-design workshop)
The second design workshop was hosted on Wednesday 11 November. The SHAP Bertrams Team gathered and split into two teams. One team was assigned with developing some design concepts and technical details for the fence (which was identified as a priority at the community space planning workshop) while the other team was tasked with producing a singular design proposal form the two proposals. The designs were to be more detailed than the previous ideas, because from the work produced project budgets would need to be established.
The final space layout design would be shared with the entire community the following Friday.
– Suzette van der Walt