Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Puzzling Site

When working with the public on a design for a site such as a park or market square in a charrette format, there are a few key challenges that need to be overcome to encourage dialog and creativity.  These include:

- developing an understanding of the entire site and its context (in terms of built form)
- moving beyond individual points of view and toward a collective vision (not dismissing or superseding one for the other)
- creating a sense of collaboration, cooperation, and a problem solving mindset
- heightening people's awareness by using their familiarity of a site to open them up to noticing things they have forgotten or are no longer recognizing
- creating a positive energy within the room based on early success (as opposed to problem identification leading the event, which can sometimes generate an overall negative mood).

Below is a short time lapse video of an exercise I have developed to address these challenges.  It's called Puzzling Site and I use it early on in charrette events.  It involves giving participants portions of a large aerial photo and instructing them that they need to work together to put the puzzle together and get it posted on the wall.  In this case the final map was over 2.5m tall by over 5.5m wide.

Along with the benefits of this exercise, the resulting aerial photo is also used throughout the charrette to facilitate discussions and document findings.  

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