RECODE MAKE HELSINKI
MAKE.HELSINKI A project by Clear Village and Demos Helsinki as part of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 Pavilion programme.
This report is written by Clear Village in collaboration with Demos Finland Report date: December 2012
CONTENTS WHAT IF THE SPACES WE OCCASIONALLY FIND DULL COULD BE SURPRISING AND VIBRANT? WHAT IF INSTEAD OF WAITING FOR THEM TO CHANGE, WE GOT TOGETHER TO DO IT OURSELVES? ABOUT MAKE.HELSINKI
MAKESHOP 1. MAPPING
MAKESHOP 2. GENERATING
MAKESHOP 3. MAKING
ABOUT MAKE.HELSINKI PROJECT BACKGROUND As the World Design Capital put it, “cities belong to their inhabitants.” Or at least, that’s how it should be. We know from the pioneering work of Jan Gehl, for instance, that cities benefit greatly from providing public spaces which are walkable and inviting so that people want to stay, enjoy the life of the city, and contribute to its vitality. But even in the most progressive cities, we citizens tend not to be closely involved in the development of the public space around us. We are sometimes asked to feed into consultation processes and we sometimes mobilize to block projects, but we seem to have precious few opportunities to play a more proactive and constructive role in shaping our living environment.
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In addition, true public spaces are growing scarce in many cities, leaving us with an increasing number of semi-public private spaces where we are unsure of our rights and have little room for creativity, productivity or idleness. In his seminal work ‘The Right to the City’*, Don Mitchell distinguishes between a representational space and a representation of space. A representational space is one that is appropriated by citizens. A representation of space is one that is ordered by, for example, the state or a corporation. Many of the spaces that we use in cities, such as shopping areas, are in fact primarily ones of representation. They steer us and guide us, but leave us with little opportunity to spend time doing the things we love.
+ Don Mitchell, ‘The Right to the City‘, New York: Guildford Press, 2003
And yet, we citizens are by no means powerless in the face of these developments. We can take back spaces, appropriate and reinvent them, and turn them into much-needed representational spaces. As Dan Hill from Brickstarter argues*, cities are wasteful in their use of space and leave pockets of opportunity everywhere. Nooks and crannies. Misused or unused spots. Overlooked or forgotten areas. And these are places that can be reconquered and reshaped in line with our aspirations and needs. A cemetery can be turned into a place for community food growing (Incredible Edible*). A pavement can be used for a one-day restaurant (Restaurant Day*) or a neighbourhood get-together (the Big Lunch*). Or a parking lot between two buildings can be transformed into the World Design Capital Pavilion. Reimagining public spaces like this is of crucial importance. We as societies have tremendous challenges to tackle. We need to find ways to generate more well-being whilst addressing a host of wicked problems, ranging from climate change to ageing, from resource depletion to poverty. To a large extent, this means improving the quality of life in cities and using what we have more efficiently and creatively. Urban interventions like the ones mentioned above are a powerful means to achieve this. They stimulate our imagination on what the future could be. They challenge the conventional code that is embedded in cities by using public space in novel and refreshing ways. And they embody one of the key principles of design thinking: in our search for solutions, we shouldn’t strive for “perfect” outcomes but should explore new possibilities, examine new models, and try out new prototypes that can be improved over time.
+ www.brickstarter.org/background-thinking/ + www.incredible-edible-todmorden.co.uk + www.restaurantday.org + www.thebiglunch.com
Reconquering public spaces is, in many respects, an extension of what may be termed the rise of the maker age. The technologies, the tools and above all the spirit of phenomena ranging from open source, to crowdsourcing, to online collaboration, all the way to material expressions via 3D printing in fab labs is gradually permeating the public realm and allowing for increasingly participatory interventions that combine the analog and the digital.
This is the foundation on which the make.helsinki project is built: a belief in the importance of reappropriating the public space, by means of collaborative and experimental approaches as evinced by the maker age, in order to prototype new ideas on how we can enhance our well-being and the well-being of our cities. As Zygmunt Bauman* said, what we need is not more privatized spaces but more public spaces in which the city and civilization can be rebuilt. In a modest but real way, make.helsinki aims to contribute to this call to action.
+ Zygmunt Bauman, â€˜Liquid Lifeâ€˜, Cambridge: Polity, 2005
MAKESHOP 1. MAPPING
© clear-village.org 2012
MAKESHOP 2. GENERATING
MAKESHOP 3. MAKING 8
PROJECT OVERVIEW make.helsinki was a collaborative experiment between CLEAR VILLAGE and Demos Helsinki to explore how public space can be used in novel ways when designed in a participatory manner. The project took place in Helsinki from June to September 2012 as part of the official programme of the World Design Capital Pavilion and had three main aims: + To map out currently underused and overlooked spaces in Helsinki + To understand how such spaces can be turned into problem-solvers for larger issues + To co-design and co-implement at least one guerilla intervention in Helsinki to showcase the effectiveness and excitement of participatory approaches.
The project architecture had as its spine three workshops jointly designed and facilitated by CLEAR VILLAGE and Demos Helsinki. These were conceived in such a way as to make up a steady journey for the participants from exploration, to ideation, to action. + Workshop One: Mapping saw participants building teams to explore different areas of Helsinki that could benefit from a guerilla intervention. Workshop one was staged on Tuesday 19 June, 11am – 5pm + Workshop Two: Generating had participants cogenerating ideas for simple yet powerful interventions in different parts of the city. Workshop two took place on Wednesday 15 August, 11am – 5pm + Workshop Three: Making, which took place during Helsinki Design Week, was the grand climax of the workshop series and involved the participants fanning out across the city to stage the interventions they had planned. Workshop three was held on Thursday 13 September, 12pm – 9pm. In between workshops, communications on the project website www.makehelsinki.fi and participant interaction in Facebook groups* helped to maintain the momentum.
+ For Hernesaari: www.facebook.com/groups/147928182010051/ + For Itä-Pasila: www.facebook.com/groups/349977581738157/ + For Siilitie: www.facebook.com/groups/246193065492056/ + For Mellunmäki: www.facebook.com/groups/193169480810728/ 9
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The World Design Capital Pavilion served as the hub of the make.helsinki project and hosted those parts of the workshops that did not involve exploration (during workshop one) and making (during workshop three) at the areas selected for interventions. The Pavilion was a natural home for the project, as it was itself a temporary structure constructed specifically to serve as “the heart of the Design Capital” and as it proved to be one of the most exciting spatial interventions in Helsinki in recent times besides Restaurant Day, Kalasatama farms*, Kääntöpöytä urban farming centre*, Ihana café* and the Suvilahti coffee & cycling event*. The programme of the Pavilion was curated by Demos Helsinki and developed together with over 100 organisations and groups who are experts at making Helsinki better. make.helsinki aimed to draw in part of this activist base and provide a valuable addition to the approximately 130 Pavilion events so that taken together, make.helsinki and the Pavilion activities would provide a foundation for innovative public space development in Helsinki, not only during the World Design Capital year but also as a legacy for the future.
+ www.cityfarmer.info/2010/07/16/urban-farming-in-helsinki-finland/ + www.kaantopoyta.fi/info/ + www.ihanakahvila.fi + www.facebook.com/events/258120157619696/ 10
PROJECT PARTNERS CLEAR VILLAGE is a design-driven regeneration charity based in the UK which supports challenged communities. With a focus on alternative placemaking, CLEAR VILLAGE creates community development tools, designs change processes and ignites resilience to help communities identify their needs and build capacities to meet them. DEMOS Helsinki is Finlandâ€™s leading think tank and aims to develop a democracy where people do not only elect their leaders but also shape society. Demos Helsinki is a highly experienced facilitator of shared thinking and has worked with hundreds of groups ranging from social workers and children to sustainability researchers.
ÂŠ clear-village.org 2012
PROJECT TEAM Thomas Ermacora, CLEAR VILLAGE Thomas is the founder, artist, and strategic director of CLEAR VILLAGE. With a background in urbanism and geography, he acts as a creative social entrepreneur with a focus on sustainability. After working with the architecture and planning professions on zero carbon projects in Europe, he shifted towards a belief in participatory design practices and founded CLEAR VILLAGE to rethink space one village at a time and support communities by upgrading the existing. He is a Regional Ambassador for INDEX, member of Bioneers, Royal Society of Arts Fellow, and advisor to the RIBA Building Futures think tank. Thomas was the project architect of make.helsinki and a speaker and facilitator at the workshops.
Frank van Hasselt, CLEAR VILLAGE Frank is the resident story-teller and philosopher for CLEAR VILLAGE, as well as supporting with business development. After studying philosophy and languages at Oxford, he spent many years in a variety of research and strategic positions at companies across Europe whilst writing fiction on the side. He came to CLEAR VILLAGE from Ethical Economy, a London-based company which enables individuals and organisations to live their values, where he was in charge of helping organisations like the Scout Movement and the Global Campaign for Climate Action to tell their stories of social impact more compellingly. Frank was a facilitator at the workshops and also drafted the make.helsinki report.
Tommi Laitio, Demos Helsinki Tommi worked as a researcher and project manager focused on behaviour change and good urban life at Demos Helsinki. He is also a co-organiser of TEDx Helsinki and has written a book on the relationship between the arts and democracy. He has recently been selected as Director of Youth Affairs for the City of Helsinki, where his responsibilities range from skate parks to 90 youth clubs and from legal graffitis to democratic participation by young people. Tommi co-curated the programme for the World Design Capital Pavilion and helped to ensure that make. helsinki built on the experiences and learnings of other events. He was also a speaker and facilitator at the workshops.
Alan Reitsch, CLEAR VILLAGE Alan is the technology and communications director of CLEAR VILLAGE. He began studying behavioral ecology and anthropology at Reed College and earned his BS degree in marine ecology at the interdisciplinary studies pioneer Evergreen State College. After working as a field biologist for several years researching whales, dolphins and sea birds around the world, including Antarctica, he embarked on a career in information systems and technology and served as software engineering director at the world’s largest online auto-sales company and as chief information officer at Africa Aid, a medical mobile network non-profit, before joining CLEAR VILLAGE. Alan was in charge of building the make. helsinki website and helping to get word of the project out to the world.
Mika Hyötyläinen, Demos Helsinki Mika researches Finnish civil society from an associational perspective and conducted a case study on urban gardening whilst working at Demos Helsinki. Mika also manages co-operative Torstai which seeks to boost student employment and start-up projects. Mika’s background is in urban sociology and he is particularly enthusiastic about social space in the city. He thinks the city is first and foremost about the people and their complex lives and styles. In his free time Mika explores and skateboards in Helsinki and encourages people to render the city their own. Mika worked as a facilitator and coordinator at the make. helsinki workshops. The project team received substantial support from CLEAR VILLAGE and Demos Helsinki interns. We would like to express our gratitude to: Victoria van Wassenhove, Inka Ahola, Sanne Ree Barthels, Rebekka Gröhn and Markus Wikholm
MAKESHOP 1. MAPPING
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TUESDAY 19 JUNE 2012, 11 AM – 5 PM
MAKE SHOPS RECODE
AIMS + To attract 20-35 workshop participants in line with the Pavilion context. + To train participants in the practice and value of participatory placemaking. + To engage in team exploration of at least three areas of Helsinki, identify hidden gem spaces where a small intervention can potentially have a large impact, and develop initial ideas for small-scale interventions.
PREPARATIONS + The project website www.makehelsinki.fi was developed and launched. A ‘Placemaking Map’ was incorporated into the site to enable the project partners, the workshop participants and the wider public to document overlooked or underused hidden gem spaces in Helsinki. In addition, several blog posts were written by the project team to build interest in the overall make.helsinki project. + Three areas of Helsinki were pre-selected as areas for exploration that could strongly benefit from an intervention: Itä-Pasila, Siilitie and Mellunmäki.
+ Presentations on the three areas for exploration and formation of participant teams for each of them. In line with participant suggestions, a fourth area was added to the project: Hernesaari. + Facilitated team exploration of the four areas to identify hidden gem spaces, understand the challenges and opportunities of each area, and generate initial intervention ideas. + Team presentations of the day’s findings and results.
OUTCOMES + 32 participants engaged in the workshop and trained in participatory placemaking. + Successful explorations of four different areas of Helsinki and preliminary development of a host of intervention ideas, as outlined in the facilitator reports in the following pages. + Establishment of a solid foundation for the subsequent make.helsinki workshops in terms of igniting participant enthusiasm and building participant teams to focus on each of the areas.
+ Outreach took place to Demos Helsinki’s network of urban activists and enthusiasts to ensure that the targeted number of participants was achieved.
PROCESS + Presentations by Thomas Ermacora and Tommi Laitio on the overall goals of make.helsinki, the importance of participatory placemaking, and the impact it can have on well-being.
HERNESAARI: GAMES & GONDOLAS FACILITATOR REPORT BY TOMMI LAITIO “Hernesaari will develop into a vibrant and cosy part of the Helsinki´s marine inner city” – City Planning Office. Building does not start for another five years. In the mean time, how about turning Hernesaari into the biggest playground for live action games? During our first two minutes in the area we´re (Hella, Rebecca, Satu, Stiina, Niki, Tommi) nearly run over by a local bus. A group of men lurk around the needle exchange point. It´s pouring down as we walk up Munkkisaarenkatu towards Hernesaari. All the signs tell us to ´Keep Out´ and remind that there´s 24-hour surveillance. This is not what I would call cosy.
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You have areas like Hernesaari in most European cities. It´s a landfill built for dockyards. And as they are currently moved further away from the centre or run down, massive areas are vacated for living. But it takes years to get toxic materials out, build and tear down and create the greenery we see in urban plans. Until then, Hernesaari is a bizarre industrial site in the most valuable part of Finland´s capital. Hernesaari actually gets quite a lot of foreign attention. It´s the landing point for helicopters from Tallinn. It is also used for parking the massive cruise liners. Shuttle buses take hundreds of people every day back and forth between the centre and Hernesaari. But let´s be honest: Hernesaari is a horrible first impression for tourists. The signs for a ´design walk´ or ´shopping street´ seem like a joke. The container shopping area has a tourist information point and a store selling Angry Birds candy.
We pass several tourists heading back to the boat. They look miserable. It seems like they´re losing hope of ever making it over to the warm cabin. The seaside stretch seems endless and the wind really does not help. But it´s really the cars that heat up the make.helsinki participants. Hernesaari seems like a massive parking lot. Cars are everywhere and the area is clearly not designed for pedestrians. Almost certainly you end up in a dead-end as the roads are blocked by shipyard gates and cruiseliner security. As we make our way back to the Pavilion, our group starts listing Hernesaari´s dominating features: - a lot of space - empty warehouses - wind - hundreds of stands for sailing and motor boats - dead-end - views to the islands - cut off from all other areas Hella suggests a water taxi linking Hernesaari to Jätkäsaari and Pihlajasaari. Maybe they could be the Finnish version of Venetian gondolas – Singing Rowboats? Niki thinks the halls could be used for antique and used car sales – like in BBC´s Antique Roadshow. We think of orientation games and live action games. Maybe movie screenings for car owners and cyclists? Hernesaari´s potential is in space. It kind of feels like a no man´s land just waiting for the action to hit in.
ITÄ-PASILA: AN URBANISTIC MELANCHOLIA TO BE SALVAGED FACILITATOR REPORT BY THOMAS ERMACORA Concrete, grey, empty spaces everywhere… Itä-Pasila needs colour, people, and plants to be all it can be. Where is everyone? There is a certain sense that the largely immigrant population is shying away indoors, the students just there to sleep, and nobody else going there except by chance in passing to access the fair grounds or the public library. Why is this the perceived norm? My belief is simply that public space is unaffirmed and only a transit area. There is an incredible potential here to turn the neighbourhood inside out, and gradually transform what many consider an architectural monstrosity into an inspiring icon of past utopias full of creativity as residents explore new directions for wrapping their collective identity around the detached urban fabric. I wandered with and without the groups to get a feel for the place, suggesting ideas to spark conversations between participants and guerilla urbanist apprentices- a few with a lot of experience of the area or of the practice, and every single one actively engaging in the creative mapping and ideation process during the winding intuition journey.
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A few ideas that popped up stuck with me as possible ways to break from the monotony of the overhanging pathways of mostly car-free Itä-Pasila. My first intuition was to suggest we do a series of connected interventions instead of a single one to colonize and connect the dots between seemingly identity-less squares and alleys. The second reaction was to play on symbolisms attached to bringing out and celebrating the cultural diversity in the population base there- which is by Finnish standards quite exceptional from what I understand. Third and last reflection was to have an entrance and exit which would lead people in and out through a metaphorical trip. 18
This leaves so many ways to intervene in relevant ways. I must say that this is not about getting attention to our process but getting locals out of their homes to get together again in unusual ways to ask the real questions that matter to them about what I like to call their ‘extended home’. If a neighbourhood can feel that ‘home’ is also outside, then public space becomes a buffer zone between the city’s occasionally hostile anonymity and the oppressing isolation and claustrophobia personalized space can have as a compensation effect to lack of socialization options out of people’s doorsteps. Because the idea is that we all make this happen together, I’ll just braindump ideas that popped into my mind when there… I imagined we could make an allegorical map of the area calling the towers peaks of famous mountains punctuated by wastebased DIY sculptures. Residents could gather at the foot of ‘Mt Kilimanjaro’ for an open air ‘pasila grill’ with edibles grown in some of the flower beds of the ‘pasila botanical walk’, and be guided there by solarpowered coloured lanterns hanging from streetlights built with kids and grandmas. Then each place of the map would have spots with painting on the floor or walls done during open workshops with local artists so everyone can remember the times they shared in making their neighbourhood come alive with flavours, conversations and colours. An entrance and an exit would draw in people that go to the fair grounds or wait at the tram station where there are natural architectural voids and vent structures which could host an intervention- a lounge under the arcades and cafe with music for people waiting? Too much to do maybe but let’s not dream too little either. I am excited to see the coming together of this intervention which could mean so much to ignite the joy trapped in the cement that is crying to be noticed.
SIILITIE: HEDGEHOGS & SUBURB DAY FACILITATOR REPORT BY FRANK VAN HASSELT “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing” Archilochus Our intrepid band of explorers (Malin, Emma, Kaisa, Inka, Olli & Frank) set off for Siilitie. As the research note prepared by Mika from Demos Helsinki told us, Siilitie is a two-kilometre long street in the Herttoniemi area, with a metro station on one end and a motorway and industrial zone on the other. Dating from the 1950s, the area was notoriously restless in the sixties but has now turned into a quiet residential neighbourhood.
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And that was exactly what we found: Siilitie is indeed very quiet. We were blasted by the noise of construction work as we emerged from the Siilitie metro station, but once we’d left that behind us, all was peaceful again. My fellow explorers told me that Siilitie means Hedgehog Road and that seemed very appropriate somehow; after all, hedgehogs aren’t exactly known for their frenetic activity either. Our team carried out a few quick interviews of local residents who were braving the rain and the wind just like us. A woman said that “nothing ever happens around here”. A young man replied that he “only comes here to sleep”. There was apparently a local youth club, “but it’s only for people who go to youth clubs”. But people also felt there was scope for improvement, by offering new activities (such as a skating area in winter) and making better use of public spaces (such as some of the existing sports facilities).
Wishing to see as much of the area as possible within the short time at our disposal, we split up into two teams: a pedestrian team and a bike team. The pedestrian team, which I was part of, wandered around Siilitie’s residential blocks, explored a huge empty building which had just been sold by the church to a developer, marvelled at the amount of public space that wasn’t being used, and eventually got trapped on the motorway and had to make a quick escape by clambering down a steep and soaking wet slope. But we’ve lived to tell the tale. Getting back together with our cycling team mates and making our way back to the pavilion, we found that we all shared the same impressions. Siilitie- like so many other neighbourhoods in so many other cities- doesn’t have any fundamental failings, but just needs an extra dose of vitality. There seems to be a desire among local people for ‘something’ to happen and there is an abundance of public space where ‘something’ could happen. The only thing that needs to be figured out is what that ‘something’ could be. Our initial thoughts gravitated around the idea of ‘Suburb Day’: an event similar in some ways to the Big Lunch and Restaurant Day, where Siilitie residents will be encouraged to appropriate the public space for their own activities. What will it look like exactly? And how do we want to bring it about? We don’t know yet, but we’re hoping to crack the “big thing that the hedgehog knows” at the next workshop.
photo ÂŠ Inka Ahola
© clear-village.org 2012 photo © Janne Salovaara
MELLUNMÄKI: THE FINAL FRONTIER FACILITATOR REPORT BY MIKA HYÖTYLÄINEN I have lived in Helsinki for 23 years. During that time I have visited Mellunmäki twice. My preconceived notion of the area is largely based how “lähiös” (forest suburbs built around the city center) in general are portrayed in the media. Hence I was excited to venture out to the area during the first of the make.helsinki workshops and challenge my stereotypes, whatever they might have been. Tuesday the 19th of June was a grey and rainy Finnish summer day. As the metro pulled to a halt at the very far eastern end of the line, I looked outside at the generic view of concrete tower blocks rising from the woods. Stepping outside, my group was lead directly under an unwelcoming bridge. A perfect example of spatial planning with no regard to the social lives and needs of people. As we walked around Mellunmäki, I felt this type of utilitarian spatial design to be the standard practice. Between buildings a lot of space is allocated for pedestrian use. Large pathways and citizens plazas are simply used to commute through. One is left unsure of other possible uses for these spaces and is drawn to just walk through them.
We visioned a number of small scale cultural interventions into the near vicinity of the metro station which could comment on the unused spaces and create a more lively atmosphere in the neighborhood. There are few places to have a seat along the streets of Mellunmäki. Where there are seats, they are strange and uninviting one person metal chairs. This is street furniture designed from the point of view of excluding unwanted elements and parts of the public instead of facilitating our social needs. Hence we came up with a cheap and easily executable intervention; tin-can phone lines between the single person chairs along the streets! These would be a visible comment on the design, but also a fun and positive way to enforce communication between residents. There is a wooden platform right opposite of the metro station entrance. We thought of all types of cultural events, talks, gigs and social activity on the platform. For now, it seemed out of use and dilapidated. We thought of flea-markets along the streets, livening up the street with art works, giving people access to paint on the now grey and uninspiring fences along the streets.
All in all, we found Mellunmäki full of interesting and inspiring elements; First World War trenches, old villas and natural heritage sites. My stereotypes quickly Quickly my group (Elina, Katharina and Veronica) faded away – this is a beautiful and attractive area established that these vast empty spaces need to be to travel to which holds all kinds of hidden gems. efficiently opened up to the public. By enforcing the spaces as areas of social activity we can create a sense Perhaps by livening up the street life through small interventions, we can wake up others to the beauty of of ownership and entitlement for the residents and this Final Frontier and Make Mellunmäki into a place perhaps we could highlight the attractiveness of the to be, not just pass through. area for visitors.
MAKESHOP 2. GENERATING
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WEDNESDAY 15 AUGUST 2012, 11 AM – 5 PM
+ To attract 20-35 workshop participants in line with the Pavilion context. + To train participants in the practice and value of participatory design. + To co-design an intervention for each of the four selected areas of Helsinki- Hernesaari, Itä-Pasila, Siilitie and Mellunmäki- to be staged during the third and final make.helsinki workshop on 13th September.
+ Presentations by Thomas Ermacora and Tommi Laitio on the goals of the workshop and the participatory design process to achieve them. + Facilitated co-design work by the four participant teams that followed a trajectory from the more abstract to the more practical, starting with the intervention concept, then moving on to the implementation plan, and concluding by evaluating intervention needs in terms of materials, preparations, and so on. + Inspiration talk by Florent Chiappero and Victor Mahé of Collectif Etc*, the French collective of architects that recently carried out the ‘Détour de France’ project which saw them cycling around France for a year to work as itinerant placemakers. The goal of the talk was on the one hand to break up the intense half day of co-design and on the other hand to open up the mindscape to the impact that low-cost interventions can have. + Team presentations of the intervention plans.
To maximize the chance of a successful outcome, each intervention plan needed to + be supported by a strong concept, + be feasible and easy to execute, and + have the potential to serve as a seed for future action in line with the World Design Capital’s goal of “inspiring ordinary citizens to participate in developing their living environment.”
PREPARATIONS + Facebook groups were set up for each of the four selected areas to allow for ongoing interaction and team-building among participants. + Several blog posts were added to www.makehelsinki.fi to elaborate on the outcomes of the first workshop and introduce the second workshop. + Design briefs were developed for each of the four areas and posted online, especially for the benefit of participants who were new to the project. + Outreach again took place to Demos Helsinki’s network of urban activists and enthusiasts to attract the targeted number of participants.
OUTCOMES + 25 participants engaged in the workshop and trained in participatory design. + Intervention plans successfully developed for all four areas- Hernesaari, Itä-Pasila, Siilitie and Mellunmäki- as outlined in the summaries in the following pages. + Strong commitment from a core group of participants to drive forward preparations for the interventions and participate in staging them during the final workshop.
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SIILITIE- ‘FOLLOW THE HEDGEHOG’
‘Enlightened Hernesaari’ is an intervention to light the path to the end of Hernesaari and encourage people to explore the area. At present the path makes for a long and dreary stretch. Like much of Hernesaari, it is lacking in life and uninviting. The intervention aims to counteract this by creating a light installation consisting of lights fixed to trees and bus stops alongside the path. The installation will help to ‘give hope’ to those travelling along the path and will also be visible from the pedestrian path on Eira beach so as to encourage people to continue their walk towards Hernesaari. Two options could be considered for the lights; either rainproof solar light bulbs by Nokero or DIY magnetic LED lights.
‘Follow the Hedgehog’ is an anti-race along Siilitie (‘Hedgehog Road’) where everyone with wheels- bikes, strollers, toys on a string, and so on- will be able to leave their marks in paint. The intervention aims to bring together local residents, including children and elderly people, to take part in an easy-going ‘race’ up and down Siilitie, where the goal is not to be fast and come first but rather to celebrate the slowness and tranquility of the area. In addition, participants will be able to dip their wheels in washable paint at special ‘petrol stations’ staffed by volunteers. In this manner, people will be able to leave their tracks on the road and thus create a collective tapestry of colour to liven up the neighbourhood.
ITÄ-PASILA- ‘SAY IT WITH MOSS’
MELLUNMÄKI- ‘PALVELUPALLI / SERVICE CHAIR’
‘Say it with Moss’ is an intervention to give some much-needed life and colour to Itä-Pasila and also to celebrate the diversity of the area. The aim is to enable people to create their own message in their own language; this could range from a simple “hello”, to something about the area that makes them feel good, to whatever else they may find important and want to express. In advance of the third workshop, messages could be collected from local residents in the street, shops or parks. Then on 13th September the actual moss painting of the messages will take place. At a future date, once the moss has had a chance to grow, this will be followed by a ‘Say it with Moss’ opening party and tour of the neighbourhood.
‘Palvelupalli’ is an intervention to address a number of issues in Mellunmäki: the disappearance of local services, the lack of use of the neighbourhood’s public space, and the fact that the area tends to be a transit place that people only move through rather than spend time in. The aim of ‘Palvelupalli’ is to make use of the single-person benches spread around Mellunmäki and turn them into a network of service points for a day, where local entrepreneurs, shopkeepers and other service providers can offer their services to passersby on different chairs such as a barber chair, a massage chair, and so on. In this manner, the intervention aims to support and draw attention to the services that are still on offer in the area and to create a memorable event that brings local people together.
MAKESHOP 3. MAKING
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THURSDAY 13 SEPTEMBER 2012, 12 – 9 PM
+ To enable make.helsinki participants to take ownership of the planned interventions by letting them take the lead on the preparations and the staging, whilst the project partners transitioned from a driving role to a supporting role. + In line with the overall project goals: to coimplement at least one of the four planned interventions, ideally with the support of local residents and stakeholders, to showcase the effectiveness and excitement of participatory approaches.
+ Participant teams gathered at the intervention areas in the morning and were then joined by those who attended the workshop at the later scheduled time. + In line with the goal of letting participants take the lead, each of the interventions was driven and run entirely by the participants rather than by the project partners. + To conclude the workshop series, participants gathered at the Pavilion in the evening and presented their work to a large audience of Pavilion programme makers.
PREPARATIONS + The intervention plans developed at the second workshop together with additional supporting information were posted on www.makehelsinki.fi. + The project partners assisted the participant teams with the sourcing of required materials within an allocated budget of €200 per intervention. + Participant preparations were extensive, ranging from community outreach, to developing stickers and posters, to obtaining necessary permits. Further details are provided in the intervention summaries in the following pages.
OUTCOMES + In spite of a number of challenges during the preparatory phase, as outlined in the following pages, a core group of participants showed impressive persistence in driving their planned interventions forward. + Three interventions were staged: in Itä-Pasila, Siilitie and Mellunmäki (though the Mellunmäki intervention took place on 14th rather than 13th September in line with local requests). The only intervention that was cancelled in advance of the workshop on account of a lack of participant engagement was Hernesaari. + All three interventions successfully engaged local residents and stakeholders such as Itä-Pasila iskuun, Siilitie schoolchildren and the Mellunmäki Residents’ Association and thus helped to promote the World Design Capital’s message of “inspiring ordinary citizens to participate in developing their living environment.”
ITÄ-PASILA: SAY IT WITH MOSS
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The Itä-Pasila intervention faced two challenges during the preparatory phase. Firstly, the participant team suffered from a degree of ‘attrition’ which saw a number of participants dropping out of the project. As a result, it was decided to scale back on the original project plan and not to try and collect greetings from local people in advance of the intervention. Secondly, none of the participant team had experience with moss graffiti and a test graffiti showed that growing moss was significantly harder than the easy-sounding instructions on the internet suggested. Nonetheless, the participants persisted and collaborated with a local movement called Itä-Pasila iskuun which offered the use of their premises, connections and other resources. On the day of the intervention, the make. helsinki participants got together with local residents and schoolchildren to paint moss graffitis. Since the children preferred the idea of painting pictures to messages, the original project idea was adapted to livening up some of the gloomy stairways in Itä-Pasila. It was unclear afterwards whether or not the moss graffitis would grow, but several locals were willing to water them and fortunately the graffitis would remain visible anyway on account of the green/brown paint.
“IT WAS AN INTERESTING LEARNING EXPERIENCE FOR US ALL. AND IT WAS FUN!” “SO WHAT DID WE LEARN FROM THE ‘SAY IT WITH MOSS’ PROJECT? AT LEAST THREE THINGS: + IT IS HARD TO ENGAGE PEOPLE IN PROJECTS WHICH ARE LONG LASTING, PROCEED SLOWLY AND AREN’T MEANINGFUL ENOUGH FOR THE MAKERS + THE PARTICIPATION OF LOCAL PEOPLE IS VITAL FOR SUCH PROJECTS + DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING WRITTEN ON THE INTERNET”
“FOR A DAY WE TURNED ONE STREET CORNER INTO A STAGE”
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A MAKE.HELSINKI PARTICIPANT
SIILITIE: UMBRELLA PICNIC The original intervention plan was to organize a leisurely anti-race along Siilitie where everyone with wheels would be able to dip them in paint and leave colourful tracks in the neighbourhood. However, it proved difficult to find washable paint that could easily be removed and so the participant team decided on an alternative intervention: a one-day umbrella installation that would serve as a picnic location for local people. An agreement was reached with the Public Works Department to stage the intervention at the Siilitie and Kettutie crossroads; a large number of umbrellas was donated by Finland’s Found Property Service; posters were made and hung up in the area; a Facebook event was created; and outreach took place to the local kindergarten, school, Red Service, and nursing home. On the day of the intervention, the participant team constructed a large umbrella tent and offered coffee, juice and cake to passersby. Many local people stopped by: pensioners, mothers with babies, young children sheltering from the rain, older bikers, and a large group of kindergarten children who constructed their own installation of mini-tents with single umbrellas. In the afternoon, the installation was dismantled and the umbrellas were given to the last few picnic visitors or provided with greeting notes and left as surprise presents at nearby bus stops.
“MOST OF THE PEOPLE SEEMED DELIGHTED AND SOME OF THEM EVEN GAVE US FEEDBACK ABOUT THE PICNIC LIVENING UP THE AREA.” “MAYBE WE PLANTED A SEED OF LATER HAPPENINGS, MAYBE NOT, BUT AT LEAST FOR A DAY WE TURNED ONE STREET CORNER INTO A STAGE OF ‘ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN, SO WHY NOT TRY.’”
MELLUNMÄKI: PALVELUPALLI SERVICE CHAIR
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In comparison with the other interventions, the Mellunmäki intervention faced fewest challenges and followed the straightest trajectory from intervention plan at workshop two to intervention implementation at workshop three. The participant team reached out to the Mellunmäki Residents’ Association, who were extremely excited about the initiative and eager to support as a local partner. Several meetings took place in Mellunmäki to coordinate the event, stickers and posters were created and distributed, and a Facebook event page and blog site were developed. On the day of the intervention (which was on 14th rather than 13th September upon request by the Residents’ Association), a host of local service providers helped to turn Mellunmäki’s single-person public benches into a network of service points. Among the service providers present were a healthcare worker, a priest, a story teller, a masseuse and a hairdresser. Despite the rain, a number of local people were served on the Palvelupalli and many others engaged with the participant team around the themes that the intervention aimed to highlight, such as the disappearance of local services and the need to turn Mellunmäki into a place that people spend time in rather than only pass through.
“IT WAS A GOOD TRY, WE DID HAVE A POINT IN DOING IT AND THERE IS MUCH WORK TO BE DONE.” “MORE WILL FOLLOW AND WE’LL KEEP WORKING WITH MELLUNMÄKI AS A PLACE, BUT MOSTLY AS A COMMUNITY.”
PALVELUT TAKAISIN MELLUNMAKEEN! PALVELUT TAKAISIN
TUOLIMATKA TARINOIHIN !
TULE MUKAAN KUN MELLUNMÄEN ORVOT PUISTOJAKKARAT MUUTTUVAT PALVELUPALLEIKSI! PÄIVÄN AJAN NE TARJOAVAT SINULLE KAMPAAMO-, JUMPPAUS-, TULE MUKAAN KUN JA MELLUNMÄEN ORVOT PUISTOJAKLEFFA-, TERVEYSFILLARINKORJAUSPALVELUITA KARATPALJON MUUTTUVAT PALVELUPALLEIKSI! PÄIVÄN AJAN SEKÄ MUUTA. MELLUNMÄEN OLEMASSAOLENE TARJOAVAT SINULLE KAMPAAMO-, JUMPPAUS-, VAT JA PUUTTUVAT PALVELUT NOUSEVAT ESIIN MEIDÄN LEFFA-, TERVEYSJA FILLARINKORJAUSPALVELUITA YHTEISELLÄ PIHALLAMME! SEKÄ PALJON MUUTA. MELLUNMÄEN OLEMASSAOLEKATSO LISÄÄ PALVELUPALLI.WORDPRESS.COM VAT JA PUUTTUVAT PALVELUT NOUSEVAT ESIIN MEIDÄN YHTEISELLÄ PIHALLAMME! KATSO LISÄÄ PALVELUPALLI.WORDPRESS.COM
TUOLIMATKA TARINOIHIN !
PALVELUPALLI MAKE HELSINKI: PALVELUPALLI 14.9. 13-19
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CONCLUSIONS OUTCOMES The outcomes of the make.helsinki experiment can be summarized as follows: + Participation. Approximately 50 people took part in the workshop series and were empowered in the practice of planning, designing and staging participatory interventions. + Interventions. Three interventions were staged- in Itä-Pasila, Siilitie and Mellunmäki- which all achieved the goals of addressing broader issues in the areas where they were held and potentially allowing for replication.
© clear-village.org 2012
+ Local involvement. All the interventions that were staged managed to achieve local involvement, including Itä-Pasila iskuun in Itä-Pasila, the local kindergarten in Siilitie, and the Residents’ Association in Mellunmäki.
+ Online outreach. The project website www. makehelsinki.fi generated a good amount of traffic and interaction, with participants contributing content and the blog posts receiving over 3,000 views during the project. + Media coverage. Two of the interventions received media coverage. The Siilitie intervention was featured on Omakaupunki, an online service owned by Helsingin Sanomat which offers local Helsinki news, and also in the 14th September edition of Metro, which is Finland’s third largest printed news medium and reaches 263,000 daily readers. The Mellunmäki intervention was featured in the 15th September edition of Helsingin Sanomat, which is the largest daily subscription-based newspaper in the Nordic countries and is read by more than three-fourths of the residents of the Helsinki metropolitan area and a quarter of all Finns.
“THANK YOU FOR ORGANISING THE WHOLE THING. IT SURE WAS FUN AND LOOKS LIKE IT'LL CONTINUE FOR US AS A LONGER PROJECT.” A PARTICIPANT ABOUT MAKE.HELSINKI
“IT'S INSPIRING TO SEE HOW MUCH PEOPLE ARE STILL ENGAGING WITH MELLUNMÄKI” © clear-village.org 2012
THOMAS ERMACORA, CLEAR VILLAGE
The make.helsinki experiment underlined several key points that have also been found in other projects carried out by CLEAR VILLAGE and Demos Helsinki:
It was noticed during the project that the core group of enthusiasts- those who took part in multiple workshops and drove the interventions forwardshared a number of characteristics. They were young (mostly under 30), still studying or in the early stages of their career, and did not yet have family responsibilities. It would appear that any project like make.helsinki should try to attract participants especially from this target group, as they are most likely to have the time and inclination for sustained project involvement.
LOCAL INVOLVEMENT It is essential to involve local people in interventions like those of make.helsinki. It is no coincidence that the three interventions that were staged (It채-Pasila, Siilitie and Mellunm채ki) were organized together with local people, while the intervention that was cancelled (Hernesaari) was not. Local involvement helps to maintain participant momentum in two ways. Firstly, it makes the potential value of the intervention more tangible, as it is being done with and for local people. And secondly, it creates a degree of positive pressure, since local people will expect the promised intervention to take place.
PARTICIPANT ENGAGEMENT While the number of make.helsinki participants stayed approximately the same from workshop one to two, there was a certain degree of attrition from workshop two to three. This can probably be explained by the fact that workshop three required participants to invest more time and assume more responsibility than the other workshops. In planning interventions like those of make.helsinki, it is therefore essential to build a core group of enthusiasts who will keep the project moving at all times, as a certain part of the participant group is likely to disengage during the more demanding phases of the project.
LEGACY PROJECT INTERVENTIONS
It is difficult to estimate at present what the legacy of the Itä-Pasila, Siilitie and Mellunmäki interventions will be. There is hope that the Itä-Pasila intervention will still work out if the challenges of growing moss are overcome and that the Siilitie intervention will inspire a follow-up project. However, in all likelihood the Mellunmäki intervention has the largest chances of achieving an ongoing legacy. Both the make. helsinki participants and the Mellunmäki Residents’ association are eager to pursue the project; an application for funding has been submitted to the City of Helsinki; and a second ‘Palvelupalli’ event has already been successfully held and planning has begun for a third event.
Finally, the completion of the make.helsinki experiment also saw the birth of a pioneering new initiative in Helsinki. Shortly after the third and final make.helsinki workshop, Thomas Ermacora of CLEAR VILLAGE organised an event on ‘the fringes of guerilla urbanism’ in collaboration with Saara Hannula of Reality Research Center. The event, which was held in the hub of Helsinki Design Week on 14th September 2012, brought together representatives from various local urban activist groups to discuss the idea of forming a coalition which could serve as an identifiable task force to bring more coherence to alternative placemaking in the city. As a result, the Prototype Helsinki coalition was launched. Prototype Helsinki has recently been awarded a major grant from the Kone Foundation (www.koneensaatio.fi) and will be able to ramp up activities in 2013 to ensure that grassroots actors play a larger role in shaping the long-term development of the city.
MAKE.HELSINKI PROJECT MODEL
© clear-village.org 2012
In addition to the individual interventions, the overall make.helsinki experiment can also be considered an urban intervention. The project model- of bringing together local placemaking activists and enthusiasts to map a city’s hidden gems, generate design interventions, and then stage them- is one that can be replicated elsewhere, either by the project partners or others. CLEAR VILLAGE, in any case, is eager to apply the model in other European cities and will pursue relevant opportunities in the course of 2012 and 2013.
photo ÂŠ Janne Salovaara
CLOSING REMARKS Guerilla urbanism is a field that is expanding fast and beginning to reach out to the formal world. The make.helsinki experiment aimed to support this development by igniting embedded capacities and enabling makers-to-be to take action in the public realm. In doing so, it helped to provide an example to the design community at large that soft interventionist practices- which combine art, technology and social enterprise symbiotically- can produce an empowering learning experience for activists and locals, which can have ripple effects into local democracy, urban planning and cultural vitality.
© clear-village.org 2012
For an international organisation like CLEAR VILLAGE, it was an extraordinary asset to be able to work with a highly innovative yet also deeply-anchored think tank like Demos Helsinki. In all respects, the partnership worked excellently and did not suffer any adverse effects from the geographical separation. The participatory DNA of the project, the collaborative intelligence that was generated, and the concrete outcomes that were achieved all make the experiment feel like a strong success to the project partners and, based on the feedback we have received, the majority of participants. Though it hadn’t been explicitly defined as a project aim, an important secondary intention of make. helsinki was to reach out to the existing urban activists in Helsinki and spark synergies between them. In this respect, the launch of Prototype Helsinki can be considered a tremendous leap forward. With broad support from Helsinki’s urban
activist groups and funding in place from the Kone Foundation, Prototype Helsinki is well positioned to do on a systemic level what make.helsinki did on a smaller level: envisioning and prototyping new types of infrastructure, municipal services and cultural experiences before the city commits to building anything permanent. Finally, what seems striking about the make. helsinki experiment from the perspective of the project partners is the overall cost efficiency of the project. With a relatively small budget, make.helsinki nonetheless managed to produce a substantial amount of learning, capacity development, and promotion for an emerging field of planning which combines the grass-roots ethos with a respect for local authorities. We hope, therefore, that make. helsinki will also inspire others to ‘make’ their city and that this report provides a valuable overview of some of the ways in which this can be accomplished.
“ALREADY NOW IT IS CLEAR THAT TOGETHER WE'VE MANAGED TO MAKE SOMETHING AMAZING HAPPEN” TOMMI LAITI0, DEMOS HELSINKI
CONTACT CLEAR VILLAGE THOMAS ERMACORA email@example.com FRANK VAN HASSELT firstname.lastname@example.org DEMOS HELSINKI TUULI KASKINEN email@example.com
Special thanks to KAARINA GOULD
© clear-village.org 2012
WDC programme Director
CREATIVE REGENERATION SPECIALISTS
Report on the Make Helsinki co-creative project that took place in the summer of 2012 as part of Helsinki World Design Capital