Issuu on Google+

the river ness “ t hr o ug h

o ur e y e s

�

m a p p i ng w o r k s ho p s | i dea s | o p i ni o ns | i nf o r ma t i o n march 2013


preface The River Ness flows through the heart of the city of Inverness, and it is currently undergoing major changes. It’s banks are being re-engineered as part of a flood alleviation scheme, which over the next few years will radically change the landscape of the river. It is a perfect time to consider opportunities for a more engaged riverside setting. So, Architecture and Design Scotland (A+DS) were invited to work with Inverness Old Town Arts (IOTA) to run a series of participation workshops with young people. The aim was to explore and map the areas around the river, and to create a dialogue with school pupils about the places and spaces which are important to them. Culloden Academy and Inverness High School were keen to get involved, and over two days in March 2013, workshops took place at the Old Boys Cathedral on the banks of the river. This document is the result of these workshops, and describes in the words of the young people what the river means to them, and how they could see ways to improve their experience of the river for the future.


what we did

what we found

1/ imagin i n g t h e r i v e r si de

1/ s o , w h a t ’ s t h e r e n o w

e ac h o n e o f u s c h o s e a n i n s p i r a t i o n i m a g e whic h we liked, a nd listed 3 r ea so ns why.

3/ m a k in g o u r m a r k

2/ mapp i n g t h e R i v e r Ne ss f o r th e Hu n t l y S t r e e t / B a n k S t r e e t s e ct i on o f the r iv er side, we ma p p ed the p la c es w e l i k e to g o a n d t h e p l a c e s w e a v o id. T his g a v e us a mind ma p o f existing c o n d i ti o n s , w h i ch co u l d b e t h e b a s i s f o r o u r site v isits.

2/ o u r lik e s a n d d is lik e s

I t’s a b o ut r ec o r ding o u r

o p i n i o n s an d t h o u g h t s . . .

3/ ‘s ite v i si t ’ w i th o u r s ta r t i n g p o i n t o f ‘ w h a t ’ s t h e r e no w’, we wa nted to exp lo r e a p a r tic u la r r o u te ar o u n d t h e r i v e r s i d e t o e x a m i n e a nd desc r ib e the p o tentia l o f the r iv er side as w e s e e i t . O n e o f t h e o u t p u t s fr o m this wa s a ma r k whic h we ma de c ho o sing an d d e f i n i n g a p o i n t w h e r e w e w a n t e d to see a c ha ng e ma de.

4/ pres en t at i o n po st e r b ac k i n th e ‘ s t u d i o ’ , w e c o n v e r t e d o u r disc u ssio ns f r o m the ‘site’ to idea s f o r the r i v e r s i d e : i m a g i n i n g t h e p o s s i b i l i t i e s , we p r esented o u r key f inding s a s a p o ster w h i c h w o ul d c a p t u r e a n d co n v e y t h e ma in messa g es o f wha t we like no w a nd w h at w e w a n t t o ch a n g e .

5/ If you c o u l d c h an ge o n e t h i ng? w e w e r e e a ch i n d i v i d u a l l y a s k e d t o cho o se j ust o ne thing f r o m the da y to ta ke f o r w ar d as a p o t e n t i a l p r o j e c t . . . t h e ma in p r o j ec t we wo uld p r o p o se whic h s u m m ar i s e d a l l o u r fi n d i n g s a n d t h e t h o ug hts f r o m the da y .

4/ w h a t w e w a n t t o d o , a n d w h e r e 5/ if w e c o u ld d o o n e t h in g . . . 6/ w h a t ’ s n e xt ?


1. so, what’s there now? exploring and mapping In groups, we planned a walking route around the river, to visit the places we like and places we don’t like. The aim of this was to explore and map what’s here now and to record our thoughts and ideas. This diagram represents the routes we took.


ro ut e

planning our walking route...


2. our likes and dislikes ‘We love the views of the river’ There are many reasons we go to the river – it’s a place to go for lunch, we can sit outside and draw, we go there to look at the water, and to sit and talk to friends. It’s also a place where you can see animals, if they are around. There are great viewpoints from the river too – like when the sun hits the water, and the beautiful view of the castle. We like to sit where it’s quiet, where there are trees and flowers, and where we can be close to the water - but we don’t want to go down a steep bank. There is a slipway off the river, which gives fisherman and canoeists access to the water. We sometimes hang out here – it’s a good place to sit because it’s quieter and calmer than on Bank Street. But at the moment, it’s rocky, narrow, steep and not well kept – there’s fag butts, and dog muck, and litter everywhere. It would be nice if the place was cleaned up – and better access to the water would be good too. But generally there are not very many places to sit. We’d like there to be more seating and less traffic – we think this would encourage people to sit by the river. There are more places to sit on Bank Street – it’s feels more modern on this side, doesn’t have litter, and it gets the sun. We like it on the sunny side.


We like the sunny side! We like to sit where it’s quiet, and where we can be close to the water - but we don’t want to go down a steep bank

We’d like there to be more seating and less traffic – encourage people to sit by the river The castle is really important in Inverness It’s a good spot to people watch!

slipway

You can see animals, if they are around!

There are great viewpoints – like when the sun hits the water, and the beautiful view of the castle.

seals

t h e cas tle rabbits fishing spot

N e s s is lan d s

key places we have been / places we like places we have never been / don’t like


‘The bouncy bridge is a really important way into town’ Ness Bridge is really difficult to cross on both sides of it – the traffic is really busy here. But we like the views of the Bridge, especially when it lights up at night. It’s lovely to have light and colour reflecting on the water. We use the bouncy bridge (Greig Street Bridge) a lot to cross the river – it’s a really important way into town. And we like that it is bouncy. But we’d like it to be easier for pedestrians to cross the river, perhaps another smaller bridge for people to use. We don’t walk down Huntly Street much at all, there’s no reason other than to get to the Grieg Street Bridge. And we wouldn’t really go beyond Friars Bridge – the underpass feels scary, dirty and a bit dodgy. We don’t like walking over the bridge either – it’s loud, windy and exposed, with lots of traffic. The paths along Huntly Street are really bad – we’d like the pavements to be more modern, with no paving slabs. We have different opinions on having the road level with the pavements [shared surfaces]. Some of us like this modern paving and street style – it’s nice and open, it’s easier for cyclists and gives more room. But some of us think this feels dangerous and unsafe.


shopping watch people sing too busy and loud, and lots o traffic

cafe shopping pubs CYC

avoid at night

print studio

We use the Greig Street Bridge a lot to cross the river – we like that it is bouncy!

There are many reasons why we go to sit by the river – it’s a place to go for lunch, we can sit outside and draw, we go there to look at the water,

Ness Bridge is really difficult to cross – but we like when it lights up at night.

car park shopping

avoid at night

Jimmy Chungs

McDonalds

busking

key places we have been / places we like places we have never been / don’t like


‘Things feel old and broken’ There are bits of the river that don’t feel very well looked after – there’s a lot of dog muck, cigarette butts lying around, and lots of litter. In certain areas, things feel old and broken, and some of the grassy areas are really muddy because the pavement is not big enough for both bikes and people. The bathrooms next to the Castle steps are disgusting and there are cigarette butts everywhere. It’s not very appealing, and generally it’s not a very nice area to be in. We really like the view from the Castle, but the steps up to it are dirty and antisocial. And another problem in Inverness is the seagulls – they’ll sit on your car, leave mess on it and scratch it. They pull litter out of bins, and eat stuff. We hate them.


scary... dodgy: ‘weed haven’

It would be nice if the place was cleaned up – and better access to the water.

there’s a lot of dog muck, cigarette butts lying around, and lots of litter...

pubs avoid at night

just houses, nothing to do here

Bumpers Lane

We don’t walk down Huntly Street much at all – especially at the moment while the roadworks block the shops.

We’d like there to be more modern buildings, but they have to fit in with the architecture of the town. avoid at night

The bathrooms next to the Castle steps are disgusting... It’s not very appealing, and generally it’s not a very nice area to be in. just houses, nothing to do here

go to Ness Islands in summer: nature-y in the city

key places we have been / places we like places we have never been / don’t like


‘We would like to be able to do more’ There are more things to do and see north of the river – but at some parts of the riverside, there’s not really much for us to do at all. We like to cycle, BMX and do free running – but there’s not really any space to play. We would like to be able to do more in the open spaces. Some of us are into free running – but the only place we can do this is up at the Castle. We need to have low walls and railings to allow us to do this – and spikes on fences are bad for free running. The Castle is really important in Inverness – it has a really cool view, and a lot of photographers come here to take pictures. It’s a good spot to people watch. You can see the High School, all the churches, the river and the bridge - and on a good day you can see Ben Wyvis. There’s grass and trees, and rabbits up at the castle. Sometimes there are concerts here in the summer because it’s big enough to hold a stage. Otherwise, there’s not very much to do – we’d prefer if it was open to visit, perhaps as a museum. We love going to Ness Islands because we can go into the water here – it’s not so fast flowing, and there are little river beaches where we can get close to the water. We like that it feels close to nature – there are lots more trees and wildlife.


We like t o cycle, BMX an d do free running – We wou ld like to be able to do mo re in t h e open s paces .

T here are a couple places you can get down to the wat ers edge but we’ re n o t allowed in the water becau se it’ s s o f as t f lowing. raft races

There is a ram p which gi ves acces s to the water. We s om etim es hang out here – i t’s a good place to s it because it’ s quieter and calmer

We wa nt to be a b le to sit a nd ha ve a pi cni c, a n d feel l i ke we’re cl ose to th e ri ver!

freerunners @ slipway

lunch

McDonalds

‘people watching’ raft races

We want to g et cl oser – so ma ybe we coul d di p our feet i n, or even paddl e i f we fel t bra ve enough! Whin Park Aquadome Eden Court

freerunners

W e love g oin g to N ess I sla n d s b eca u se w e ca n g o in to th e w a ter h er e. . . th er e a r e lots mor e tr ees a n d w ild lif e.

nice side of the river: less buildings and more grassy

key 5km run

places we have been / places we like places we have never been / don’t like


‘People were here before you’ There are steps down to the water, which were used by people to wash their clothes in the river - it’s interesting to think that people were here before you, that they were probably standing where you’re standing. It would be good if there were more maps and information telling people about the history of Inverness. A lot of tourists take pictures from the river, or the water and the castle, and the other old buildings. There is a mix of old and new buildings along the river – mostly old! Some of the new buildings look a bit ‘random’, and some ruin the ‘silhouette of the city’. We’d like there to be more modern buildings, but they have to fit in with the architecture of the town. There are a lot of churches along the riverside – we think some of these could do with being restored. Some of the churches don’t seem to be used very often – they look nice and are good for big events, but for some of us they are not very important buildings.


It would be good if there were more maps telling people about the history of Inverness

Some of the churches don’t seem to be used very often – they look nice and are good for big events, but for some of us they are not very important buildings.

There are steps down to the water, which were used by people to wash their clothes - it’s interesting to think that people were here before you, that they were probably standing where you’re standing.

There are great viewpoints from the river – there’s a beautiful view of the castle.

key places we have been / places we like places we have never been / don’t like


our experience summarised When we overlay all the places which we like, the places we tend to avoid, and the opportunities which we noticed as we did our tour, we can identify zones summarising how we see the city around the riverside. There are clear zones where there are multiple things we don’t like or feel scared by, and also clear areas where we spend the majority of our time because there are facilities and places which we like. We can also see the routes we take around the town centre, joining the dots between places we like to go and the places we choose to spend our time.


key zones we don’t like zones we do like / activity routes we take nodes of concentrated activity places we have been / places we like places we have never been / don’t like


3. making our mark marking out an important place... While out walking the route we chose to explore, we stopped and marked out a space that was particularly important to us. We didn’t plan these in advance, rather as we were talking about the riverside we noticed places where our opinions and observations were strongest. We used a line and pegs to mark this place out: setting out the extents of the area of particular meaning. We want these marked out spaces to be signs for the most important places for change. Each group selected a different place to mark out. These are illustrated over the following pages.


2

4

3

‘We want to have better access to the water...’ ‘We want to get involved’

‘We want to sit close to the water’

1

5

‘We want to feel part of the river’

‘We want Inverness to stand out’


‘We want to sit close to the water’

We’d like lots of seating – relaxing, peaceful areas to sit and watch the scenery, to draw, and to sit and chat with your friends. Places to sit and eat your lunch or have a picnic, and to sit or sunbathe when it’s sunny – and to watch the sunset. But when the weather’s bad there could be sheltered seating spots too. And we’d really love it if we could sit closer to the water. Maybe a path or platform in the water, so you can ‘walk on the river’, and watch the water. Perhaps with a café too. What about tidal seating or wide steps into the water – we’d like it to go gradually into the water, this makes it feel nice and calm. Being close to the water means we might see some sea life, and be closer to nature. We’d like the seating and tables to be modern and bright, and seats should be of different styles and materials – not all the same. We’d like to sit on rocks, decking, and smooth seats. And good use of lighting to make places bright and colourful. We’d like to have grassy areas near the river for people to sit in summer, with lots of trees and plants. We want it to feel natural – a place which encourages wildlife. Perhaps the tops of the poles along the river could be decorated with pictures or writing – but could also attract animals too. We want people to see how amazing it is by the river – we could have pairs of binoculars to help people see the wildlife.


‘We want to have better access to the water...’ There are a couple of places where we can get close to the water – but we’re not allowed in it anywhere because it’s so fast flowing. But we want to get closer so that maybe we could dip our feet in, or even paddle if we felt brave enough. We want to be able to sit and have a picnic, feel like we’re close to the river, and that we’re a part of it. But it does need to be safe, so people can’t fall in easily.


... We want to feel part of the river

We’d like it if the river could be opened up for other uses, and for visitors to the city – perhaps to go on boats, a jetty to allow people to go fishing, make spaces around it to walk, or sit and look out along the river. We want Inverness to attract tourists – with places which are bright and open. And at historical points down the river, there could be posts which tell people about the history of Inverness.


‘We want to get involved’

We want more open spaces, with different terrain and obstacles for street sports. We’d like to turn unused space (‘waste of space’) into a park – a place we could go for BMX and skate boarding, and a free running area. We want fun, ‘teenage’ places – perhaps a floating ferris wheel, or an ice rink. We think a band stand shelter for buskers would be a good idea – a stage for bands to play. We could have ‘pop up’ things in the park, which come and go when they’re not being used. We’d like to get involved in some of the things that happen – perhaps the schools could get together and do something arty – big banners, or a massive poster, and there could be some amazing graffiti about the community. What about organising all the children at all the schools to put a handprint, or write something on a big wall? And we want more places to get good food and drinks, and some shops along the river would make us walk along it more too.


‘We want Inverness to stand out’

We want the river to have more colour. Different features could be painted – the bridge, the lampposts, railings – this would make places stand out more, make it feel brighter and better looked after. Lighting could really improve some of the less well looked after places. There could be more lights beside the water, and even lighting projections on the water. We like simple, modern design – but it needs to fit in with Inverness. Curved lines, rather than straight lines are good, as they represent the flow of the river. We like lots of open space, but not high walls or one big flat space – we like the idea of having things at different levels. We don’t want just one texture or colour – but a variety. Natural stone, wooden decking, lots of green plants, and concrete can look good – as long as there’s not too much tarmac. We don’t want materials which draw your attention away from the river.


4. what we want to do, and where presentation posters To present our thoughts and findings from all the stages of mapping, site exploration, photography, and marking the space we feel most strongly about, we made posters in groups. These highlight the main messages we wanted to get across. We presented these posters back to the other groups, sharing our opinions and suggestions for what might happen to change the River Ness riverside for the better.


ideas for the River Ness

we propose a new bridge for pedestrians next to Friar’s Bridge, as it is very loud, dangerous and unsafe... there could be tidal seating at Friar’s Green, and more colour and more plants in this area... the slipway could be used for planting.


‘making space’

the main project should be a park at Friar’s Green, with new railings, a band stand shelter for buskers, and uneven steps into the water for sitting on. new restaurants and clothes shops would make us walk along the Huntly Street side... the things in the park could be ‘pop up’ which come and go when they’re not being used.


ideas for the River Ness

“

get new benches that are more modern and brighter... ... make everything brighter colours because its dull

add more things to do / see north of the river benches closer to the water and maybe a path in water so you can walk on the river... more open spaces with different terrain and obstables for street sports


‘The good, the bad, and the Inverness’

I like the castle because it makes me feel tall for once. we would like to swim in the river in the summer as right now the water is cold and fast flowing, cold, dirty and cold! lots of people cross the bridge. It should be more unstable so it can be more bouncy


‘a waste of space’

more map... more shelters... more grassy bits... more seats... nice views... nicer graffiti... free running area... schools should get together and do something arty, and make a park or BMX park in the ‘waste of space’


5. if we could do one thing... individual ideas At the end of the group exploration and mapping project, we individually wrote down the one thing that was most important to us. We wrote these on fliers of paper which we then hung on a string along a map of the river. This was a way to focus all our many thoughts from the workshop down to one specific action. We represented these through sketches, words, statements and diagrams.


if we could do one thing by the River Ness… art We’d like there to be a big sculpture in the river. And we’d like to get involved in making more art in Inverness. lighting and colour We’d brighten everything up. By adding more lighting and colour, painting railings, lampposts and fences, it would really make a difference to the feel of the area. It could be cleaned up, with more flowers along the bank. We could have bright, colourful lights projecting onto the river. seating We want more seats and open spaces so people can go to the river to sit, and chill out. The river should be inviting and welcoming for both locals and tourists. We want modern, brighter seating, and wooden benches with cool designs. access to the river We want to make an area that goes onto the river. Perhaps it could cut into the bank with different terrain and obstacles for street sports. We could have a deck along the water for people to sit on when it’s sunny, and put more things in place to attract wildlife – perhaps a pair of binoculars on the path to make people more aware of the wildlife around them. things to do We want to make better use of unused space - we’d like to get a new BMX track, a park for teenagers and a freerunning area. A place which everyone will enjoy. We’d like more things to do – shops, a place to play, more fun places to go (a ferris wheel). Could we make the bouncy bridge less stable – make it more bouncy? routes and paths We think the paths and pavements could be improved – they could be made more appealing, and brightened up. Perhaps we could have a new modern boardwalk along the river.


6. what next? The school pupils gave us many insights into how they feel about the River Ness. By listening to what they like and dislike, we can build a picture of where changes could happen... During the workshops and in discussions, the students began to identify a rich variety of changes they’d like to see. They began describing projects and changes they would like to help set in motion. There is scope to develop these initial ideas further, working with the schools and pupils to integrate an ongoing educational programme within the context of Curriculum for Excellence.

...shift//se ò l These pupil initiated proposals for change tie in with IOTA’s shift//seòl project. The Gaelic word ‘seòl’ has many meanings, and we use this diversity here to structure and illustrate the messages from the children.


seòl nm.

g.v.

seòl va.

method, mode, manner, way, opportunity, means

g u i d e , d i r e c t , i n s t r u c t , p o i n t o u t , s h o w s e ò l v a . s a i l , n a v i g a t e s e ò l c e r e m o n i a l s e ò l tactics

ceremonial

n

a

v

ig

a

te

point out

opportunity

t a c t i c s


opportunity

project briefs temporary projects access to the water

point out

+

art installations design interpretation boards

navigate

mapping: identify routes mapping: identify places of interest

ceremonial

+

s p a c e

=

+ www. +

festivals and special events community clean-up events

tactics

plan a strategy for bringing the riverside to life, workshops to engage participation again to ensure this team of pupils feel involved. new skills: arts: communication, design new skills: environmental: biology, ecology, history, geography


experiences and insights “It was such a calm and comfortable day, a tad wet and cold but it was great just to walk round with your mates and talk about Inverness and how we could contribute to make it better. The leaders were lovely and welcoming and if anyone else is offered the opportunity I would advise them to grab it with both hands”. Caitlin Mackintosh - Inverness High School

“I enjoyed meeting the leaders and walking around plotting places. Everything was so enjoyable and I hope that there is another meeting again soon”. Nicole MacIntosh - Inverness High School

“I really enjoyed it because we got to work with professionals and we got to see the horrible parts of Inverness and thought of ways to fix them as a team. Making the poster with our brilliant ideas was fun as well”. Shona Urquhart - Inverness High School.

“I really enjoyed working with IOTA as I enjoyed discussing my ideas what we could do to improve Inverness with my group and with professionals. I am really glad that the professionals were there to listen to our ideas because since we are just kids nobody really listen to us about big ideas and projects like the one we are doing with IOTA. There is a saying “Children should be seen and not heard”, but this is a chance to be heard!” Jaden Anderson - Inverness High School


Architecture + Design Scotland 11 Mitchell Lane, Glasgow, G1 3NU 0141 204 7917

IOTA (Inverness Old Town Art) Town House, Inverness, IV1 1JJ 01463 785005

liz thomas landscape architect G11, 151 London Road, Edinburgh, EH7 6AE 07814 662 328

www.ads.org.uk

www.invernessoldtownart.co.uk

www.lizthomas.co.uk


The River Ness : Through Our Eyes