We had a great time at last weekend's event in Saint James Park. Some of our photos can be seen here at this link.
Above: Informational board for our workshop today. Participants will select a scale figure (1:30 scale) and imagine what that person would like to have in the park. We will have inspirational images if innovative spaces for them to see to get their ideas flowing. Next participants will pick out a base to build their design upon. If they imagine a light or a fan in their space, they can select a battery and an LED light or pager motor. Next they will select a few building materials to start with and experiment with as they create their architectural model. When their designs are completed, each participant will write an explanatory statement on a note card. What community need does your structure address? How does your design address this need?
Lastly, we will place the model and the scale figure on our stage to photograph it and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #prototypingpublicspaces. The participants will then take their creations home, or recycle the materials for the next visitor.
Above: Cardboard Attachment sample board I created that was inspired by a posting I saw on twitter by the Exploratorium's Tinkering Studio. It shared a cardboard attachments anchor chart by Sarah Wyman.
Last Sunday, the Alum Rock Educational Foundation and Okada Design collaborated in running a booth at the San Jose Mini Maker Faire. We had a team of local youth assist us and they will be back helping us this coming weekend for the Prototyping Public Spaces workshop in Saint James Park. One of the goals for our public workshops is to give local youth the opportunity to assist in leading. Sharing their maker skills in these public makerspaces is a way to build their leadership skills and illustrates to them that they can connect community though creative making. The youth assistants were also great in helping me redesign the activity on the fly last weekend when we ran out of satin half masks. They helped design and prep the new direction of the activity using paper plates as we engaged in real time with the public. This kind of adaptability and innovation skills are wonderful to see! Below are a few of our helpers, many of whom will be back helping us on Saturday at the Prototyping Public Spaces workshop.
I am so grateful to the TechShop SJ for allowing me to laser cut platforms and scale figures for this project. I think it helps people imagine built spaces when they have a figure to hold in their hands. The two figures below could simply be a man reading a paper and a woman pushing a cart to a farmers' market, or they can be interpreted as a homeless man seated and a homeless woman pushing her belongings. As we imagine improving public spaces, it is important to include the needs of the homeless as they are not invisible user of public spaces. It is not often that we see the homeless represented in architectural scale model figures, but we should. When we do, we can begin to think deeper about the diverse needs that our public spaces can address.