Medium_optimized-wp_20160303_002 Cork Street Park community Engagement Workshops

30 Jul 09:57

Roisin Byrne

A demonstration of community coproduction and cocreation with a successful outcome…

Cork Street Park is a TURAS Demonstration Site which aims to contribute to a communication model on how collaborative place projects can be facilitated.

.Image credit Ait Urbanism & Landscape

In April 2015, the Parks and Recreation Department of Dublin City Council together with the consultants (Ait Urbanism + Landscape and Kevin Fitzpatrick Landscape Architecture) held a first workshop in a local café to gain feedback on community requirements for Cork Street Park in inner city Dublin. This workshop took place as part of a public consultation and collaboration development process. 85 people attended and were prompted to draw their ideas on blank, scaled plans of the site. When this work was completed each table presented their work to the rest of the workshop in attendance. There was strong evidence of wide support in the diverse community for the skating community. Even at tables that did not have members of the skating community represented, skate elements were included in the plan drawings. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly in the ‘Fumbally Exchange’ café with easy conversation flowing. The community displayed strong awareness and interest in topics such as biodiversity, bee friendly planting, native planting, wormerys and allotments. Other elements requested by the community included play areas, interactive water features, dog walking facilities, an outdoor theatre, social housing with green roofing, and beekeeping. The parks department of DCC noted that this was an unusually high number of attendees to attend such a workshop.

Given the strong support for the skating community, between the first and second workshop, the consultant designers met with a representative group of skaters to discuss ideas around skate opportunities and ideas for the park (coproduction/ cocreation process). .Skating community contemplate the proposals.

A second workshop was then held in June 2015 with the consultants displaying boards they had prepared for two different options A + B which responded to the community’s input. .Community discuss proposals

Images of the proposed options A + B were displayed on the boards along with a presentation of the underlying concept, elements, and analysis. Both options proposed a multifunctional park. The two different option boards were displayed on two separate tables with a principle designer present at each table to answer questions. The community were invited to have a look at both, to ask any questions before finally select their options and preferences along with an explanation for this choice. A slide show was also presented. .Proposals expanded on after more informal discussions on the floor.

It was agreed by the principle designers to send the slides of the options the communities of interest for display on their social media sites. Workshop Display Boards
. Image credit Ait Urbanism & Landscape

In general the on the ground reaction to the plans was positive. Community participants commented that they felt a lot of the ideas from the tables at the first workshop were incorporated into the designs presented, which is where the multi functionality aspect of the options comes into play. The plans incorporate a modern approach – striving for biodiversity value while collaborating in terms of design with the end users of the space.
One of the attendees was Tony O Rourke from Bridgefoot Street which is the location of another community in the Liberties area of Dublin where there is also a proposed neighbourhood park.

The Cork Street Park experience of co-designing and co-creating a community space in close collaboration with the users of this space shows how resilience building can occur. Meaningful communication is key to the success of this process.

The TURAS Project is investigating the transferable actions and process learned from this experience.

Keywords: Cork Street Park, Skate opportunities, Co-design