Medium_optimized-wp_20160303_002 9 steps to get a successful Community Project up and running

07 Jun 08:41

Roisin Byrne

The TURAS ComPass solution identifies a 9 step process in building successful community projects from idea to execution…

ComPass contributor Mountjoy Square Society Innovate to work with local children on the Mobile Print Project to create booklets of the children’s print artwork of historical elements of their local Georgian square.

The TURAS ComPass solution is an alfa stage roadmap to ‘navigate’ the process of activating community-based projects. This solution is developing through a combination of research and knowledge generously contributed from communities of interest along with public and private sector practitioners.

The TURAS ComPass solution intends to reveal tacit knowledge on HOW to activate projects in communities into a structure where ‘I can find the bit I want’ easily no matter where a community is in the process of place making activation. Ultimately the solution has potential as open source data where communities can add new knowledge. We are currently working with Code for Ireland to develop the roadmap.

We have found 9 core processes in activating place projects. These are iterative and certainly nonlinear.

The Project Idea.
The big idea of a project is what we may see first. For example the Art Tunnel, Smithfield we see the big idea of an outdoor gallery utilising a vacant space.
Art Tunnel Smithfield collage, demonstrates how to illustrate a Project Idea dynamically. Image by Sophie von Maltzan, Fieldworks & Strategies

Core Team
Behind The Project Idea is often an issue that a few core people are committed to solving, these few people form a Core Team and develop the solution to the issue, of the project idea to bring it into being.

How to Organise
The core team may organise into a formal or informal structure in order to achieve their aim.

Finding a Location
The Core Group may then need to research possible Locations to implement their idea upon, in some cases the location may be a given from the outset, for example in Mountjoy Square.

The Core Group may leverage or collaborate with Supports available to them, in the form of local authority support and political support.

Building the Proposal + Building Support
In Building the Proposal and Building Support the process becomes very iterative. The Core Group must build a case for the idea, validate the idea, perhaps run light beta tests, all the while building support, using various means, conversation, social media, running events, leaflet distribution and other innovative methodologies.

Project Go Ahead
These core processes can come to a point where the Project Go Ahead is given, a beginning of a new chapter, for now a different type of work begins.
Brief writing and engagement, in the case of public projects, proceed design, tender and build. This is where the People First Process developed by the Irish Architecture Foundation is exemplary.

After Build
After Build the project is ready to launch, and from there to be managed.

Flanagan’s Fields GeoDome, Flanagan’s Fields are a good example of Local Authority and community co-managment after build. Image by Johanna Varghese

Across the 9 core process the roadmap provides elements to think about, ‘Repeat Clouds’ –, such as running Meetings and Workshops, Resources including Piggybacking possibilities, Ethos, Ethics, Clear communication, Champions, Commitment, Planning, Legal, Mapping the project, Legacy and Exit strategy. Image left: Thinking about processes and elements to keep in mind throughout the process of project activation

Among the contributors, The Irish Architecture Foundation is generously sharing knowledge gained from their recent ‘People First Process’ engagement, which they applied in order to create a comprehensive 38 page brief for a design competition to the Ballyfermot Play Park.

You can see the quality of the designs at Stage I and the second phase of engagement by the shortlisted practitioners here in Stage II in this short video.. More on the People First Process in blogs to follow!