In the first workshop the community identified their priorities, strengths, skills, and issues within the community. After synthesizing the information from the exercises, the cohort and Ben decided that we would focus on a designing and building a community center in the 6.5m x 4.4 m space that was identified. We also thought about the design of the one street in the community which is currently unpaved, and aimed to finish a section of the street given budget constraints.
In this workshop, participants wrote the names of activities and elements that they would like to see in their community center and the adjacent street. They placed the names of the elements on site maps that we collected for analysis later.
After creating maps of the community center and adjacent street, the community members were asked to do a visual survey of 12 different building styles and 6 different street styles, identifying what they did and did not like for each — and picking their ‘top 3’.
There was a remarkable amount of consensus over the top 3 styles, and given that many of the men in the community work in construction, everyone seemed to have very clear ideas about what materials and styles were affordable and easy to build with.
The next exercise encouraged community members to draw their community center as they would like to see it. The markers and pencils came out, and the groups created really wonderful and expressive images. It was awesome to see the pictures evolve with the discussion.
After drawing their ideal community center, we went out onto the street and completed chalk murals. Many people that were not in the workshop began to join in, and people of all ages got really into creating their vision.
We put posters up in three locations along the wall to let people know that we would be holding workshops every Sunday in the school. Hopefully turnout continues to be good and enthusiastic. The murals were successful in catalyzing ideas, and they became even more detailed than the initial drawings as more people jumped in.
I am looking forward to doing some design and synthesizing what the community has asked of us. Going forward, we will create three designs that all have different elements that the community had asked for, in order to flesh out all of the different ideas and concepts that were voiced.