Participation or how I got donated part of the parking space for the community use

The building process generated by participatory planning and communicative construction motivation. Architectural community activation culminating in the construction process on the chosen site, which really opened channels towards public and city authorities. Build action on the Neumann parking lot, in very demanding weather conditions.
The project explores public participation in the process of creating public open space that would provide settings for the neighbourhood to get together and experience feeling of community and belonging.Firstly, I started by listening to, and asking questions of the people in the community to discover their needs and aspirations. The first contact with the community was through the questionnaires approaching people in the streets. The first participation method intended to gain insight and background knowledge from general public living in Sandviken. The questionares resulted in one diagram that capture what Sandviken people desires for future public spaces.
The second method of approaching people was through interviews that often developed into free form conversations. During it people reflected on qualities and programs for future public spaces in Sandviken. Also they have been asked questions like: How do people meet each other in Sandviken today? What kind of public space is lacking in Sandviken? Also some of them got to communicate their ideas through drawing task and play in the model which were other 2 methods of extracting information from the people. The interviews and conversations resulted in “The map of potential” where public space qualities mentioned by people are anchored to 10 public places in Sandviken by the sea. This map of potential shows which public spaces could adopt new qualities requested by the Sandviken community. The map was created to highlight both areas of potential and already existing qualities that has been requested by people. Third contact with the community was through kids workshop. To hold a kids workshop inspired me one french philosopher who wrote: “Only such a society is democratic where the most vulnerable part of society have the opportunity to speak out. Democracy means that everyone must be heard.” So I decided to include the participation of vulnerable group such as children.
Based on the outcome from questionnaires, interviews and kids workshop I made 1st sketch proposal for new public space in this location that I found as having more potential as a public space.
The other method of extracting information from the community was by emails. I was sending a request for feedback by email for people that I started communication earlier on the public space sketch proposal. Up until then I had intention to build together with the community. I was motivated by the idea that people would be building stronger community by building together on the site. Getting feedback with some pin pointed issues, forced me to reflect and look critically at the realisation process of the project.

So then the draft design proposal became a tool for reaching out people on the site the ones who already is using site as a public place. It opened up the discussion on the potential of this underused parking lot, letting me to play my interpretation of “Warsaw game” with people who entered the site. They were asked while looking at the proposal to add or take away qualities of proposed public place. After returning home I filtered as architect what has been said and updated the proposal.
So after that I started to spend a lot of time on site, I did some tests here. For example how to attack the ground and turn asphalt into something friendlier. Also I did a few seat tests on the stones knowing from earlier process that having a place to sit is one of the most necessary qualities for people in the public space. Staying on the site allowed me to get to know it better, to see all the “strangers” hanging out in the parking lot and observe how do they use this place. Also it allowed me to keep playing “Warsaw game” and keep discussion going. Later I got donated from Neumann area of the parking lot for the Sandviken community. So after getting the site I started to build this urban intervention. Building process became as a tool to reach people. It started new discussion with people staying much longer on the site while helping with the construction, giving advises how to make construction stronger or just talking about life in Sandviken.
The aim of building was to generate a first move making harsh urban place feel more like home, more “inhabitable” with the aim for people to insert activities and qualities that would encourage them to stay in this unlikely place. And also reclaim leftover underused place for local community use. I want for people to see the potential and the social use of space. Therefore this place is not concerned with aesthetics but with possible activities. The materials and this low-tech construction are meant to be temporary and the design is flexible, changes suppose to be made during the trial period by people desires.

The construction is meant to be a part of testing the potential for more permanent public space in this area. After talking to 2 people in the municipality who works on the future plan for the Kristianshom I realised that unintentionally I came into picture of municipalities plans that include transformation process before planing and implementation of this future public space that will be developed by OBOS. They told me a week ago:"The more experimenting is happening in this site the better for our process in creating future public space. The more you can show that this can be something else, how you can use this area in different ways the better it will be for our planing process. Transformation process in our plan is very important thing to do. It opens up the minds of the people, and they can see that this can actually be different.I think it would be very interesting process where people can come gather and have their ideas how to use the place, how it can be developed from the people that comes there.” Meeting with municipality resulted in “Map of desires” where people can write what do they want to have in their future public space in Kristiansholm island.
This construction was part of the public participation process. I tested building process as a way to reach people and as a way to understand local communities needs. And it was great- people were coming to me organically I didn´t need to look for them. Each of every method of public participation I evaluated with scores. Up until now the building on the site has overall the highest score.

The exhibitions was made on site with the goal of opening a discussion about qualities and programs for future public spaces.
Map of potential is based on extracted information from interviews and conversations

Public space qualities mentioned by people are anchored to 10 public places in Sandviken by the sea. This proposal shows which public spaces could adopt new qualities requested by the Sandviken community.Based on conversations with 10 organization representatives that represents approx. 100 other people in their organizations.
By doing this urban intervention I want to empower citizens to imagin­e and create a more humane and creative city themselves. That’s where comes from the sign “Where next?” referred to people.I want people to participate in creating a public space in connection to urban interventions. Street furniture or other type of urban interventions made by people would more likely project positive perceptions of the neighbourhood and facilitate spontaneous social interactions, may encourage people to stop and chat. This also would serve as a vehicle to facilitate citizens’ involvement in the process of city planning and development of the future city and public spaces. Magne Grostad- Senior Advisor in City Planning Department, who works on plan for Kristiansholm told me last week:“Personally I think it would be very interesting to see urban interventions constructed by people on this Kristiansholm island. Would be very nice having all the ideas coming from people. It would be very nice to have this area as a test area for these kinda activities, this would be very interesting for Bergen and politicians also.”
Map of desires is placed for 1 year on the site for people to fill in what they desire from future public space
Bergen municipality is interested to have a transformational process where people can give their ideas for what can be used this area dedicated as a public space in Kristiansholm island.
Map of desires after 6 months staying on site