Community Design Charrette: Results.

A very very long overdue blog post on the outcome for the Design Charrette I hosted on April 2nd at The Creative Coast.
A big thank you to Sef Chang for taking these amazing photos.

There were 11 participants in total:
Tom Kohler (Chatham-Savannah County Citizen Advocacy)
Ramsey Khalidi (Southern Pine Company of Georgia)
Rene Teren & Whitney Johnson (Well FED Magazine)
Eric Hallworth (Wooden Sheep)
Kristin Russell & Teri Schell (Savannah Local Food Collaborative)
Briana Lang, Darby Thomas & Adrian Perez (SCAD Alums)
Sef Chang (SCAD Student, The Creative Coast)

Click here to download the Presentation Slides.

After a brief introduction to the Thesis topic and Project direction everyone completed a short survey about what free publications they read, where and how often. After this the three groups began brainstorming together about the important requirements and considerations the receptacle project needed to include as well as some bigger ideas to incorporate the receptacle more into the community and preform a larger obligation. Some groups chose to write down their thoughts while others sketched out ideas. One group even spent some time considering how the magazine itself could develop and become more neighborhood focused rather than the entire city ever month. There were a lot of great ideas and new community connections were made.

Click here to download the Charrette Outcome Slides.

One key outcome involved the connections made between the participants. While I assumed most of the people that attended already knew each other and how they were involved in the community, this was not the case. New friendships and partnerships were created. The understanding that each person had a link, resource, or knowledge valuable to another person has become an important focus now for my project. How do these connections within the community occur more often and how do we guarantee everyone involved benefits from the interactions?

This one observation has lead to a new series of questions:

As organizations struggle with the complexity of shifting towards more sustainable practices, how can the lessons learned be openly shared and discussed to help additional organizations and therefore advance the shift in norms at a more rapid pace?  Are norms more likely to shift through the demonstration of a benefit or through the demonstration of negative impacts? How are such experiences and lessons-learned best shared and can this be developed into a system/guideline/organization? When the focus is primarily on local organizations are benefits more likely to be seen through face-to-face interactions rather than an online database/discussion? What type of face-to-face interaction works best, formal or informal; small, medium, large?

Can the act of combining different people/organizations to focus on a particular problem or idea be beneficial to all involved and what are the extended impacts from such experiences? Does everyone equally participate and gain from such experience? What motivates one to participate when not focusing on one’s own ‘problem’? Would this develop into a membership system with requirements of time and money to participate and benefit? How can this demonstrate everyone’s ability to share and gain knowledge?

By looking at the power of social constructs and how this shapes our reality, can sustainable practices, in particular, be developed, encouraged and reinforced? How does the power of our social relations shape our ideologies and perceived reality? Are we concerned about fitting in with the traditional norms or is the act of changing too difficult? What are the barriers faced by specific organizations and how can these be overcome? What are the additional costs and resource requirements? How can the expenses of changing one’s established norms be shared amongst the community and how does the community benefit overall from this sharing (collaborative consumption principles)?

How do I focus and narrow these questions down to relate to reclaimed materials and organizations that can benefit from design related projects? Can focusing then be expanded to apply more broadly?

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