Placemaking activity – the Newport masterpiece

By Nicole Inskip, Yueting Guo, Jiawei Yin, Noel Shi.

This student group was thrown the challenge of exploring the possibilities and opportunities to activate one of the park’s pathway entrances adjacent to the local bowls club.

In an effort to attract local residents to enter the park, the students sought to engage and draw people into the park through painting the laneway with rainbow dots to represent art. A level of intrigue and curiosity is all you need sometimes, and the students were interested to see how people would walk through their activated space.

Seeking to evaluate how the park functions in terms of wellbeing, sense of community, comfort and accessibility the students utilised a set of easels scattered around the path where the students sought to collect data on multiple fronts.

Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the park through dot voting, the students posed 4 questions on easels

Is this park accessible?

Is this park friendly?

Does this park have lots to do?

Is this park comfortable?

Through dot voting, students were able to gather quantitative data also.

Other easels were set up allowing people to draw or write a response to the following prompts;

I wish…? My dream park…?

Serving as a creative canvas, the purpose of the easels was to generate qualitative data and simultaneous engage people in conversation for further insights. Further to this aim, the easels provided a space for students to engage local residents in a creative dialogue and to ask strategic questions with a focus on facilitating design ideas that the community were interested in.

The students also mapped the flow of people through the laneway whereby they compared movement with and without the installations. This provided a comparable means to ascertain the effect of having installations and how this changed people’s movement and behaviour.

What worked about this activity?

The students felt the artistic activation of the path was extremely useful, noting how children were seen jumping amongst the dots and how movement was manipulated by the placement of the easels. The easels were very important for data generation with an ability to generate both qualitative and quantitative data. Moreover, the students felt it was easier to engage residents in conversation with people engaging in the easels.

What students learned about this place?
  • Greater accessibility of Newport east, clearer entries and way finding.
  • Safety and increased activation of the site
  • Seating, shading and a better playground
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