In February, the Design Nerds hosted a Jam with our long-time collaborators, the Museum of Vancouver (MOV). The subject was food security and the resiliency of cities to cope with the requirement of reducing carbon footprints while encouraging walkability and neighbourliness and community for residents that often find themselves isolated and disconnected from those living around them, i.e., on their block, or ‘village’. The Jam was a part of a larger series of conversations, talks and prototypes centred around the MOV’s ‘Vancouver Project’, the goal of which is to address isolation and disconnection in the city by proposing and delivering a network of creative and innovative solutions with and for the public.
This Jam focused on generating ideas for three forms of street transformation:
1. A combination of permanent use for the production of food in the ‘utility strip’ (between the road and the sidewalk), and temporary street installations that would allow the public to gather, share and commune.
2. Semi-closure of the street (i.e. a bicycle-only laneway) and the growing of food, livestock and open spaces
3. Permanent closure of the street for wheeled traffic and the growing of food, livestock and open spaces
Ideas generated included: the use of the street space for street games (i.e. street hockey); community tables for eating; large-scale art veg and lightbulbs; the creation of a new organisation called ‘Modular Block Farms’ wherein communities could ‘order’ particular kinds of food, livestock (i.e. chickens, goats) and social modules; permanent narrowing of the street with the use of ‘humps’ on each corner; shelter spaces for socialising in the rain; harvest stations where members could buy and sell groceries and produce; orchards for the production of fruit; bee hives and flowerbeds for the sheer love of flowers and sweet, sweet honey; a ‘tunnel of love’ for people to walk through (constructed using trellis’ and native creeping foliage) and a mobile marketplace that would travel between garden streets to share and sell produce.
The Design Nerds are currently pursuing funding opportunities for this project, as well as looking to partner with community organisation to prototype a case study. Hopefully we can do this before ‘the end of the world’. Please contact us if you have similar ideas, and money. =)