Written by Renmart Buhay. For the summer he hopes for lots of sunshine and warm weather.
With the closing of the Transit Plebiscite, I’d like to offer my opinion on an alternative way to engage the public with future transportation planning in Metro Vancouver. I believe that when it comes to improving mobility, collaborative and community engaging ideas work best. I love ideas like car sharing and bike sharing because they build community relationships and increase community engagement. That is why I would like to see Translink implement Co-Design in the future.
What is Co-Design?
Initiated by Vancouver architect Stanley King, Co-Design brings an artist facilitator together with members of the public to engage in dialogue about community development topics such as transportation planning. The goal is to form a community vision about the topic in the form of drawings. The artist facilitator takes what is said in the dialogue and breaks it into themes. Members of the public are further divided into smaller groups and work in close discussion with the artist facilitator as they begin the image creation. When all of the groups finish their images, they are displayed and the public members are invited to view and give feedback on the designs. Co-Design currently works as a great public engagement tool for designing sustainable spaces in urban cities.
Here are some pictures of past Co-Design events in Vancouver:
When I first saw a Co-Design demonstration a few years ago, I thought it was innovative. I got to participate in a discussion with a small group from the crowd. During the demonstration the public were invited to write on a graffiti wall time line referred to as “A Day in the Life.”
The group dialogue with an artist facilitator began with the question: what would you be doing if transportation was like how you wanted it to be?
I thought for a moment and realized I would go biking more often. For this to happen I told the artist I would want to have more two-lane bike paths and more green spaces near sidewalks. We were asked to use our senses and experiences when describing what we wanted. This allowed the artist to produce a rich drawing encompassing all of our visions.
By allowing community members to contribute their opinions, it made me feel like my opinions mattered. This creative process ensures that everyone involved is actively engaged as we collaborated together to design a common vision. I also like that Co-Design provides an inclusive atmosphere by engaging diverse community members of different ages and backgrounds in the discussions. Most importantly, in Co-Design, all ideas are treated with respect and an open mind, allowing for positive community interactions that help increase of our social capital.
Regarding the Transit Plebiscite I feel that as a citizen, I should have more say in what I want for the future of transportation. As community members engaging with sustainability processes in our everyday lives, we provide experiences and ideas that can shape the sustainable changes we want to see in our transportation systems and public spaces. That is why I think the concept of Co-Design is brilliant I hope that it will be used more in universities and in our communities.
So SFU students, what would you like to see in the future of our Transit?