The Last minute chronicles – pulling together everything

Hello everyone! Yes, it’s that time of the semester again – time for a bit of last minute panic.

Firstly, I mocked up some examples of what the shoeboxes and jars will look like in the Freo Shoebox for the presentation. They came out pretty welll, especially wrapped in brown paper. It will matched the cardboard papered interior of the store. The plain paper also allows the contents of the box to stand out.

Mockup of a shoebox containing an item of merchandise. The paper above it contains the contat details of the store, while the front has the name and price of the store it comes from

Mockup of a shoebox containing an item of merchandise. The paper above it contains the contat details of the store, while the front has the name and price of the store it comes from

A recycled Jam jar containing a piece of brown note-paper and a fremantle map. I was thinking people who donate could choose what colour cloth they want to use.

A recycled Jam jar containing a piece of brown note-paper and a Fremantle map. I was thinking people who donate could choose what colour cloth they want to use.

As for the booklet, I have decided to go for an A5 booklet. Something small and portable – like a shoebox! The cover has been designed to slightly resemble a brown shoebox with a lid as well.

Front page of the booklet

Front page of the booklet

In addition to this, for poster purposes, I thought it would be necessary to mock up some images for the different items the shop will sell.

A Jar of Memory Jam!

A Jar of Memory Jam!

The Shoebox item of the store

The Shoebox item of the store

The Give a Future, Take a Future project

The Give a Future, Take a Future project

As you may have noticed, brown and white play a prominent role in tying together the booklet and feel of the entire project. Of course, the brown paper is juxtaposed with the bright vibrant colours of the more rendered aspects of the design. This is done to demonstrate the difference between the shoebox (brown, bland, unexciting) and what is contained within (bright, vibrant experiences). The poster will use a similar tactic in order to draw attention to the exciting portions of the project.

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Week 11- Shop design and location

So this week I don’t have too much time to type. I’ve begun doing most of my assignments, so I’ll just be posting some more of the design development for my project.

In my last post I talked about the development of the ‘Freo Shoebox’ logo. This week, I’ll just be talking briefly about further developing the design of the store, and figuring out it’s location.

The shoebox store

The best place for the shoebox store would be on Henderson Street where it can be accessed by many people. The store will have an open storefront to maintain a sense of outdoorsyness, but will be covered on all other sides to protect the merchandise. Artists from the yearly Freo Street Art Festival will be invited to mural the sides of the building every year. As you may have noticed, the shop itself looks a little bit like a shoebox.

Preliminary shop sketch

Preliminary shop sketch

Proposed layout

Proposed layout

Detailed store layout with merchandise shelves indicated.

Detailed store layout with merchandise shelves indicated.

I created a mock-up of the store in Google Sketchup.

3D render

3D render

And then placed it in a photo I took off Googlemaps.

Placed in Henderson street

Placed in Henderson street

Then in order to make it image-ready for the booklet, I added a bit of colour and outlines.

Completed mockup

Completed mockup

I did the same for the stores location.

Location and Layout

Location and Layout

Week 10 – More logo work

I’ve been playing around with the ‘Shoebox logo a bit more. Here is a preliminary sketch:

I thought a shoebox that opens with a few hundred Fremantle inspired icons would work out.

I thought a shoebox that opens with a few hundred Fremantle inspired icons would work out.

I even tried to set up a mock-up photo, hoping I could maybe use that:

Please excuse the mess - I'm springcleaning

Please excuse the mess – I’m springcleaning

Based on that, I drew up a refined sketch and it looks alright. I tried to include a bunch of wacky vaguely Fremantle inspired objects pouring out. It looks alright – if a bit too cartoony.

First concept

First concept

Overall, I was kinda happy with the results. I don’t feel it has nearly enough objects pouring out, and I don’t really like the words scrawled on the side of the box. It feels a little bit too cartoony without the graffiti edginess I was aiming for. I tried colouring the logo in watercolours since I felt something really hand-made and organic was called for. I wasn’t entirely happy with the results. The colours didn’t seem vibrant enough, and I feel there isn’t enough flowing out of the box. I removed the logo from the side of the box too.

Logo coloured with watercolours

Logo coloured with watercolours

So I tried a redraw, and this is what I came up with:

Sketch

Sketch

I am actually pretty happy with this sketch, so I proceeded to ink it:

Inked

Inked

And then I was so happy with it, I coloured it and gave it a background:

Coloured and with a spiffy, handwritten name!

Coloured and with a spiffy, handwritten name!

 

And there it is! The Freo Shoebox logo. I am incredibly happy with how this one turned out. The brown background really lifts the colours off the page, and I’ve included a nod towards the three types of merchandise the shop offers (You can see a jam jar, a photograph and some Fremantle souvenirs). I had decided to hang draw the font, as the imperfectness of it is similar to the imperfect handwriting you would use to label storage boxes. I wanted to communicate a sense of craftyness and the home-made-ness in the overall logo, which is why I stuck to a logo with plenty of mistakes but all of the charm. Next week – the store itself!

 

Week 10 – Let’s get some feedback

Alright, so I’ve made it out of the break, and now it’s back to work again. This weeks class activity was pretty useful- as well as daunting. This week we got feedback.

First though, I am going to further develop the pop-up shop idea. So far, I have been thinking of the project through purely economical means. However up till now, I hadn’t been thinking much about the conceptual connotations of purchasing a ‘shoebox’ worth of space. If you think about it, shoesboxes are interesting things. I seem to have missed the memo on women needing to have a few hundred pairs of shoes in their wardrobe, but even I’ve got about six or seven shoeboxes sitting about. They’re not filled with shoes of course. Oh no. They’re filled with something else entirely.

All my shoeboxes have something special about them. And remembering them, I dug through to the back of my wardrobe (losing a few good men on the way) and pulled them out. This is what I found:

Excuse the carpet :|

Excuse the carpet ūüėź

Postcards, souvenirs, ticket stubs. I am a chronic collector of paper when I travel and I have the shoeboxes to prove it. Often I end up using these bits and pieces of physical memory in my art projects, but sometimes they just sit in those shoeboxes for weeks and even months. I forget they’re even there, and as a result instead of drawing upon the vast number of interesting paper I have, I’ll go drop ten dollars on a scrapbooking paper pad at Spotlight. But going through this box today has been amazing. I keep finding all these bits of paper – like a postcard I picked up from a divey bar in Paris, or the plane ticket stub from Perth to Doha, and I’m reminded of all these fantastic places I’ve been. It’s heaps of fun to pick and choose through these memories, and this made me think of my project. As I’ve explained, Project walkabout will allow businesses and individuals to purchase a ‘shoebox’ of space. Why not play up that element of the design? After all, isn’t the act of finding a new interesting business to visit (which is actually an old business that hasn’t been advertising very well) kinda like my experiences finding old souvenirs and memories in a shoebox? I think this would be an interesting direction to take the aesthetic of this project, especially since I’ve just received feedback for my project.

Turns out Project Walkabout may not be the best thing to name my project, as the indigenous aspect may not be appropriate. I agree. I mentioned in my last post that I needed to make sure I didn’t make the project seem too indigenous art focussed. That would remove the universality of the store in respects to allowing businesses and individuals from all walks of life to participate. Also, it might seem kinda campy to call it ‘project walkabout’. It makes me think of early nineties Australian cartoons.

Because who didn’t enjoy a good episode of Crocadoo!

So after a bit of deliberation, I’ve decided to change the name of the project to: The Freo Shoebox!

However, this also means going back to the drawing board as far as logos go. Here is a mindmap.

If Fremantle had a shoebox, what would it contain?

If Fremantle had a shoebox, what would it contain?

After looking at the mindmap, it has become pretty clear what aesthetic direction I should take for this project. A somewhat handmade, energetic and slightly chaotic feel that reflects the nature of opening a shoebox of memories. This actually works out great with the concept of a market – especially the kind you get in Fremantle. Even the Fremantle markets are awash with quirky, crafty and handmade objects. I tried playing around with this idea by drawing out some logo ideas on brown paper.

Brown paper has a really nice texture against the ink

Brown paper has a really nice texture against the ink

I like the idea of using brown paper as it is vaguely reminiscence of a brown shoebox. This works well with both the concept of the store and the vibrant, handmade aesthetic that I’m going for.

I also tried designing a few more ideas on normal paper.

I tried going for a less sleek look for these logos. I'm aiming for something more grungy and imperfect looking.

I tried going for a less sleek look for these logos. I’m aiming for something more grungy and imperfect looking.

More logos. I played around with the idea of a fancy flowing script, but felt a better option would be an imperfect, hand-drawn font - just like someone labelling the side of a cardboard box.

More logos. I played around with the idea of a fancy flowing script, but felt a better option would be an imperfect, hand-drawn font – just like someone labeling the side of a cardboard box.

One of the key inspirations for these logos are Fremantle Street art. Every year the City of Fremantle holds a Street Art Festival. Fremantle takes a genuine pride in their local street artists – which really feeds into the overall creative vibe of the city. By looking at some of these crazy collages of colour, I decided to try and aim for something as frenetic and vibrant as Freo’s street art scene.

A bus stop in Fremantle (Juz & Dave, 2013)

(Emery, 2012)

All these images point to a bright, colourful edgy style. I’m hoping to capture some of that in the branding of the project. I tried coming up with some frenetic, collage like graphics to use in the logo.

Some collaged characters

Some collaged characters

More graffitti ideas

More graffitti ideas

Anyway, I’ll work on it a bit more for next week. In the meantime, lets take a look at this weeks tutorial.

Tutorial work – receiving Critique

This week we were asked to present our project idea to the class in order to get feedback. This was an incredibly useful tutorial, as it brought up problems with my project as well as confirming some of my suspicions. Allow me to first sum up my project idea.

Project Walkabout (note this excercise took place before I changed the name of the project)

Project Walkabout is a pre-fab pop-up store that will allow anyone to purchase a ‘shoebox’ worth of space for just $5.00. The store will sell locally sourced goods and allow people to find the stores the items come from. In addition to local items, the store will also sell the following:

Jars of Experience: No, not like an online RPG, more like a recycled Jam Jar that contains a pencil, some note paper, and a simplified map of Fremantle so people can ‘donate’ an experience by writing it down. The store will sell these experience jars for a gold coin donation, which will go to charity

Give a Future, Take a Future: This is a collaborative art project in which people can write down ‘futures’ on a sticky note and stick it to the wall of the shop. People can then pick a note up for themselves.

Being Critiques

Being Critiqued

The shop

The shop

What the store will be saying with some feedback

What the store will be saying with some feedback

Setting up for feedback

Setting up for feedback

The great thing about this excercise is it confirmed my suspicions that not alot of people will really contribute to the experience jar part of the project. There needs to be some incentive to convince them to contribute their time to write down their experiences. The second useful bit of feedback is the possibility that the store will cause congestion – especially since it will be located somewhere int he heart of Fremantle CBD. I will need to take this into consideration when I am designing the actual store. However, for now, I am relatively happy with the overall concept, and the direction the logo and aesthetics are going.

 

Emery, K. (2012, October 25). Freo allows ‘art’ graffiti. Freo allows art graffiti. Retrieved May 4, 2014, from https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/15212102/freo-allows-art-graffiti/

Juz. (2013, April 10). City Profile: Fremantle. Our Naked Australia. Retrieved May 4, 2014, from http://www.ournakedaustralia.com.au/city-profile-fremantle/

 

Week 9 – Let’s get some ideas down

So I’ve been sketching out some logos for the project, as well as a general idea of what I think it should look like. I am starting with the name ‘Project Walkabout’, to reflect the fact that one of the key aims of this project is to explore people to walk around Fremantle more. I’ve made a mindmap of both ‘Walkabout’ and ‘Fremantle’ in order to generate some ideas

It's pretty easy to tell there's alot to do in Fremantle....

It’s pretty easy to tell there’s alot to do in Fremantle….

Then I started sketching up some ideas. After I visited Fremantle, I realise I have the option of going two ways. Either I go with a classic Fremantle architecture kind of look, or I pick on the the alternative street-art vibe that permeates the city. With the Walkabout theme I also have an option of taking an Aboriginal style route, but I’m not sure if that will communicate the wrong message (i.e. that this is an indigenous pop-up shop). However, I did play around with the idea of footprints for awhile. As you can see, I’m still tossing up between calling this ‘Project Wander’ or the ‘Freo Wander’.

conceptlogo

I also played around with the idea of having some sleek colourful shapes, as shown below:

While I like the bright colours, I don't think it feels quite 'Freo' yet.

While I like the bright colours, I don’t think it feels quite ‘Freo’ yet.

I also played around a bit with what the pop-up shop will look like. I have taken a look at pre-fab modular pop-up shop designs like the ones offered by popshopolis.com. They offer modular pre-fab kits like the one below:

I need to ensure that the project is easily achievable. A pre-fab pop-up shop will make things easier to construct, as well as being more environmentally friendly. (Popshopoils, n.d.)

I’ve decided to make the store as simple and open as I can to make it feel more ‘outdoor’ then ‘indoor’. After all, a major aspect of a market is the outdoorsy nature of that, and while I want to protect the stores merchandise from the elements, I also want to make it seem as welcoming as I can.

Store concept - it's pretty simple so far

Store concept – it’s pretty simple so far

Overall, I’m not that happy with the direction of the branding just yet. I think I will need to work on it some more.

Fig 1: Popshopolis (n.d.). Modular Systems [Image]. Retrieved from: http://www.popshopolis.com/servicescustom-
pop-up-stores/custom-pop-up-store/

Week 7 – Let’s get this project rolling!

Alright! We’re rolling into the semester break, and with all these assignments due, it was nice to have a class to just kick back and draw in.

Up until now these posts have been roughly structured around‚ÄėResearch‚Äô, ‚ÄėTutorial Activities‚Äô, ‚ÄėProject Development‚Äô and ‚ÄėMy Thoughts‚Äô subheadings. However, from this point on, I feel it would be best to really begin to throw myself into my idea. I will begin by outlining my overall experiences in Fremantle, and reflecting upon the need I have discovered. I will then explain an idea that I have had floating around in my head, and see where it takes me. Finally, I will describe this weeks tutorial activity¬† – which was a welcome relief after all the assignment writing I’ve been doing.

Reflection on experiences:

The trip to Fremantle was a really good experience for discovering what needed to be done. One of the biggest things I noticed, which I mentioned in my week 5 post, was the lack of people, high level of common retail stores and how everyone seemed to be selling something – whether in stores or on the streets. I think it really highlighted how instrinsic market space is to the people of Fremantle. This was not mentioned by Dr. Brad Pettitt, which is a shame because I think Fremantle’s market culture really is one of the biggest factors that add to the vibrancy of the city. As we saw in the in the photos from my Week 5 post, some residents even went as far as just laying a sheet down on market street, and selling their wares. I think this reflects on the overall vibe of the city, as well as its residents. We spoke about using vernacular design in this weeks class (which I will explain a bit more about in a while), which used the example of some street children drawing up their own goalposts for a game of soccer. While many people would consider this graffiti, a proper designer would consider it the solution to an unrecognised problem – namely the problem of a lack of playing equipment for children. In this instance.

As I’ve just mentioned, the market culture of Fremantle plays an enormous role in the vibrancy of the city. Head down to Fremantle on any any weekend, and you will find at least four seperate markets running at one time. Of course, there’s the iconic Fremantle Markets located on the corner of South Terrace and Henderson Street, but there are also the Melville markets on Canning highway, The E-Shed markets in Victoria Quay, and even the Fremantle Village Art Market! And those are just the permanent markets. There are hundreds of market stall festivals that pop up during the year. And it seems the locals are just as into the concept of selling as the rest of the City. Trying to visit friends in Fremantle on an early Saturday morning is an endless trail of distraction as I get side-routed by all the ‘Garage Sale’ signs that line Canning highway. You can’t go a street without passing someone selling something out of their front yard. It’s an enjoyable aspect of Fremantle that really reflects on how easy-going, friendly, and out there the city is. One of the really sad things is that many people who go to Fremantle – especially those who take public transport right into the heart of the city, miss out on all these wonderful opportunities. It is also clear from my findings in week 5 that alot of residents really want a public area to sell in. While the Fremantle and Arts markets do exist, they are often too expensive and require too much work to really get involved in. The Fremantle Village art market requires your own marquee, while the Fremantle Markets themselves are usually far too expensive for the average resident to even consider selling at.

Another problem I have found were empty streets. Dr. Brad Pettitt did mention this in his lecture – and I even had the chance to experience some of the anti-social behaviour he talked about. It was unnerving and uncomfortable, and I soon found myself being herded back onto Market street due to the unwelcome atmosphere. Of course, my experience was just one, but imagine how many people have been discouraged from exploring the rest of Fremantle due to one bad experience trying to venture forth from the main street? This is unfortunate since there are actually heaps of really ncie walking trails and small stores that exist in the emptier streets of Fremantle. This is another problem that I think I should try to address in my project.

And lastly, one of the big problems I noticed walking down the streets of Fremantle was that the city seemed….almost normal? Is that a proper way of putting it? Market Street was lined by the usual national retail chain-stores. There was JayJays and Kathmandu and all the usual stores I could probably find in Perth city. I had traveled almost half an hour to get a shopping experience that was eerily close to what I could get five minutes from my home. The city was still uniquely Fremantle of course, but I couldn’t help but feel the experience was slightly diluted by all the mainstream stores. However, you could still feel the pulse of the City’s unique culture trying to break through. Most notably was the lady selling stuff on the side of the road. That just seemed like an extraordinarily Fremantle detail.

So in short, I have defined the problems that the project will need to solve as follows:

– Empty Streets that encourage anti-social behaviour and prevent possible exploration of the rest of the city. This means businesses outside of the immediate CBD area don’t get any foot-traffic. The Butcher shop – one of my favourite stores, was practically empty when I visited it.

– Too many big name stores that dilute Fremantle’s unique cultural atmosphere.

– A publicly accessible space that locals can take advantage of to sell their awesome home-made wares is needed.

In other words (to shamelessly rip from my own report) the objectives of this project should be:

  1. Encourage foot-traffic into outer areas. This will be done by providing an outlet for small businesses and home business owners to advertise and draw customers towards their products. This will help to boost Fremante’s economy.
  2. Contribute to Fremantle‚Äôs vibrant cultural fabric (Pettit, 2014). This cultural stimulation will arise due to people discovering new, interesting retail opportunities in the Fremantle area. Furthermore, the continual cycling of merchandise will guarantee that there are always new things for locals and visitors to peruse ‚Äď giving people an incentive to continuously return.
  3. Reduce crime in the area. During my recent visit to Fremantle, a fight broke out while this researcher was walking down an empty street just a street away from Market Street (my blog entry). By encouraging more people to venture beyond the main CBD area, increased foot traffic should discourage anti-social behaviour.

These objective will all be addressed in *Drumroll Please*:

Project Walkabout!

Yes! Project Walkabout will be a happiness inspiring project that aims to provide a publicly accessible space in which locals and small businesses operating outside the CBD can sell and advertise their merchandise. I have considered doing other projects over the last few weeks – such as a wayfinding app or maybe a noticeboard, but these ideas all seem far too boring and mundane for Fremantle’s artsy and creative atmosphere. I want this project to be something utterly unique to Fremantle, and which has not been replicated anywhere else. This will, of course, make it difficult to find precedence studies, but then I figured that those precedence studies probably didn’t have precedence studies themselves – and yet still worked out. Everything has to start somewhere.

But before I talk anymore about the project, allow me to talk a bit about this weeks tutorial – as it has played a significant role in shaping the project as it stands today.

After spending the last two weeks writing awful, soul crushing essays, it was a welcome relief to have the chance to sit and just storyboarding our design idea. We outlined out stakeholders and drew them out. I had fun playing around with some Fremantle stereotypes.

Alright, a butch business owner!

Alright, a butch business owner!

I also had the chance to do some cartooning and comicking – my favourite thing to do.

Click for a better view

Click for a better view

The excercise itself was really good for getting my idea down on paper. Up until now, I’ve just been thinking about it and occasionally doodling it on my lecture pad. One of the most useful elements of this excercise was Chris and Hanadi wandering around and giving feedback. I had the chance to scribble a bunch of ideas down talking to Chris especially, who seemed very keen to add a little more creativity to my project (I’ll explain why in a moment).

An idea inspired by talking to Chris

An idea inspired by talking to Chris

Overall, it was a really good excercise, and I was glad to break out my pencils and go a little wild on some butchers paper.

So with that out of the way, without any further ado, allow me to present: Project Walkabout!

Project Walkabout

Finally, a chance to explain. Project walkabout is a conceptual pop-up store that will allow virtually anyone – be it small businesses out of the CBD, local artisans and even individual residents – to rent out a ‘shoebox’ worth of space. This space will allow people to not only sell their goods, but also display any contact and location information that would encourage people to walk beyond the main CBD area. The rent should be extremely cheap so just about anyone can access it. I think it’s a good idea as it will encourage economic prosperity, remind everyone of all of the unique and quirky stores that exist in Fremantle, and encourage people into the empty streets that feel so unwelcoming. Hanadi and Chris thought it was a reasonable idea – however, Chris brought up a good point that the project only focuses on the economic aspect of happiness. It’s true that I am rather cynical, and that the average person doesn’t really have either the time or inclination to participate in more conceptual stuff. However, this is Fremantle after all. And this project does need to encourage happiness. One of the key lessons we learned in last weeks tutorial is that new experiences are at the crux of what make people happy. So I sketched up an idea for a ‘collected’ memory idea. Maybe people can record their experiences and put them in jars for other people to purchase and experience themselves. I will need to think about this idea further.

Another concept that Chris inspired me to try was an interactive art project I call ‘Possible futures’. The idea is that a wall covered in sticky notes will have a ‘possible future’ that people can pick off and read. Almost like a fortune cookie. This is the sort of quirky art project I would expect in Fremantle, so I think it’s one that would fit nicely in the overall project.

So that is the project so far. It’s been a good break so far, although I haven’t done much development on the project. However, I do have a timeline organised in the report I handed in, so I intend to stick to it. In my next post – some concept development sketches!

 

Week 4 – Rehana in Fremantle-land

This week I took a data gathering trip to Fremantle! It was an incredibly informative experience, and like Hanadi asked us to, I ignored my previous ideas and went into the city with a clear perspective. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it down with the rest of my seminar group on Friday, so I instead took the trip down myself on the following Wednesday, leaving the house at 2:30 to catch the 106 bus.

PRE-TRIP PREPARATIONS

For the purpose of this exercise, I have chosen to explore the city of Fremantle as a ‘shopper’ stakeholder, as I have discovered that local visitors make up more then half of Fremantles total visitor count (Tourism WA, 2012). Furthermore, anecdotal evidence suggests that many people will make a day of the half-hour trip it takes to get down to Fremantle from the Perth CBD in order to enjoy the leisure and unique shopping opportunities that the city has to offer.

I have taken with me my iPhone (for photos) tablet (to take notes) and very little actual cash (so I don’t get too tempted to buy anything – this is homework after all). I have also drawn out my own empathy map, which I shall fill in during the course of the trip. I do not want to map out a route since, as a Perth resident who travels to Fremantle occasionally, I already have a rough idea of what the area looks like. Furthermore, I want to preserve that sense of exploration a shopper usually has when they are searching for new items.

FIELD NOTES (taken on my ipad)

As a Perth denizen that has visited Fremantle several times in the past, I know the main Fremantle area quite well, but not as we’ll as say, a local.

2:42 pm

Today I am going to Fremantle! I have chosen the persona of a ‘shopper’ that normally lives in central perth, but who likes to go to Fremantle for the unique retail opportunities the city provides. This will be a rather easy persona to adopt since this is usually why I head down to Fremantle – their range of thrift stores, op shops and specialty stores such as the Butcher Shop are some of the key reasons I will make the thirty minute bus trip down by bus.

Waiting for Bus 106

Waiting for Bus 106

I am sitting on the 106 bus at the moment, and one of the key things that struck me is how easy it is to get to Fremantle from the Perth CBD. You have the choice of either the train or the 106 bus – which takes you along canning highway all the way to the Fremantle bus station. I have only used this bus to visit friends I have in the outer suburbs of Fremantle – never to get into the heart of Fremantle itself, so it will be interesting to see how it differs from either driving or taking the train.

I have begun to fill in the empathy map provided on blackboard, and so far the only things I feel are the usual Perth heat, the sounds of other passengers, and the roar of the bus itself. I used my smart rider to get on the bus – since most perth residents who frequently use public transport will probably have one. As a shopper, I am excited to see what stores and items unique to Fremantle that I can pick up.

3:08 pm

I have just been asked by an international traveller if they are on the right bus to Fremantle. I had to pull out my phone and show her on my smartphone map where we are and that we were, indeed, heading to Fremantle. Maybe a sign inside the bus telling people which stop they currently are at might minimise tourist anxiety when travelling from The Perth CBD to Fremantle?

3:18 pm
While sitting on the bus I see a whole range of stores that are a slight distance away from the Freo CBD. I get off at Adelaide street and despite being slightly disorientated at first – I wander down to the Main Street.

3:22 pm
While walking towards the Main Street I am disappointed to see that the only shops that line the streets are the usual bug chains that I can find almost anywhere in Perth. All the more interesting stores appear to be further out.

Pictured: Adelaide st with Kathmandu and Red Dot

Pictured: Adelaide st with Kathmandu and Red Dot

 

3:27 pm

Adelaide Main Street is slightly empty – but then it is a Wednesday. It’s nice to see local people gathering outside cafes while the sound of buskers fills the air with music. The streets might be slightly empty – but it doesn’t feel deserted and there is definitely a pleasant ambience of unhurried ease. The weather is beautiful for being outdoors and it seems many people are taking advantage of the late afternoon breeze on benches.

Adelaide street wasn't that busy, but was still gently abuzz with locals enjoying the afternoon

Adelaide street wasn’t that busy, but was still gently abuzz with locals enjoying the afternoon

You can even see some police presence in the forfront

You can even see some police presence in the forefront

After walking down Adelaide street for a little while I cut through a cute alleyway/arcade lined with interesting quirky shops. I stop off at the ‘Broken Doll’ vintage store and browse for awhile. There is a 5 dollar rack with some really cool clothing that I reckon would cost a great deal more brand new. While the arcade isn’t really crowded, there is still a great deal of foot traffic which makes me feel safe and just a little competitive with the other shoppers.

The arcade. I'm not sure what it is called, but I will provide a map of my complete route in my post-trip thoughts

The arcade. I’m not sure what it is called, but I will provide a map of my complete route in my post-trip thoughts

The 'Broken Doll' vintage store

The ‘Broken Doll’ vintage store

3:40 pm

After shopping for awhile and finding some incredibly unique items, I get to he end of he arcade and come out on the corner of Market and Leake street. I am feeling wonderfully lost – I don’t exactly know where I am but that seems a part of the adventure.

4:00

I have been wandering down Market street browsing the various stores that line the street. I love all the eclectic mix of local designer and thrift-store retailers punctuated by alleyway cafes and restaraunts.

IMG_5205 IMG_5204 IMG_5203 IMG_5201 IMG_5200 Market Street

Since it is after 3:30, there are school children wandering around with their friends browsing the stores with me. The street has become a little more busy as early finishing business people meet up. The closer I get to Fremantle markets, the touristy the stores seem to become with souvenir shops popping up.

Souvenir Store

Souvenir Store

The street is well sheltered from the sun and I can remove my hat and see through the store windows properly. I can smell food from the cafes which reminds me I am hungry. Stopping at one of she convenient food stores – in this case Boost a juice – I pick up a drink and continue to shop, promising myself a tasty sushi meal when I am done looking at stores. Wandering down a bit more, I decide to take a break and take a seat on one of the weird public art benches that are outside the timezone.

Strange benches outside timezone

Strange benches outside timezone

It’s nice to sit out here and listen to the sound of the arcade while I sip my juice. The people watching opportunities are great and it’s not odd to see someone walk by with a musical instrument, or zip eagerly past me on a skateboard.

A busker walks past with an instrument

A busker walks past with an instrument

A roadside stall - it was being run by a woman who was hula hooping behind me

A roadside stall – it was being run by a woman who was hula hooping behind me

Everyone here seems so laid back and effortlessly cool. There are quite a few people in long skirts with no shoes and dreadlocks walking past too – which only adds to the vibe of the place. Feeling refreshed, I get up once more and walk on.

As I walk along I can smell something delicious and I follow it down an alleyway (fairy shop pictures) which opens up into a semi covered arcade. I am eager to explore it and find new stores. So far I have not felt inclined to travel beyond the Fremantle Main Street. It appears all the usual artsy traits that Fremantle is famous for can be found on the main streets. Who needs to go to the outer suburbs!

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4:15 pm

After browsing the stores in the arcade, I am a little bit disappointed because a few of the outlets are empty. I can remember there being a raw food restaraunt here once, and I was thinking of maybe getting some pizza. Ah we’ll. I’ll have to look elsewhere.

There used to be a raw food cafe here. It and another store appeared to be empty

There used to be a raw food cafe here. It and another store appeared to be empty

4:30 pm

After more then an hour of browsing Market street I finally reach the Fremantle markets! They are closed of course, and the street is completely dead, and yet I feel no need to continue further. There are very few locals here even though the food court is open. I see quite a few business people taking an early stroll home.

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Nevertheless I head up the street to queen street and walk back. The streets are incredibly quiet and I feel slightly uncomfortable with the emptiness. The difference between this street and the bustle of market street (which is just one street over I might add!) is staggering.

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Turning up towards the communal public space by the target I am relieved to see some activity. Where is a playground in which some women are screaming at each other (making me even more uncomfortable).

 

The nearly empty playground - but then I suppose it was a weekday

The nearly empty playground – but then I suppose it was a weekday

However don’t feel too bad since there a also some little local stalls selling handicrafts and beads. Walking quickly through the square (which I know for a fact is a lot pleasanter on the weekends) I walk up high street to the op shops.

Small handicraft stalls

Small handicraft stalls

Fremantle is famous for its op-shopping opportunity, and the high street arcade is the best place to go. It’s a week day so the arcade is more or less deserted. However the good sammy staff are incredibly friendly and there are a few shoppers browsing about, the atmosphere is far better then the public square I left behind. I notice that the restaraunt a that fill the arcade are mostly empty – but there are a few customers who appear to be people who just work in Fremantle (as oppose to living there). The food smells good, and after browsing the good sammys for awhile (I know I am precariously close to the 5pm closing time) I cross he road to enter another Op Shop.

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Once against he shopping experience is great. The eclectic mix of new and old merchandise as well as he friendliness of staff and diversity of customers makes me feel good about meticulously picking through he merchandise. Before long the staff begin to usher us out and close up shop.

I head out and walk along the still relatively empty street to the but stop I arrived at. Within minutes the 106 to Perth city rolls by and I jump on. I feel happy and tired about my shopping trip, and pleased with my (imaginary) purchases. I feel as though I have experienced the full shopping opportunities that Fremantle has to offer, and despite how much fun I had, I don’t mind not returning for awhile. I’m easy to go home and relax.

 

The afternoon bus-ride home

The afternoon bus-ride home

POST TRIP THOUGHTS

I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Fremantle. The ability to explore, wander down odd alleyways and find quirky side shops all added to the overall experience. Fremante has always had a reputation for good op-shops and cheap, good fashion, and on this trip it definitely delivered. I felt that all I needed to access could be accessed within the main CBD area, and that I had littl need to explore beyond it. And therein lies the problem.

First of all, I had not been to Fremantle in quite some time – therefore everything still seemed fun, new and quirky. However, since I live only half an hour by public transport away, I feel that if I returned too often, the novelty of the area would wear off, and I would be stuck trying to find new areas of Fremantle to explore. Other then the main CBD area, I do not know of any other area that would offer a similar, or at the very least, extended shopping experience. This is a shame because I personally know that there are many other interesting stores (as evidenced by the stores I saw on my bus-ride in) in Fremantle.

Secondly I found some areas of Fremantle unsettlingly empty during the week. They made me uncomfortable to walk down, and when I reached that empty park where the two woman were screaming at each other, I was tempted to abandon this back road and flee back to market street. Fortunately the appearance of other people allowed me to continue on towards High Street. I think Mayor Pettitt was right in that empty streets are streets in which crime occur. Again, I mentioned last week that perhaps I could figure out some way to discourage anti-social behaviour. While I’m not entirely certain how I would go about public arguing, I think there is a project in there somewhere to either

a) increase traffic on Queen street, or

b) make it less acceptable for people to misbehave in public areas

As you would have seen from the photos, there was some police presence on the street – but I mostly saw them on Adelaide and Market street.

Here is my empathy map from the trip. It’s a bit messy since I was filling it in while I was walking. I am finding both the empathy map AND the time based notes I took useful.

photoAnd I have also mapped out the unplanned route I took on my trip, starting time: 3:18 PM, Ending 5:00 PM

Map of my trip

Map of my trip

As you can see I stayed within a very localised shopping area without venturing beyond it. I believe this is a problem I may have to address in my project.

Things that I would do differently if I had to do the trip again is create a table showing fifteen minute intervals. I believe this would have improved my note-taking by giving me specific points with which to sit and record my experiences. This would reduce my chance of walking into people (which I did once) and give my an idea of the relationships between time and levels of actiity. All in all, it was a fun adventure.

FINAL CONSIDERATIONS

It has been an informative trip, and  must admit there is alot of information I need to think about. I shall update my thoughts in next weeks journal entry.

REFERENCES

Tourism WA (2008). FREMANTLE overnight visitor fact sheet years ending December 2010/11/12. Retrieved from: http://www.tourism.wa.gov.au/Publications%20Library/Research/Research%20and%20Reports/LGA%20and%20SA2%20Fact%20Sheets/2012/Fremantle%202012.pdf

Week 3 – Designing with David Skopec!

LECTURE WITH DAVID SKOPEC

This week Professor David Skopec came in to talk to us about designing visual systems. It was really exciting to go to his lecture since I had returned fresh from the European study tour enraptured by how creative and forward thinking European design schools are. I have included my summary of the talk below:

On Tuesday the 11th of March, Professor David Skopec from Zurich University of the Arts presented a lecture on the topic of designing visual systems. He was kind enough to spend an hour discussing the various formal methods of visualising data, as well as the fascinating experimental methods some of his students at the Zurich University of Arts employed in order to record and communicate complex data.
One of the key points I learned from Skopecs lecture is the importance of the communication aspect of visual design. While it is easy to get caught up in the aesthetic aspects of, for example, a pie chart, unless the pie chart effectively communicates data it is essentially useless. As Skopec puts it, a visual system should be ‚Äúeverything you need for understanding between people (sic)‚ÄĚ (Skopec, 2014). Secondly, I found Skopec‚Äôs idea that a visual system should be ‚Äúevolutionary‚ÄĚ rather than ‚Äúrevolutionary‚ÄĚ useful. Often as a designer it is easy to fall into the trap of designing something so overly creative that the average user may find it baffling. Instead we need to maintain links to old systems of communication (at least at first) in order to ease the user into the new method.
I found the latter half of the presentation – the experimental techniques to capturing time and movement more interesting and inspiring than the first half of Skopec‚Äôs lecture. However, I believe the iconicity spectrum and Kapitsky‚Äôs matrix will be useful tools when I am developing a solution to the Fremantle Happiness Project and displaying that solution in a visual form on my poster. Skopec‚Äôs presentation of the experimental methods his students at the Zurich University of Arts employed in order to collect and display data was absolutely fascinating. While the formal approaches presented are capable of collecting ordinary data, the experimental techniques allowed students to collect extraordinary data regarding aspects of our lives that few would otherwise record. The results were creative and interesting, and the visual methods of presenting it professional and informative. I found them extremely inspiring ‚Äď and while I may not able to build my own recording camera out of a cassette tape player, I do plan to attempt to consider elements of the Fremantle experience that most people would not look at. Ideas that I have considered include looking at how pedestrians interact with trash and garbage bins in the area, what role seagulls play in inhibiting/entertaining visitors and the flow of foot traffic between morning, noon, and evening.

RESEARCH

Last week I mentioned that I should perhaps look at examples of happy cities and the minor projects they have engaged in in order to promote that happiness. Reading back on my research from last week, I feel that while it was useful to learn that community connections are an important part of creating happiness, it was too broad to really assist me in developing small, individual ideas. However, my take away ideas from last weeks research revolve around the importance of communities and communal public spaces, as well as vibrancy and creatively.

With this in mind, I shall spend this week looking for more specific examples of ‘happy’ cities and the small projects in them that contribute to this ‘happiness’.

As mentioned last week, public spaces are important to the promotion of community and happiness. However, as Mark Childs mentioned, a spaces need to be capable of being modified and adapted by their local communities (Childs, 2012). An example of this can be found in the city of Cologne where, residents sick of a public square that encouraged anti-social behaviour, propositioned their city council with a number of their own ideas in order to make the space more attractive (Fahl, 2014).

http://thisbigcity.net/citizen-placemaking-project-rethinks-public-space-in-cologne/

Fig 1: Ideas produced by the community in Cologne (Fahl, 2014)

Apart from a sense of community, happy cities need to allow that community to have some degree of control over that public space.

Another interesting project was completed in Long Beach, California – a city famous for it’s hard urban ghettos and dangerously high crime rates (Reed, 2014). In 2010, the city’s art project council began commissioning local artists to paint the ugly, white electrical boxes that lined the city’s streets (Reed, 2014).

And while many observe that painting a few electrical boxes would in no way affect crime rates, it was interesting to see how local artists began to infuse their murals with stories from their communities – contributing to a sense of civic pride that will hopefully translate one day into a strong, safe community proud of their former ghetto status. It’s a nice idea that could contribute in some very small way to the happiness of residents living in an impoverished part of town. And despite the fact that you probably couldn’t call the ghettos of Long Beach, California ‘happy’, it is probably slightly more ‘happier’ with it’s new murals.

Another project that I found really interesting was ‘Pop Pop’ – an emotive, sentient pedestrian signal that is described as “a caring older gentleman who is protective of his intersection: he wants to make sure everyone is safe and happy as they cross” (Slover, 2014). He displays a range of human emotions based on his location, the time, and how people interact with him. For example, ‘Pop Pop’ will scowl and scold you if he catches you jaywalking:

Damn kids! http://thisbigcity.net/sentient-streets-a-living-pedestrian-signal-of-the-future/

Fig 2: Damn kids!
(Slover, 2014)

And smile at you when you press his crossing button:

You can push the button to show him you think he's doing a good job. http://thisbigcity.net/sentient-streets-a-living-pedestrian-signal-of-the-future/

Fig 3: You can push the button to show him you think he’s doing a good job.
(Slover, 2014)

The whole project was an experiment to see how people react to the personification of objects. After all, studies have shown that people are more likely to donate money if there is a picture of a face above the collection box (Nettle, Roberts & Powell, 2012), so why not personify objects to increase the likelihood that people will safely cross the street? I think this is an interesting notion, and maybe something as simple as having murals of people in commonly anti-social areas in Fremantle could actually reduce crime rates.

And now I’ve saved the best for last. Last week, Mayor Pettitt talked about re-purposing the roof of Myer into a trendy artspace. I thought this was an amazing idea that rolls creating a community space, allowing that community to modify it, and adding to the overall artsy culture of Fremantly into one. In 2013, the BSA Space center for Architecture and Design in Boston put on an exhibition titled ‘Reprogramming the City: Opportunities for Urban Infrastructure’ (BSA Space, n.d.), in which examples of old infrastructure being repurposed in ways that contributed to ‘happiness’ were displayed. Amongst them were the following fantastic ideas:

1. Urban Air

 unsightly billboard areas were transformed into bamboo gardens - improving air quality and general atmosphere

Unsightly billboard areas were transformed into bamboo gardens – improving air quality and general atmosphere (Glover, 2013)

2. Lampbrella

Lamps were turned into Umbrellas that people could shelter under

Lamps were turned into Umbrellas that people could shelter under (BSA Space, n.d.)

3. The Cascade

An art piece that doubled as benches allowed people a space to linger in

An art piece that doubled as benches allowed people a space to linger in (Glover, 2013)

4. Goedzack

A bag that people could place 'still good' items that they didn't want anymore - and that people were free to take. Almost like roadside collections, but year-round

A bag that people could place ‘still good’ items that they didn’t want anymore – and that people were free to take. Almost like roadside collections, but year-round (Glover, 2013)

As you can see, there are quite a few marvelously creative projects out there. You can find more work from the exhibit here.

I also looked at the ‘What if’ booklet posted up on Blackboard. I love many of the forward thinking ideas that place sustainability front and center. However they were too big for me to really consider too much, and I find it much more useful looking at the small projects.

CLASS ACTIVITIES

Activity 1 – Fremantle Report

This week we were asked to hand in our report on mayor Brad Pettitt’s lecture last week. You can find the link here: Fremantle Report.

It was useful to complete this report with the aim of defining the mayor’s vision, mission and direction of the City of Fremantle, as it would assist me in discovering the type of solutions the mayor is after. Briefly, he seems intent on enhancing the economic prosperity of Fremantle, fostering growth in the local community and culture by encouraging a diverse population, making the City of Fremantle more sustainable, and simply making the city more enjoyable and friendly place to be. In terms of my own project, I believe sustainability, creating ‘accidental meetings, providing opportunities for locals to create strong community bonds and just adding to the overall vibrant culture of Fremantle would be a good direction to take. It will be interesting to finally travel to Fremantle itself next week, and really get a sense of what could be added to the area.

From my research so far, I think what is really missing are opportunities to further cement Fremantles public areas – especially the little known ones – as the city’s ‘lounge room’. I would like to perhaps create a project that enhances how enjoyable Fremantles public space is, while encouraging urban exploration in order to benefit local businesses.

Activity 2 – What make’s you happy? Discussed in groups.

First of all, we were asked what we thought happiness was. In my own opinion, ‘happiness is remaining optimistic through the bad times, and always appreciating the good times

This was a really interesting activity that quickly became deep and philosophical. Firstly let me say that despite the range of people we had at our table, the most common source of happiness that people admitted to was new experiences. This could take the form of going shopping, traveling to new places, or simply hanging out with friends. It seems that nearly everyone cherished the idea of doing rather then having. Of course, these results may be skewed due to the fact that we are all design students, and as a natural function of creativity, we crave the cutting edge, making our results inapplicable to the population at large. However, I do believe that being creative is a basic human activity, and that there is a little bit of creativity in everyone, regardless of their profession. I think this is important for my project in that is shows that people crave new experiences all the time – meaning my happiness project will need to cater to that sense of ‘new’ without becoming old and boring quickly. I need to produce something that will continue to generate happiness long after the novelty has worn off.

On a personal level, the things that make me happiest are objects that are connected to people I love. Now I don’t mean an expensive bag that someone has given me as a birthday present makes me happy. Actually, I much rather prefer things that people have made for me or put a great deal of thought into because it shows that they cared enough about me to do that. I enjoy pouring time into making objects for other people too. I suppose I could say that, once again, it’s experiences that make me happy – even if it’s someone elses experience but manifested in an object. For example: I went on a holiday to Melbourne a few weeks back. Before I left I had been whinging to my brother that I would have no time to paint my bedroom walls before I left, and that I would probably only have time to do so after the end of the uni semester. I was hanging coloured paintchips on the wall to test what pant I was going to use. I left, and forgot about the whole conversation.

When I returned home the following week, I was delighted to walk into my bedroom and find my brothers had painted my room for me while I was away. I was so happy – not only to have a newly painted bedroom – but because my brothers had taken the time to do something that they knew I wanted. Which is another thing that makes me happy – my friends and family. I think most people would say that makes them happy too, but I’m not sure I would enjoy my living experiences if I didn’t have someone to do it with.

Of course, in amongst the things that make me happy are the usual things: traveling, shopping, volunteering and doing well in assignments (hint hint). Good experiences (not just new ones) are at the core of my happiness. I would be unhappy doing the same monotonous task over and over again for no reason – but would mind it less if it was to make someone I loved happy, or would result in a reward at the end (e.g. money for a job, marks for an assignment).

Activity 3 – What are your physical and emotional state when you are happy? Where do you feel happiness?

This is a question that – at it’s surface – seems fairly obvious. Of course when I’m happy I smile, and laugh more often. I tend to talk alot faster, and I have a tendency to bounce around and exhibit high energy movement. I tend to feel my happiness on my face, and since being happy tends to make me feel lighter, my whole body just feels good about being in existence. I think most people admitted to feeling their happiness (what an odd phrase) around their chest and hands. It’s no wonder people, for the longest time, believed that thought originated from the heart.

Activity 4 – How long before that happiness wears off?

A few hours actually. Or until I forget the object of my happiness. However, the events that led to that happiness will still tend to colour my interactions for the rest of the day. I might be politer to people, laugh more readily, be less impatient waiting for the bus and other things that generally make it easier to be in my company. It’s entirely possible however, that the reason happiness can wear off is a physiological phenomenon rather then a personality one. According to neuroscientist Dr. Loretta Graziano Breuning, there are four key chemicals that provide us with that sense of happy euphoria which you can read about here (2011). Of course, these chemicals are bound to subside over time due to normal physiological factors, but it is interesting to note from Dr. Breuning’s work that different stimuli elicit the release of a different chemical. For example, the release of dopamine when you get a reward as opposed to oxytocin when you are around people you trust (Breuning, 2011) – something Montgomery touched upon in the video I posted last week. I believe the key to a successful project would be one that creates trust in the community (releasing oxytocin in individuals) and dopamine (from being rewarded with an ‘accidental meeting’).

Activity 5 – Can we achieve infinite happiness, as an individual and a community?

This is a tricky question. I think life will always have ups and downs, and as a result, I do not believe that we can be infinitely happy all the time. I do think that we can, on average, be happy most of the time. However I do believe it is possible for an overall community to be generally happy for a long period of time despite the individuals within those communities experiencing fluctuations in their levels of happiness. On the balance of things, I think both an individual and a community can be happy.

Activity 6 – Self reflection

Write down a sentence on how you can be happy.

I can be happy by riding the bad times and being optimistic about the good ones. I think being optimistic and up-beat will make the low points ‘less’ low, and the high points even higher.

Identify one aspect of Fremantle that does not align with this definition

I don’t think there really is a way to apply this definition to Fremantle. However I will reiterate that the discovery that most people find happiness in new experiences will affect the type of project I could pursue. In fact, last week I mentioned my ‘shoebox shop’ idea – which would provide shoppers with an ever changing selection of new objects to choose from – as well as provide them with a means to find new locations, retail outlets and spaces. It could be billed as Fremantle’s ‘catalogue’.

PROJECT DEVELOPMENT

Using the example of Cologne above, it seems that other then a need for social capital, a ‘happy city’ needs to have a community that has some degree of control over the use and design of their spaces. This is why the popup ‘shoebox’ store would be a great idea to allow locals to modify their public space. In other words, not just businesses will be permitted to ‘rent’ a ‘shoebox’ of space. A whole wall of shelfspace will allow pretty much anyone – such as local handicraft creators and student artists – to display and sell their work. I feel I will need to further research this pop-up store concept, and see if anything similar has ever been done in other cities.

Furthermore, after considering the way the ‘Pop Pop’ project actively reduces undesirable behaviour (i.e. jaywalking) by personifying an inanimate object, I begin to wonder if I shouldn’t perhaps concentrate on a project that will do much the same. Anti-social behaviour such as skateboarding in busy pedestrian areas, jaywalking and even catcalling and crime could perhaps be a target of my project. I will have to sit and consider the idea a little more before committing to anything. Hopefully my trip to Fremantle next week will give me some examples of anti-social behaviour to target.

MY THOUGHTS

This has been a deeply philosophical week pondering the nature of happiness and how we can achieve it. It has also been an interesting and inspiring week of research. Examples of fun ‘happiness’ projects that other cities have worked on have prompted me to further consider the idea of a pop-up store. Furthermore, it has also sparked an interest in concentrating my efforts on working discovering a good way to discourage anti-social behaviour. I am also excited about my prospective trip to Fremantle next week, as I feel it will give me a deeper understanding of the city and spark more ideas for my happiness project.

Things to research for next week include:

– Pop up stores – their general phenomenon

– Ways to discourage anti-social behaviour through design projects.

– A map of the city of Fremantle and unobstrusive ways to observe people

REFERENCES

Breuning, L.G. (2011) Your neurochemical self. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-neurochemical-self/201107/nature-gave-us-four-kinds-happiness

Childs, M.C.(2012) Urban Composition: Developing Community through Design. New York: Princeton Architectural
Fahl, C. (2014, February 20). Citizen Placemaking Project Rethinks Public Space in Cologne. This Big City. Retrieved March 17, 2014, from http://thisbigcity.net/citizen-placemaking-project-rethinks-public-space-in-cologne/
Glover, J. (2013, June 28). Eight Imaginative Projects Reusing Infrastructure in Cities. This Big City. Retrieved March 17, 2014, from http://thisbigcity.net/eight-projects-finding-imaginative-ways-to-use-infrastructure-in-cities/
Powell, K. L., Roberts, G., Nettle, D., & Fusani, L. (2012). Eye Images Increase Charitable Donations: Evidence From an Opportunistic Field Experiment in a Supermarket. Ethology, 118(11), 1096-1101.
Reed, D. (2014, March 27). Bullets to Brushes: Painting for a Better Urban Landscape in Long Beach. This Big City. Retrieved March 17, 2014, from http://thisbigcity.net/bullets-to-brushes-painting-for-a-better-urban-landscape-in-long-beach/
Reprogramming the City: Opportunities for Urban Infrastructure // BSA Space. (n.d.). BSA Space. Retrieved March 17, 2014, from http://bsaspace.org/exhibitions/reprogramming-the-city/
Skopec, D. (Director) (2014, March 11). Designing Visual Systems with David Skopec. David Skopec Berling Designing Visual Systems. Lecture conducted from Edith Cowen University Mt. Lawley, Perth.
Slover, S. (2014, January 9). Sentient Streets: A ‚ÄėLiving‚Äô Pedestrian Signal of the Future. This Big City. Retrieved March 17, 2014, from http://thisbigcity.net/sentient-streets-a-living-pedestrian-signal-of-the-future/

 

Week 2: The mayor of Fremantle

This week the mayor of Fremantle: Dr. Brad Pettitt was kind enough to come and speak to us about his goals and objectives for the future development of Fremantle. Furthermore, we discovered new methods of data collection and recording, compared branding strategies between Australian state tourism campaigns and created a fictional character. It was a fairly informative week, and I shall begin by talking about the new information provided by the mayor of Fremantle.

Lecture with Dr. Brad Pettit – Mayor of Fremantle

Since the first step towards creating a solution is to define the problem(), Mayor Brad Pettitt’s lecture was extremely useful in providing us with a starting point for the current barriers to ‘happiness’ in Fremantle. Along with what he perceived to be the current challenges currently facing the historic city, the mayor also provided us with a sparkling example of the vision, mission and direction he hoped to take the city through council approved developments such as the creation of multi-use housing areas and the renovation of old public spaces (Pettitt, 2014). He also touched upon examples of projects, such as providing free ping pong tables and public WIFI, that have successfully contributed to a city’s happiness in cities such as New York (Pettitt, 2014). However, most importantly, Dr. Pettitt gave me a starting point for researching exactly what constitutes a ‘happy’ city, and how that can be achieved.

According to Dr. Pettitt, a happy city is:

– A safe and friendly city,

– A diverse and unique city,

– A city that contains beautiful art and atmosphere,

– A city that allows for ‘accidental meetings’, and

– A city that is ethical and sustainable (Pettitt, 2014)

This no doubt in-exhaustible list gives us some idea as to the type of future that the mayor hopes to achieve for the city of Fremantle. Sustainability appears to be the issue that permeates nearly every other point on Pettitt’s ‘happiness’ list, and I believe that in order to be successful, my happiness project will need to be something sustainable, regardless of whichever other point on that list it ends up addressing.

The most interesting item from that list, I believe, is the concept of ‘accidental meetings’. While many people may believe that an accidental meeting may only concern two human individuals, I believe and accidental meeting is something that can occur between a person and an object, a person and a business, and even, a person and a public space. From personal experience, it can often become difficult to have these moments of discovery in Fremantle if you venture beyond the city center. This isn’t due, I might add, to a lack of actually interesting places outside of the Fremantle CBD. On the contrary, there are many really fun, quirky stores and cafes tucked between the outer streets of Fremantle. Rather, not many people are aware of this hidden side to Fremantle, and stay instead within the confines of the usual tourist district. This might be a possible problem I could try to solve – that is encouraging people to visit businesses that are off the Fremantle beaten track. It would tick a number of the elements on Pettitt’s happiness checklist, as well as address the economic, social and sustainable issues that Pettitt mentioned as outlined below.

The mayor divided the challenges facing Fremantle into three broad categories: economic, social and environmental/sustainability challenges. He also proposed several solutions that he hopes will

Economic Challenges

According to mayor Pettitt, Fremantle is in a state of economic decline. A stagnant population arising largely as a result of an aging population and rising house prices has contributed to the gentrification of certain areas in Fremantle. In addition to this, the fact that house prices have almost doubled since 2006 (REA Group Ltd, n.d) have created significant barriers towards younger, more diverse families from moving into the area – reducing the level diversity within the population and therefore impacting the vibrant and unique culture of Fremantle. Furthermore, the number of jobs and retails outlets in the city of Fremantle have fallen, meaning there are fewer incentives for younger individuals and families to move into the area. The Fremantle economic development strategy 2011-2015 report updated by the city of Fremantle in 2012 attributes much of this decline to the global financial crisis and the correlating spike in house prices (City of Fremantle, 2012). Fortunately, the City of Fremantle have engaged in a number of projects to combat these challenges. These include:

  • Council Action Scheme amendments that will allow for 5000 more residents, 70,000 sq/m of office space and 20,000sq/m of additional retail space through mixed-use zoning and developments. All developments will be constrained by maximum height limits and sustainable design and development criteria.
  • New developments such as the Bannister street hotel, Queen Victoria street apartments, a Cafe/Bakery on Pakenham street, and the Kings Square redevelopment project (which will also contribute a new public space residents to gather in).
  • Ensuring that at least 15% of all new residential developments meet affordable housing criteria. (Pettitt, 2014)

These plans also provide overlapping benefits to the other challenges that mayor Pettitt described, such as increasing the sustainability of Fremantle due to higher density living, and enhancing cultural pride and growth by allowing new residents to ‘activate’ and contribute to the bustling city (Pettitt, 2014).

Social Challenges

The social challenges facing the City of Fremantle appear to revolve around the natural ebb and flow of crowds over the course of the week. According to mayor Pettitt, empty streets tends to encourage crime and anti-social behaviour. Furthermore, Fremantles reputation as the art capital of WA is in danger due to important centers such as the Fremantle markets becoming too ‘touristy’. From personal experience, I find this has become a real problem that dissuades Perth central people from making the trip too often – there is simply very few new retail options to explore. Or at least in theory. As I mentioned above, there are a huge number of quirky, out of the way stores and cafes that are simply off the main Fremantle districts. This also reduces opportunities for residents to start their own minor businesses, as not only are rents within the CBD prohibitively expensive, renting beyond the immediate city center may not necessarily be worth it.

Another social challenge involves the communities that have built up in Fremantle over time. The population of Fremantle is relatively small, and local residents have little reason to utilise public spaces during the week. In response to the above problems, as well as a fall in community bonds, Mayor Pettitt proposes the following tactics:

  • Turning public spaces such as parks and the main square into the city’s ‘lounge room’
  • Creating and supporting community gardens
  • Providing free ping-pong and public WIFI in order to encourage people to come into contact with one another
  • Encouraging festivals, pop-up shops and community events
  • Rebranding Fremantle to attract new visitors

Mayor Pettitt envisions a strong community that enjoys taking pride in it’s heritage and surroundings. To that end, it is important for a community to be as sustainable as it is vibrant and economically prosperous.

Sustainability challenges

Sustainability issues isn’t something that only affects Fremantle. All of Perth has had to deal with the effects of urban sprawl. Fortunately, mayor Pettitt seems to be aware of the importance of tackling the issue early. Firstly, many of Fremantles sustainability issues have been addressed by the solutions suggested above. Other inititatives the City of Fremantle have engaged in include:

  • Increasing Fremantle’s bike friendliness. Note that this will also impact on community bonds by getting more people outdoors and in each others company. It will also allow businesses to flourish around popular cycling tracks
  • Banning plastic bags
  • Taking steps to turn Fremantle into Western Australia’s first carbon neutral council
  • Using geothermal power for Fremantle’s leisure pool
  • Plans for a light rail, solar and wind farm and off-grid housing

While it is gratifying to see that the City of Fremantle is so proactive in ensuring the happiness of the city, I think it would be useful to briefly outline what I think are the guiding principles that I will need to consider for my own project. From mayor Pettitt’s definition of a happy city, as well as the types of intitiatives the City of Fremantle are employing to achieve this ‘happiness’, I believe my project will have to achieve one or more of the following:

  • Encourage community interaction and bonds
  • Contribute to the sustainability of the city, or at the very least, be a sustainable project itself
  • Encourage economic prosperity – perhaps by assisting businesses in becoming more visible, or finding ways to provide low-cost retail space.
  • Encourage civic pride in the history of Fremantle – or make it easy for tourists and visitors to access and enjoy areas of cultural and historical significance

That’s all I can think of for now. Hopefully I will come up with more guidelines through my research.

RESEARCH

I have done an extraordinary amount of research this week concerning what a happy city is, and how urban design contributes to community happiness. I have also gathered opinions from friends and family regarding how they currently feel about Fremantle, and brainstormed some ideas myself (which you will find in my ‘Project development’ section).

What is a happy city?

A happy city, according to Charles Montgomery, is a city that contains strong community bonds, which can be further encouraged through good urban design (Montgomery, 2013). I am certain Dr. Pettitt has read his book, ‘Happy City: Transforming our lives through Urban Design, as the second chapter is titled ‘Every city is a Happiness Project’. Montgomery uses case study cities such as Houten – which boasts a cycling infrastructure that places the needs of the cyclist above the needs of a car-owner (Montgomery, 2013) and the experiences of individuals such as Rob McDowell (Montgomery, 2013) to demonstrate the importance of community in the overall happiness of a city. An interesting fact that Montgomery hits upon is that the happiness of a cities population if not directly correlated with how wealthy each individual is (Montgomery, 2013). This idea is backed up by John Halliwell, an economics professor at the University of British Columbia (Helliwell, 2010). Instead, ‘social connectedness’ is one of the most important factors that contribute to the happiness of a city. And Urban design, argues Montgomery, can play a major role in encouraging and maintaining community ties.

In the example of Rob McDowell, McDowell found that he was far happier living in a less expensive townhouse fronting a communal area as it provided him with a socially safe area to engage with his neighbours, rather then a large, spacious apartment with a breathtaking view of the city (Monthomery, 2013). Furthermore, a Swedish study has found that longer commute times can actually contribute to increased rates of divorce (Sandow, 2011). This all points to the idea that how we structure our communities – be it by making work and leisure areas easily accessible, promoting bike infrastructure, or simply encouraging people to interact – can all affect how communities are formed. An interesting experiment undertaken by Montgomery on behalf of the Guggenheim in New York was to make New Yorkers – traditionally one of the least empathetic populations in America – more open to the idea of interacting with and forming communities with complete strangers. He gave a talk discussing his results in the Sam Sullivan Public Salon in Vancouver.

New York is commonly considered one of the unfriendliest cities in the world so it is surprising to hear about people coming together for the purpose of becoming more empathic, and, even better, become more empathic as a result of the excercise. As mentioned in the video, prior to the event, participants were asked whether or not people working night shifts should be paid more. The majority of individuals responded in a typical New Yorker fashion by replying that people working night shifts should just ‘tough it out’. Following the experiment, Montgomery was surprised to find that people were more open and empathic to the plight of night-shift workers, and responded with positively when asked if they should be paid more. This, is a wonderful example of how living in a nice neighborhood can promote happiness and living conditions for everyone living in it.

I think so far we have confirmed what the mayor of Fremantle has outlined as being factors that contribute to a cities overall happiness. Most of the other considerations he has mentioned that lead to a happy city – that is diversity, safety, and sustainability – can be tied back into building strong communities.

Creating Community through urban design

But how do you go about creating city areas that contribute to the formation and maintenance of these bonds? According to Mark Childs, author of ‘Urban Composition: Designing Community through Urban Design’, a successful urban landscape contains ‘concinnity’ – that is a synergy between the individual elements of a neighbourhood (Childs, 2012). Individual housing, public spaces and retail outlets should be placed in a manner that is communal and easily modified to allow the organic evolution of a community, as well allowing¬† community to gain ownership of their environment (Childs, 2012). I also believe this sense of adaptability is essential for allowing a community to grow and flourish. For example, Scot’s church in Fremantle alternatively serves as a place of worship on Sunday and an impromptu dance venue on Tuesday nights. Childs also touches upon sustainability issues, suggesting that a positive relationship with our environment results in greater contentment¬†(Childs, 2012) and contributes to the overall culture of a community. The mayor briefly touched upon this second idea when he suggested that residents were sure to ‘activate’ and become more protective of their Fremantle heritage.

In my research, strong urban desing requires the creation of public spaces for community members to interact in. According to Childs, public spaces are where we “run into friends, (…) display art, hold community parties and vigils, make memorials, play and people watch” (Childs, 2012. p.31). This idea is backed up by Hugh McKay who believes that society’s loss of community spirit can largely be solved by creating strong public spaces (Pidcock, 2004). Fremantle already has some fairly popular public spaces with new developments sucha s the King Street renovation creating new areas in which communities can interact (Pettitt, 2014). The real problem, as I perceive it, is drawing people into those areas – especially from the outer suburbs of Fremantle, and giving them a reason to stay there.

How do you measure a happy city?

But how do you measure whether a city is happy or not? What are the metrics used to gauge overall happiness?

Well the Legatum Prosperity Index is one measure that looks at a range of factors such as economic prosperity, social capital, personal freedom and education. Other factors are shown below:

The Legatum Prosperity Index measures

Fig 1: Legatum Prosperity Index measures – click to enlarge (Legatum Prosperity Index, n.d.)

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index also takes a measure of the happiness of populations by looking at physical and emotional health, work environments and access to healthcare (Healthways, n.d.). An interesting approach to measuring happiness is one that has been taken by the city of Vancouver. They have compiled a list of facets of urban life, and demonstrated how those may be achieved. These facets are:

  • complete community (land use, density)
  • healthy mobility (transit)
  • healthy buildings (zero carbon)
  • thriving landscapes (open space)
  • green infrastructure (water, sewers, storm)
  • healthy food systems (organic agriculture, nutrition)
  • healthy community (facilities, programs)
  • healthy abundance (sustainable economic development)

(Borys, 2012).

I found the Vancouver measures most useful as it is urban life specific and gives me ideas of how I may measure the happiness of Fremantle residents prior to and following the implementation of my solution. Furthermore, this list gives me ideas of areas that need to be addressed when I think about my project.

CLASS ACTIVITIES

Activity 1 – Branding Australia

In this weeks seminar, we had the opportunity to watch several tourism ads for both Australia, and individual states within.

1. First off was the infamous ‘Where the bloody hell are ya’ ad which was banned in Britain (Braithwaithe & Gibson, 2006). I was never a huge fan of the ad personally, because it seemed to rely on the campiest stereotypes of Australia. However, since Australia appears to be a semi-mythical place to most international tourists, I suppose playing on the stereotypes would generally work. The question breakdown is as follows:

What is the message in this campaign: that Australia is preparing for your arrival. Everyone in the ad is extremely friendly – reflecting the idea that we are a friendly population. There is a diverse range of activities available in Australia (from the city, to the outback, to the beach) that would suit any visitor. And everything will be done with a smile.

What is the campaign promising: This campaign appears to promise international tourists a ‘bloody good time’. Part of Australia’s cultural identity is the relaxed, larrikin attitude we have towards life. This ad promises a whole range of enjoyable activities and landscapes, friendly welcoming people, excitement, relaxation and new forms of adventure.

Are these promises true to your experience? From my own experiences, and the experiences of overseas relatives that I have had the opportunity to travel through Australia with, these promises are generally true. People always comment on how friendly people are in Australia, and how different the attitude, lifestyle and landscape is to anything they’ve seen before (for the record, most of my relatives are from South Africa). The only down side they would talk about is how expensive food, entertainment and souvenirs are here. However, people generally love the laid back attitude and style.

2. The NSW tourism ad took a decidedly different direction from the cheeky friendliness of the first. Instead of placing faces and personalities front and center, the tourism board of NSW chose to instead showcase the states natural beauty.

What is the message in this campaign? There is a sense of timeless natural beauty permeating this ad. The long slow shots of natural landscapes inter spaced with vibrant (but still ethereal) shots of people calmly enjoying this beauty lacks the punch of the first ad, but is effectiveness nevertheless in also demonstrating how varied and diverse NSW is. Again there is a message of ‘something for everyone’ without the need to play on Australian stereotypes. This is probably because this ad is geared towards people already living in Australia.

What is the campaign promising? This campaign seems to promise vast untouched landscapes, diverse activities and a good, relaxed time. While there are some action shots, the soft ethereal music mutes any real sense of danger or excitement (although there is a sense of untouched ‘discovery’). It would appeal to older people seeking a new place to explore I think.

Are these promises true to your experiences? Unfortunately I have never had the opportunity to visit NSW. I know my sister, who studies conservation science, is eager to visit in order to experience all the national parks there. After seeing the ad though, I would love to go with her.

3. The Victoria Tourism ad becomes more city specific by depicting a young woman getting whimsically lost in Melbourne. I suppose this makes sense since the first thing that most people think of when they think ‘Victoria’ is ‘Melbourne. I personally found the ad slightly too whimsical and Alice in Wonderland to appeal to me. But perhaps I am not the target demographic. While yes, I found from my own personal experiences that Melbourne is a great place to get lost, I found the experience more ‘dynamic’ then ‘magical’.

What is the message in this campaign? That Melbourne is a large vast network of interesting, magical and oftentimes fulfilling (i.e. meeting another wanderer in the end) experience. I liked that they showed a range of interesting spots – from graffitied alleyways to magical light shops.

What is the campaign promising? Usually when you visit a new city, it’s a good idea to research the things you should do while there. However, this ad seems to suggest that you can just begin wandering through the streets of Melbourne and still be able to discover new and interesting things to do. It also promises to never be repetitive. In other words, it’s not easy to ‘cross your string’ over the same area more then once.

Are these promises true to your experiences? By and large: yes. I visited Melbourne for the first time just before the beginning of the semester and it was really enjoyable to get lost in all the little alleyways int he city CBD. There was a ton of interesting cafes, free comedy shows and public displays. I found I didn’t really need to plan a daily schedule so much as just walk out the door.

4. Ah Perth. We’re not a bad city. We’ve got some awesome beaches, a pretty relaxed lifestyle and we’re starting to get some really interesting activities. But how does Perth decide to communicate that? By releasing an extremely creepy – almost abusive ex-boyfriendish ad trying to convince people that ‘it’s changed’. As much as I disliked the ad, it definitely felt very ‘Perth’ in how it seemed to be trying too hard.

What is the message of this campaign? I think at it’s core, the ad is trying to communicate that Perth has changed alot from it’s sterotypical ‘boring big small town’ label. However, despite the compelling images, the voice over sounds really uncomfortable and desperate.

What is the campaign promising? The campaign promises great new changes to Perth, and that if you come back this time (why does it assume the audience has started off with a negative opinion of Perth), it will be much better.

Are these promises true to your experiences? Generally yes. Perth is definitely alot more interesting then it used to be. There are far more festivals, public transport is easier to get around. Northbridge has developed into a place you don’t mind taking your parents out to supper at, and it’s always been a really friendly city. I wish the add communicated all that instead of just sounding creepy.

We discussed the above questions in our groups and it was really interesting to hear other peoples experiences – especially of Melbourne. we didn’t have any international students in our group however, which is a shame, because it would have been interesting to hear their reaction to the ads.

Together we also discussed the following questions:

What are the similarities and differences between these campaigns?

There are a number of similarities between the campaigns – namely an attempt to show the diverse number of activities available in the country/state/city. All of them featured the people living in that area somehow, and tried to reach for a message that communicated how enjoyable visiting would be.

The differences, obviously, depended on the audience. The ‘Where the bloody hell are ya’ campaign was clearly directed towards an international audience, while the state ads seemed to target both international and local tourists. I felt that Perth city ad might actually have been advertising to people who already lived in Perth, but who generally avoided the city because they had been their before and found it unenjoyable.

Victoria, New South Wales and Perth are all part of Australia. Why are they portraying different identities in these campaigns?

Possible reasons for differentiating their identities is to entice interstate tourists to visit. Furthermore, Australia is so huge it only makes sense that each state has it’s own identity, which the ads took great pains to advertise.

Activity 2 – Creating a Persona

In this weeks lecture we learned about the three types of design research. As far as I can tell, this list was adapted from Fraylings three types of design (Hanington & Martin, 2012):

– Research into (or about) design: research activities that look at the historic, perceptual, aesthetic and academic theory of design itself (Hanington & Martin, 2012)

– Design as Research: The processes that run parallel to the ‘Design for research’ aspect in which the process of researching for design itself is considered. Usually there is some usability testing (Hanington & Martin, 2012)

– Design for Research: This one is the one I think we will be most focussed on in the beginning weeks. Generally, it is the gathering of secondary and primary data in order to discover, address and solve a design problem (Hanington & Martin, 2012). According to the lecture there are a number of ways to gather gather which include but are not limited to:

  • Observation: In order to gain a better understanding of what either stands between Fremantles residents and their happiness, or what niches can be fulfilled to enhance their happiness, it would be a good idea to just spend a day in Fremantle and observe was people are doing.
  • Fast Sampling: We’ve been told we don’t have the clearance to interview or ask random people questions for this project. However, from experience in previous units, interviews, focus groups and just talking to people have yielded the best data regarding what current problems are and how they can be solved.
  • Roleplaying: This one is a fun one. We are allowed to take on the persona of one of the stakeholders (e.g. the people living there, business owners, tourists) and try to ‘feel’ what they feel. Being the user is perhaps the best way to get in the mind of a stakeholder, and discovering solutions for them.
  • Empathy Map: An empathy map operates a bit like roleplaying, in which we are forced to consider the feelings of a stakeholder from all angles. I suppose this would be a good way to take notes of the little things that would usually escape your attention.
  • Scenario settings: This falls a little bit into the ‘design as research’ subheading in which users are allowed to ‘road test’ solutions. This allows us to gain a greater understanding of how a user would operate a prototype. It would be interesting to run a roadtest in Fremantle of any solutions I come up with.
  • Contextual visualistion/storytelling: Again this is another method of attempting to gain a deeper understanding of how the user feels and operates. Through storytelling we are able to follow a user along his or her usual route, and discover possible problems that could be addressed by our happiness project.
  • Photo Ehtnography: I believe this is the most holistic approach, in which we simply immerse ourselves in visual data and hope some¬† ideas regarding Fremantles happiness arises.

For our class activity, we were asked to engage in some roleplaying and storytelling in order to get a better feel for what Fremantles stakeholders experience. In groups of four we were asked to get together and create a fictional persona for one of the following flavours of Freo stakeholders:

  • Tourist
  • Business Owner
  • Resident
  • Worker

My group decided to create a persona for a worker that needs to travel into Fremantle.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce: Rachel!

Rachel is a 23 year old nursing student taking a gap year from studying. She lives with her parents in Subiaco and catches public transport to get to her job at a cafe. She has a boyfriend, friends that live in Fremantle, and enjoys the usual things a 23 year old student enjoys. I must admit our group really got into the exercise and had fun debating what kind of person Rachel was.

The second part of the activity was creating a storyboard of what a typical Friday would look like for Rachel in a perfect city of Fremantle. We began with her commute to Fremantle, the time she spent working, and the period after she’d finished work, in which she met up with her boyfriend, waited for friends, and then went off to see a concert. Again, it was alot of fun puppeteering our Rachel through the perfect city, and we allowed her to go home happy with her boyfriend. To gain a better understanding of Rachels needs, we asked ourselves the following:

What does Rachel expect from a perfect Fremantle?

Given Fremantle’s reputation as a quirky artsy city, Rachel will expect a city that is vibrant and full of interesting events and areas. She will expect an ever-changing schedule, pop-up shops, and friendly locals. I think she will also expect alot of off-beat, free events since she is still a student.

What does Rachel need from a perfect Fremantle?
As someone that needs to travel cheaply into Fremantle, Rachel will need solid public transport options that cater to her early rising (since Cafe’s in Fremantle open early) and allow her to go home late (as she might want to stay late in the evening hanging out with friends or visiting shows). Furthermore, as sterotypical as it sounds, as a woman that needs to travel during less busy periods, Rachel needs streets that she feels walking safely down, and security presence in trains and busses in order to feel safe.

Since Rachel is your typical 23 year old, she will need events, concerts and venues that keep her entertained on a Friday evening. Communal areas to meet and hang out with people, and quiet areas she can spend with her boyfriend. She will want shops that she can pick up last minute items from, fashion outlets she can buy her clothes from, and quirky stores that keep her browsing and fit in with her personality.

What is Important to Rachel?

Rachels’ identity is extremely important to her, and she exhibits that through her taste in music and fashion, as well as the venues she chooses to hang out in. Her friends and boyfriend are also extremely important to her, and she will make an effort to attend events with them in order to keep those bonds. Learning and keeping up with trends is another thing that is important to her, and she will always be interested in the newest things in Fremantle.

What could be improved?

It would be great for Rachel if there was an easier way to get to her work. Furthermore, god meeting/hang out points would be great for while she is waiting for her friends to finish work or her boyfriend to turn up. Maybe evening market stalls could keep her occupied and give her something to tell her friends about when they arrive.

After the exercise we went around looking at other groups personas. It was good to see that while some of the characters were radically different, all of them wanted unique activities, solid public transport and parking infrastructure and ways to entertain themselves.

PROJECT DEVELOPMENT

This week I did alot of research on what exactly a happy city was, and the elements that contributed to a happy city. I also gathered a great deal of information from listening to mayor Pettit. My brainstorming began in the mayors lecture with some brief ideas. I realise it is still too early to come up with really solid solutions without putting in more research, but here is the mindmap:

photo 1

Ideas map

Following that weeks seminar, I decided to very briefly develop one of the ideas I had come up within the lecture. Since Rachel – the persona we had developed – had started her day really early in Fremantle, it made sense that her phone may be running out of battery by the time she finishes work. This would be a problem if she wanted to meet her friends or make plans with them after she had knocked off work, so I thought a solar-powered charging station might be a good idea.

 

photo 3

A solar powered charging station

I know similar charging stations are present in places such as Japan and New York

street_charge-650x0

Fig 1: Solar Powered charging station New York (2013)

solar-powered-charging-stat-537x417

Fig 2: Another example (2013)

Another idea I sought to develop further was one I had come up with in response to mayor Pettitt’s economic concerns regarding Fremantles retailers. From personal experience, Fremantle is full of small, quirky stores. Unfortunately, sometimes they are hard to find and you really need to go off the beaten track in order to find them. Only the main street seems to generate any sort of foot-traffic, which, in turn, raises rent prices due to sheer demand for those spaces. So in order to give shops operating in the backstreets a fighting chance, I propose a pop-up shop called ‘the shoebox store’.

A very low-tech pop-up shop

A very low-tech pop-up shop

It will be a very simple, free standing store – perhaps in the middle of Fremantles busiest pedestrian street, where stores can buy a ‘shoebox’ of space for just a few dollars. In other words, they can buy a single spot on one of the thirty ‘shelves’ in the store for maybe five dollars, and place any kind of merchandise they want with a card or list of directions to reach their store. This pop-up shoebox store will serve two purposes: firstly it will encourage economic prosperity by allowing smaller, less visible stores to advertise their products and location. Secondly, as the merchandise will cycle weekly, both residents and visitors to Fremantle will be provided with new, ever-changing, ‘accidental meeting’ products that will keep them coming back.

 

MY THOUGHTS

I enjoyed listening to the Mayor talk about the future developments in Fremantle. Fremantle has always been one of my favourite places to visit and introduce people to. In my research so far I have discovered that strong community bonds are what contribute to the overall happiness of a city, and that all other aspects of urban design should center around creating that sense of community. This is not to say that individual well-being isn’t important as well. Care should be taken to ensure residents are happy, healthy, financially sound and proud of their community. Fremantle has addressed a number of the barriers to increased ‘happiness’ through rezoning and redevelopment schemes, as well as encouraging new cultural events and lifestyle changes (i.e. making the streets more bike friendly).

However, so far I think my research has been a little too broad. Next week I feel I need to look at the following things:

  • Examples of ‘happy cities’
  • Individual ‘happiness enhancing’ projects that other cities have undertaken. The Mayor used the example of free ping-pong tables, wifi and movable seating which were all ideas he got from looking at New York City.

The exercises we completed in the seminar helped me gain a greater understanding of individual stakeholders. It also gave me a few ideas regarding communal projects that could help bring people together – or give them ‘safe’ ares in which to amuse themselves while waiting for their friends (in the case of Rachel). I am thinking of perhaps doing something that allows people to browse through the activities they could do that night while waiting for friends – so that by the time their company arrives, they have a plan for the night!

Another idea surrounds the idea of ‘accidental meetings’. It occurs to be these accidental meetings don’t necessarily have to be between people – they can be between visitors and businesses, or residents and new public spaces. I would like to come up with an idea that could forge new ‘accidental’ meetings.

FURTHER READING
How to build a Smarter City: 23 design principles for digital urbanism

REFERENCES

Borys, H. (2012). Can cities help you forget your troubles? C’mon, get happy! Retrieved from http://www.placemakers.com/2012/10/29/cmon-get-happy/

Braithewaithe, D. & Gibson, J. (2006). Brits ban ‘bloody hell’ TV ad. Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/brits-ban-bloody-hell-tv-ad/2006/03/09/1141701625132.html

Childs, M.C.(2012) Urban Composition: Developing Community through Design. New York: Princeton Architectural

Hanington, B. M., & Martin, B. (2012). Universal methods of design: 100 ways to research complex problems, develop innovative ideas, and design effective solutions (Digital ed.). Beverly, MA: Rockport Publishers.

Healthways (n.d.). Gallup-Healthways Solutions. Retrieved from http://www.healthways.com/solution/default.aspx?id=1125

Legatum Prosperity Index measures [Image] (n.d.). Retrieved March 10 2014, from: http://www.prosperity.com/#!/methodology

Miraval, N.R. (2010). Happiness Is More Than GDP. Retrieved from http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2010/10/26/happiness-helliwell-canada-community/

Pettit, B. (2014). Lecture 2: Urban Design, Sustainability and Happiness in Freo [Powerpoint slides]. Retrieved from Edith Cowen University, Faculty of Design, FBL Academic Skills Centre Blackboard website: http://blackboard.ecu.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-3267121-dt-content-rid-3101773_1/courses/DES2101.2014.1.METRO/Urban%20Design%20for%20Sustainability%202014%20Pettitt%20for%20ECU.pdf

Pidcock, C. (2004). Better urban design can bring community together. The Sydney Morning Herald, p.17. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.ecu.edu.au/docview/364018830/abstract?accountid=10675

REA Group Ltd (n.d.). Fremantle. Retrieved from http://www.realestate.com.au/neighbourhoods/fremantle-6160-wa

Sandow, E. (2011). Long-distance commuters get divorced more often. Retrieved from http://www.samfak.umu.se/english/about-the-faculty/news/newsdetailpage/long-distance-commuters-get-divorced-more-often.cid160978