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Workshop 34

FOR CHARLESGATE PARK AND BEYOND...ART+DESIGN FOR ACCESSIBILITY IN PUBLIC SPACES

BostonAPP/Lab Notes from November 5, 2018

  • What role(s) can art – however defined and in whatever medium! – play as an element of inclusive design in public spaces?

  • We’ve included the responses by a number of participants to a set of questions posed at the end of the Workshop.

  • Check these out – and the notes themselves – for the range of ideas and recommendations generated...and send along your own ideas and responses to info@bostonapp.org!

     

FROM THE WORKSHOP ANNOUNCEMENT

Significant planning is underway to restore Charlesgate Park as the critical link in Frederick Law Olmsted's single park system -- which includes the Esplanade, the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, and the Emerald Necklace.

 

There's a special opportunity here: to incorporate, via art and design, new ideas and identify new opportunities for increasing accessibility and inclusivity in public spaces -- to expand a real-time, working definition of "the public" for the Park, for the neighborhood, for the system itself, and for the city as a whole.

 

We invite you and all Workshop participants to come up with new responses to the challenges of -- and questions about -- accessibility and inclusivity:

  • What kinds of initiatives could/will contribute to accessibility at Charlesgate -- from park bench to pathway? In what ways?

  • What role(s) can art -- however defined and in whatever medium! -- play as an element of inclusive design in public spaces?

  • What part can you play in meeting those challenges?

 

Helping to shape the discussion will be Charles Baldwin, of Mass Cultural Council's Universal Participation Initiative; Dan Adams and Marie Law Adams, of Landing Studio; Parker James, of the Charlesgate Alliance. They'll provide a set of frames -- historic, art, design, and community engagement -- within which to consider issuesof accessibility. Participants will then break into small groups to brainstorm how these frames can be filled in! 

Community + Wellbeing

Public means...

  • Open to everyone

    • Define “everyone” 

  • Navigation is important

  • Orientation

  • What makes people want to engage w/ the space e. What’s the experience of entering the space?

  • Clarifying the space and access

  • Engage w greater audience

    • Write down the needs of everyone

  • Provide opportunities to “get lost” w/ well defined navigation i. Provide entrances to all areas

  • Space for programming

  • Quiet space

  • Connection to water

  • Access with texture: stone dust for paths, rock walls

 

Accessibility

  • Solar chargers on bencher

 

The role of art

  • Relaxing structures for seating

  • Bridge intergenerational gaps

  • Space for children – Magical

  • Structures w/ twigs and branches e. Call to artists

  • Change play space yearly?

  • Food trucks/coffee carts

  • Engage w/ sound/light

    • Light-up swings

  • Fountains/water features/fog art

 

Nature

  • Get up high

    • See the whole site

    • Understand the larger system

    • Walls obstruct view

  • Map/visual depiction of whole thing 3. It seems “off limits”

    • Why and how does it communicate “No Entry”/”Forbidden Zone”?

  • Not all of it is under the Bowker

  • You can’t invite people to touch dirty water – So how should people access the site? 6. Visual access

    • Son et Lumiere

    • Chairs gave access

    • Lighting to highlight

  • Paint overpass to show drivers above what’s happening below! 8. Vegetation hides the site

  • How can art/design support + enhance accessibility?

    • Lights! It’s under a roof

    • Design inspired by the shadows of birds

    • Reflected water: visual

  • Tactile mapping

    • Feeling where/what you are: sensual

  • Audio: you drive it

    • When I do X, this lights up, or this sound makes X happen

    • Sound of highway translated below

    • Sound of water translated somehow

  • Intentional anticipation of human variety

  • Besides water...

    • Plantings – New landscapes

    • Highlight nature – how to make it communicate more

    • Natural fauna representing a particular area- so a particular natural sign to locate each linear site

      • Ex. Wetland, marsh, swamp

      • These are currently not behaving the way a river should

      • Perhaps it is behaving more like a long skinny lake

  • Pontoon platform

    • Be near the water without touching it

  • Telling the story makes it much more...interesting!

    • Linear....wetland!

  • Softer!

    • Softer plants! Just because it’s under an overpass doesn’t mean stuff couldn’t grow...this is not a light issue...

 

A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS

What were your biggest takeaways from this evening regarding “art+design for accessibility in public spaces?”

  • To think about all levels of accessibility in art from sound, visual, materials, color, texture, space, functional sculpture, intergenerational play areas, etc.

  • Amazed at this history of Charlesgate, and inspired by the energy tonight

  • Need to find ways to activate the space during the years before final completion. Art of many kinds would do this. How to make the mast of the river. I was surprised how little newcomers knew of the history. How to change that.

  • Thinking about the Muddy River [? Illegible] as a lake, non-moving

  • A lot of work

  • I love to think about making ACCESS to all – such a creative thing?

  • The history of Charlesgate and its potentials; participatory process; UP initiative w/Mass Cultural Council – never heard of it before

 

For a possible follow-up workshop, which topics would you most like to dig into?

  • – continued digging into innovative ways to engage all people through art + creating accessibility. Maybe look at actual case studies of other people/parks how to activate space before the park will be built

  • Sound, and creating quiet spaces

  • The river. Which plants for texture. What the “diverse” people really want from them as the source

  • How to make “a lake” attractive

  • What art, & how to get it don't? Connecting ‘artists’ (writ large) with the space

  • Performance art; bench-design charrette called “Plan Against Loneliness”; ecological potentials – learning from Alewife

 

Any additional thoughts?

  • Thanks!

  • Love the conversation – can we see how these conversations will be incorporated into the final design?

  • Dedicated Earl of Sandwich in Boston Common, formerly an unused structure. Call for food outlet could be realized by converting building already there into a ‘Starbucks’

  • Loved this evening!