Creative Placemaking pop-ups found a home in Winnipeg last week in recognition of 2014 being the Year of Urban Ideas.
Innovation and creativity knew no bounds when Winnipeggers displayed their projects in the West Exchange District on August 15, 2014, in alleys and dray ways (covered alleys).
The Project for Public Spaces advocates, “a quiet movement that re-images public spaces as the heart of every community. It is a “transformative approach to create and improve public spaces.”
This endeavor is sponsored by The Winnipeg Foundation, Exchange District Biz, Canada Council for the Arts and the Winnipeg Arts Council.
Teens ages 14-17 interested in their city, the arts and perhaps a career in city planning, can attend a free City Builders Camp September 12, 19, 26 and October 3, 2014, by going to: www.urbanidea.ca
Ten placemaking concepts filled five alleys, inviting visitors to see urban spaces with new eyes.
My friend and I visited all the installations but the one that stopped us in our tracks and caught our hearts was called “In Full Swing.” The concept of portable hammocks for the homeless hit home given the housing crisis in Winnipeg. Each bright orange hammock can support 300 lbs and is much kinder to the body than sleeping on the ground.
These hammocks were surrounded by music and flowers. The event was made even more poignant for us when a few feet away we witnessed two police cadets ask a homeless young man if he was okay, while he changed his clothes in the alley.
Number TEN Architectural Group created a sculptural representation of “people, experiences and energy ” entitled interTwine. Participants could attach place markers to areas on a giant city map city with suggestions for “what the area needs.” Ideas included better suburban bus service, more little free libraries, more literacy programs and homes for the homeless.
Artistic elements that spoke of pure joy included, City Sailing whereby passersby could experience time on a sailboat, projected onto a brick wall, giving the feeling of the open sea.
Fun was the idea behind Daygazer with a plethora of stars hung above real grass covering the alleyway.
Everybody loves bubbles and Plain Projects Landscape Architecture brought the kid out in everyone engendering lots of smiles in a simple yet important reminder that you can have fun in urban settings.
To celebrate the history of Canadian francophones, Jamais je ne t’oublierais and Colette Balacen gave visitors an opportunity to write a few lines of a special memory, and pin them to a kite which would later be incorporated into a song.
A hot summer day just wouldn’t be complete without a dip in the pool. This one, in a tiny alleyway came complete with multi level diving boards.
A final stop on the tour for us was a pop up community garden resplendent with blossoms, carpets and local produce.