El Carrito: Week Four, Thursday, February 10, 2011

Location, Location

So far, one of the main problems we have encountered in engaging the residents of Fort Pienc to participate is the lack of participants in many of the neighborhood public spaces. I should note here that the perception of “enough” participants in a certain space is a relative ruling since some of the spaces in question, such as the Parc de l’Estacio de Nord (North Station Park) have a plenty of users by, say, Los Angeles standards.

students in the park

Stationed at the entrance of the park, a location that serves as a confluence for people coming to the park or passing through from the street or North Station (Bus Hub), we did receive some interested looks, but no one stopped to participate. Perhaps the problem was that the threshold was a place of transition rather than a place for more leisurely strolls.

El Carrito in front of the park entrance

And so we packed El Carrito and traveled to a pedestrian part of Ribes Street.

El Carrito on the move

The street includes a variety of spaces for both moving through and resting in the space, interweaving uses for bicycles, cafes and pedestrians. This location served as the most productive of the day.

Ribes Street

El Carrito on Ribes Street

Although it is on axis with the Civic Center Plaza, a wider range of the neighborhood population uses the street simply to access the adjacent shops. One of the main populations we hope to engage is growing Chinese community; while their presence is especially visible through shops and restaurants established in the area, we have yet to get any substantial participation from any new populations in the neighborhood.

And so, by the end of our three hour venture on the Thursday afternoon in three different spaces, we obtained less than ten participation documents when the average has been around twenty in the Civic Center Plaza. However, diffusing the option of participation to as many residents as possible is worth the effort.

New Discoveries

El Carrito at the neighborhood recycling center

El Carrito at the neighborhood recycling center

Another benefit to trying to discover the best locations for engaging the public is discovering new aspects of the neighborhood. The last location with El Carrito on Thursday afternoon was a Punt Verde de Barrio, a neighborhood recycling center that admits anything from appliances to shoes and in turn awards utility discounts. Such city funded infrastructure begins to hint towards possibilities of integration systems of productive public spaces, instead of isolated municipal elements.

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