RODEO ARCHITECTS

Parklife in Moelv

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Parklife in Moelv

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Type: Commission
Client: Norsk Form
Program: Mapping, Analysis and Strategy
Location: Moelv, Norway
Status: Delivered

Team: Kenneth Dahlgren, Anne Gjesdal Bjørndal

Video Presentation: Click here

 

What is it that makes a park successful? Is it similar in large and small cities? Obviously not. Different places have different qualities, they consist of different people and are surrounded by different environments. Briefly put: Places are different.

On behalf of the Norsk Form (now Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture), Rodeo conducted a social analysis of “Garveriparken” in the small town Moelv, to try and uncover why, despite relatively large investment and commitment to both the park and activity elements, were relatively few people who took the offer in use.

A physical analysis was conducted previously, which identified a number of challenges at the park, but this in itself could not explain the absence of activity. Using sociological methods, participant observation, interviews, focus groups, statistical analysis, we found a much more nuanced picture of the park's problem: Firstly, there was an insufficient population base to partake in activities, and secondly, the park competes with park similar offerings already established in Moelv, and thirdly the park is located in an area of town where most people did not have a particular relationship to. 

The most important reason why Garveriparken in Moelv is not working - we found out – was due to a very interesting social mechanism rooted in a strong collectivist mentality among locals. Before development of the park was carried out, there were a number of participatory processes where people were invited in to propose content for the park. The only problem was that the focus in the process was not strategically aligned in an operational direction. For example, when content was proposed, a majority said that they did not have themselves in mind, but considered what "the others" would appreciate first, even though they did not have a particular need for the park themselves. Most people in Moelv live after all in a single-family home, with a private garden and great natural qualities (like forests and lake) in close proximity. Why would they need to use another park? Garveriparken was therefore developed as a service to a user group - "the others" - that in reality did not exist.

One important reason why this could happen again, we find in very many - perhaps most - developments around the country. When people are invited into processes to provide input, so they add their ideas on the basis of what is considered “correct”, rather than what they actually mean and need. When people - you and I - think of concepts such as gym, shopping mall, train station or park, so it is often specific images that pop up in our heads and to challenge these pictures with independent, creative ideas are often difficult. An important conclusion from the project was that in order for local development to be successful - particularly against future cities – they must be able to break through people's categorical performances.

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Type: Commission
Client: Norsk Form
Program: Mapping, Analysis and Strategy
Location: Moelv, Norway
Status: Delivered

Team: Kenneth Dahlgren, Anne Gjesdal Bjørndal

Video Presentation: Click here

 

What is it that makes a park successful? Is it similar in large and small cities? Obviously not. Different places have different qualities, they consist of different people and are surrounded by different environments. Briefly put: Places are different.

On behalf of the Norsk Form (now Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture), Rodeo conducted a social analysis of “Garveriparken” in the small town Moelv, to try and uncover why, despite relatively large investment and commitment to both the park and activity elements, were relatively few people who took the offer in use.

A physical analysis was conducted previously, which identified a number of challenges at the park, but this in itself could not explain the absence of activity. Using sociological methods, participant observation, interviews, focus groups, statistical analysis, we found a much more nuanced picture of the park's problem: Firstly, there was an insufficient population base to partake in activities, and secondly, the park competes with park similar offerings already established in Moelv, and thirdly the park is located in an area of town where most people did not have a particular relationship to. 

The most important reason why Garveriparken in Moelv is not working - we found out – was due to a very interesting social mechanism rooted in a strong collectivist mentality among locals. Before development of the park was carried out, there were a number of participatory processes where people were invited in to propose content for the park. The only problem was that the focus in the process was not strategically aligned in an operational direction. For example, when content was proposed, a majority said that they did not have themselves in mind, but considered what "the others" would appreciate first, even though they did not have a particular need for the park themselves. Most people in Moelv live after all in a single-family home, with a private garden and great natural qualities (like forests and lake) in close proximity. Why would they need to use another park? Garveriparken was therefore developed as a service to a user group - "the others" - that in reality did not exist.

One important reason why this could happen again, we find in very many - perhaps most - developments around the country. When people are invited into processes to provide input, so they add their ideas on the basis of what is considered “correct”, rather than what they actually mean and need. When people - you and I - think of concepts such as gym, shopping mall, train station or park, so it is often specific images that pop up in our heads and to challenge these pictures with independent, creative ideas are often difficult. An important conclusion from the project was that in order for local development to be successful - particularly against future cities – they must be able to break through people's categorical performances.