Finally, we get the good news from Asikkala. The municipality made a decision to use our concept - a model for participation. It means, our project in Demola succeeds. The other partners in my group consider to develop it further.
At this point, I need to focus on my thesis. I will finish in 1 month. The progress comes really slowly because I don't have the right pace yet. All of blog entries about this SILTA project is available in the link:
I uploaded my presentation in the final pitch for Demola Tampere. In fact, I tried to practise to speak up in front of public audience, as the preparation for my thesis defence.
The final pitch - our magic recipe to openness and donuts for Demola audience
Finally that day came – the final pitch for Demola Autumn Season 2014. This time I represented my group in the pitch. Although our topic relates to municipal policy and academic researches about public participation, we want to deliver a clear message, but easy to understand for general audience. My pitch went fluently with some mumblings in between, because I had my own fear for public speech. While our final product opens the door to better communication in a medium-sized town, I must take this chance to cross my border and make my own voice be heard. For anyone who missed our final pitch, the script is mentioned below.
“I rarely speak up in front of audience like today, so I feel nervous. Do you have the same feeling of being afraid to speak up your opinions in public discussion? That’s why we are here to tell you about our story. We are from the group “Influence from grassroot level in Asikkala”.
Every year there are many difficult decisions and problems brought to the table in the town, for example the budgeting plan, the public service, the health-care policy and further on. The towns need to know people's opinions and people want a transparent decision-making process. There are already different available tools out there. But how to use them properly and efficiently is not clear.
We need a way to inform people and get them to participate. We also need a flexible method that fits everyone. However, to solve this complex topic - participation - we don't simply design a website, an application on smartphone or an offline service. If you want to bake a good cake, you need to follow the recipe step by step. The same goes for better participation processes.
That is why we present you Silta - a method for participation. The first step is to inform people about the theme and time table of the project. This is how the residents know what’s coming up. The second step is to meet the people face-to-face and get them interested. For example have coffee together. The third step is to gather the opinions and thoughts by using different tools: Pad-survey, map-based enquiries or interviews. This is how we gather a lot of opinions and make different voices to be heard.The fourth step is the feedback. The town informs the people on the results. It also tells people how the opinions have affected and what is going to happen next.
And now you’re thinking - we have a good method but how to apply it to the town?
We combine the four-step method, instructions for the municipality officials and an online platform for public conversations in a whole package. This is our product.
For the municipality: they just follow our instruction step by step. It is clear for them and easy to use. We organize the right tools in the right phases.
For the people, you can follow all the conversation in the website or by stopping by to the town hall. All the information is available for you. The juicy part of website is the simple button, that you can click and submit directly your idea to the town.
At any time, you have the choice to RAISE YOUR VOICE and GIVE YOUR OPINIONS.
We make decision-making a visible process that you can attend easily.
With Silta you don’t get just a separate tool but a comprehensive package.
With Silta we get:
INTERACTION between people
Openess is like a delicious cake. You need good ingredients and a recipe to make a good cake. Silta is our magic recipe to openness. We believe that with Silta Asikkala can bake the best cake in the world.
Feel free to come try our cake and give us your comment.”
If you missed our final pitch, you also missed our delicious ‘openness’ donuts in Demola. We used the metaphor of ‘a baking recipe’ to clarify our final package – a combination of a method, the instruction for officials and the online platform for public conversation. We wanted to open new opportunities for the transparent decision-making process and the mutual connection between people and the officials. If donuts could break the heavy ice of a serious topic related to public sector, Silta can also be the magic recipe for a delicious ‘participation’ cake in Asikkala.
We are heading to the final meeting with Asikkala municipality and our final delivery of Silta. The officials already gave enthusiastic feedbacks to our previous reports, that they considered to apply this participation method to real cases in Asikkala soon.
This Fall, I applied and got acceptance for the third Demola project, Influence from grassroot level. The first initiative to join the project is about the grassroot level in the municipality. Asikkala municipality with over 6000 residents is a typical town in Finland, where the most of population is the middle-aged group. It raises up questions on how to engage the residents in the communal decision-making process. Even though the ideology of participation is mentioned in Finnish law, there is always a gap in communication between the officials and the residents.
Recently, I get some fresh ideas about the new generation of architects. Instead of focusing on the building, the architects nowadays shift their approaches to the building environment. In this video link below, three young architects define their studio's target projects in 3 different fields: the classic clients, the community-based projects and the research.
This short interview clarifies my viewpoint about C+ Studio. At this point, I am still working with private clients, as well as urban design research. I don't consider myself as an architect, but a lifestyle consultant for my clients. It is challenging to define my extra projects like Asikkala and Livesmarter in my architectural profile. But these projects complete my study and understanding about the building environment, with the shift toward human behaviours.
For the Asikkala project, our group still works hard on prototyping the final package for the municipality. We figure out our final prototype is a platform, in which consists all possible and affordable tools for the municipality to organise a participation cycle. We also figure out, the participation cycle succeeds only when the officials can focus on specific and proper questions in each project. The participation process is an ongoing and non-linear process. But our platform serves as a bridge to cross over the specific problem in the specfic time phase.
What is the problem? Where is it? ( location-based info raises up the awareness more than non-place information) How much time we have to solve this problem? When will we implement the ideas into the project?
The brief information about the Asikkala project: http://tampere.demola.net/projects/influence-grassroot-level
Municipalities have to develop tools to enable the residents to influence in the decision making.
Asikkala is located by good transport connections and in the middle beautiful nature. There are about 8400 residents in Asikkala. Vääksy channel, which is located in the heart of the town, is the most active inland channel in Finland and during the Summer months vacationers double the population. Over a quarter of Asikkala area is lakes and rivers.
As Finland has drifted into an era of weak financial growth, we have to acknowledge better the residents’ needs and wants. Asikkala is using ask-answer forum which enables the officials to spot and correct the errors in produced services. We need a new channel or approach to support the decision making, that would replace the rigid and heavy resident questionnaires.
- We need more and more the residents’ opinion to support the decision making.
- The time of rapid financial growth ,and therefore the rapid development of services, is over. This is why it is essential to target the remaining resources correctly.
- How to ensure that the residents get the exact services they want?
- Develop informative and user friendly way to gather information about the residents’ wishes
- How to give enough information to the residents in order for them to be able to assess the quantity and quality of the services they want
- How to correctly legitimize and target the financial adjustments in the eyes of the residents
Different options for wallliving
2 Options for Kitchen
Blue tone for the boy room
A bit pinky feeling for the princess room.
Last November 2013, I got the first private client in Finland. We still develop further projects, mostly in Pirkkala, Tampere.
The construction work is going on site. I finished my task on preliminary phase, graphic design for marketing and logo design for website.
My client gave me such a great chance to sneak a view on Finnish life. He also brought other projects to my door. I took a break with long trip around Croatia, Austria and Germany during summer. A long break in our projects.
Last spring, we attended 2 small competitions about product design. The main concept is concernded about the happy moments brought by design.
At this point, I am working on master thesis, about Temporary Event in Urban regeneration.
First draft : http://issuu.com/maddienguyen/docs/chau_vision2/1
The thesis research related to the civic participatory design on Tammela, Tampere. I attended one course with environmental policy students in UTA, in which we interviewed housing companies and residents.
Later updates from UTA research group is going up soon:
Renovation project for a family house in the country side.