Assumptions as constraints to unleash creativity
Knowing that inclusiveness in open spaces is a very broad theme, I involved the team in an experiment.
We took our post-its out and silently wrote down what motivated us to work on this project, as well as how we would define its outcome as valuable.
We then clustered the post-its and killed plenty of cards.
We turned motivation elements
into assumptions that could constrain our ideation.
- We want a place present in most cultures
- Currently, people are excluding themselves from the place
- We want a local place, so we can survey it
Next up we had to pick a place, after 15 minutes of brainstorming we had somewhat developed ideas for parkour, urban hacking,
the care of green areas, an idea for community urban vegetable gardens, and many concepts around cemeteries.
We decided we would work on cemeteries, that excited us, it was thought provoking and left a lot of space for being creative.
At this stage we ran another state of the art and literature review on death and cemeteries, which didn’t bring significant insights.
To rapidly generate a number of developed concepts, I introduced the team to brainwalking, an ideation
technique where participants generate ideas on paper and further build upon each other’s
ideas by walking up to them and silently adding their own piece.
At the end of the process we had developed what follows:
Letters to the dead, letters to the family
- from the grave (dead and/or family) + from the notice board (family)
Plant a tree
- memorial from someone who is buried elsewhere (eg. migrants)
- message sent from cemetery tree (family or personal) to tree around the city or vice versa
Sharing memories installation
- about the spatial disconnection of eternal sleep and places you lived
- remembering the dead in loco around the city (like thoughts tree, the “messages” stay there to be read) + kinetic sculptures + lighting installation
We realized the best way to evaluate our ideas was relating them to the local context.
We immediately weeded out the tree planting idea as green burial is not allowed in Italy.
Then we ran surveys to nearby cemeteries and looked for opportunities.
Thanks to a netanalysis on the cemeteries and the surrounding areas and after talking to 2 sociologists
living in the Trentino province we soon found that the very expensive Le Albere neighbourhood, designed by famous Renzo Piano, had lots of trouble
filling vacant apartments facing the cemetery.
The Trento cemetery is located in a very expensive area, close to the city center.
It is split in half by a pedestrian road that connects Le Albere with the city center, yet that road is seldom used
for other purposes but cemeterial visits. Even public demonstrations that end their path in Le Albere’s fancy green areas
actively avoid that road.
The existence of other initiatives for its enhancement and valorisation, such as
- The concert of the dead, on All Saint’s Day (2nd november)
- Tours around the history and art of the cemetery
further motivated us to focus the project on the Monumental Cemetery of Trento.