Client: Hong Kong Design Institute
Date: 2015
Status: Realized
Program: A 3-day workshop with 80 Landscape Program students on HK public space

Ecosistema Urbano was invited to Hong Kong to give a lecture and run a workshop at Hong Kong Design Institute. Ecosistema urbano’s workshop aimed, not only to examine the physical dimension of the city, but also its social processes and fluxes, focusing in HK public spaces quality.

The workshop consisted of three different actions:

During the first task students had to explore the area, identifying both challenges and opportunities of the public space of this part of the city, East Kowloon; a newly built area with a lack of attractive public space. They had not only to observe and experience the space themselves but also to gather inputs and fresh ideas from other users and passersby.
In order to communicate and express their learnings and findings, they were expected to elaborate their ideas by producing a video. Many topics emerged from this explorative approach: the space for the visually impaired, the lack of activities and programs, the monotony of the current design and existing solutions, etc.

Social participation activities in Hong Kong with Ecosistema Urbano

The second purpose of the workshop was to launch the Hong Kong version of the local in platform, an online platform designed to publish geolocated messages: users write their ideas, opinions, proposals or concerns in 140 characters and classify them by category, tags and location so that they can be viewed, rated and shared in real time.
The digital platform enables users to work at two different levels:
Mapping: situations, problems, opportunities through images, video, descriptions, etc.
Getting into action: posting their designs, strategies, and solutions to reactivate and dynamize the existing spaces.
There is a color code in which RED stands for problems or challenges and BLUE for ideas and solutions.

Urban Participatory design in Hong Kong. Ecosistema Urbano.

As a final and symbolic act representing the result of this reflection, a temporary balloon installation was implemented in the main public space at HKDI, the boulevar.
A series of 500 balloons were put into place, red balloons standing for problems and blue for ideas, recalling the color classification used in the local_in platform.
The installation is a symbolic representation of the digital platform and the ideas shown were a selection of the many gathered by students during the neighbourhood exploration.
The ideas written in the balloons drew the attention of other students and passersby, and many of them also became engaged in the process and decided to contribute with their own thoughts.
This simple mechanism became a social catalyst, sparking conversations along the space, connecting people and encouraging the reflection about the space we live in, and finally also the ideal background for many selfies, instantly shared on the social networks.

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