This Saturday, the Powerhouse at New Farm is hosting a panel as part of' "Sound Polaroids" exploring - "What role can artists play in shaping the cities of the future?"
Most people tend to automatically see artists as contributing to urban space through physical art work (like sculptures and installations in public space) but if you consider art as a means to communicate ideas then I think there are greater 'untapped' areas for artists.
The brillant book World Changing says -
"The agents of planning are usually boring, the planning process is boring, the implementation plans are always boring. In a democracy, boredom works for bureaucracies and corporations...but no natural law requires planning to be boring, but citizens must demand that it not be so. At it's root urban planning is simply the creation of spaces and we all have an intuitive understanding of what makes a good place...making planning fun can make it more democratic, which can only make it better" (p237)
Artists and creative thinking can have a big role in making planning less boring, more "visual" and better communicated especially in community engagement and consultation.
At project levels, there is already great research and examples of artistic and fun approaches in community engagement happening. For example -
- Toowoomba 2050 - Children's Art Festival
- Plan C Brisbane (the use of film, photos etc)
- IDEO (visioning/ place-branding)
- International Association of Public Participation (see Australian awards)
- General community engagement tools
PARK(ing) Day works on this very idea of making planning less boring. For example, I bet a conversation in a PARK(ing) Day spot about our city parklands is more memorable and fun than any Open Space Policy document I can hand you to read.
The opportunities to participate in the planning process has always be there (they are part of the legislation), and a critical objective of Brisbane PARK(ing) Day is to educate and inspire interest about urban design and the planning process... so much so that next time you see a n invitation to review a plan, policy, or attend a community consultation meeting you go and get involved.