Day 6: Final presentations

8 Sep

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The final day of the summer school, groups polished there prototypes for a general presentation which included a range of Eden Project staff, the ASF-UK team and all participants of the workshop.

Each group had developed a DYI  sheet or summary of their designs, with sketches and drawing explaining their project. They showed the different food cycles they had focused on in the previous days, according to the scale and site they had been given.

The results were fanatastic! Loads of innovative ideas were presented which each participants will be taking back with them, to their work environment or studies. The audience pointed out that the issues they had been tackling during the workshop were serious issues and that they will strongly affected us in the next 10 years. Urban agriculture, waste, food production and consumption are becoming fundamental issues to not only to the built environment professions but to all of us. Each of these ideas, thoughts and small innovations, all participants will be taking back with them in their futur careers.

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Day 5

7 Sep

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This morning everyone gets up a bit earlier to make to most of this long building day. The sun is out and each group starts collecting materials from the Eden Project’s Waste Neutral centre, they will be using for their design prototypes. The design brief of each group starts being tested, and discussed between all members of the team. Some groups design ideas are changing and evolving to adapt to the availability of materials. All groups are developing their projects towards a strong creative and innovative design.

Group looking at the scale of the household
George, Heena, Jonas, Rachel and Tuuli.

They started their idea around building a foldable table, which would incorporate the entire food cycle in one object, from the growing to the eating, to the composting. When harvesting for materials the team found a door in the Waste Neutral centre, which they decided to use as their main prototype. It incorporated a folding-up table, some integrated shelves for growing herbs and a wormery. The use of this door was even more adapted to their brief due to the lack of space available in the Edinburgh flat they are designing for.

Group looking at the community scale
Rebecca, Chrissie, Oliver, Serena and Shane

Having discussed the entire food cycle within the community of East Oxford and their broader ideas for implementing a sustainable food cycle to the community, they decided on one prototype they were going to build. By assembling palettes, they constructed raised bed for growing different kind of plants. The growing would happen in baskets that could be taken inside in the winter season. These raised bed were at a good height to be accessible by all.

Group looking at the city scale
Alkesandra, Anthony, Daniel and Joseph.

This group decided to design a prototype that could be multiplied in different areas of Chelthernham. They designed a bench from recycled toilet seats with and integrated compost system, and a little mobile food seller unit. The idea of this group was to raise awareness on the amount of food waste we make and sell the surplus of this food back to the people who first waste it.

Groups worked until late in the building plot, then came back to the campsite to enjoy an amazing double rainbow, a warm meal and a fun evening in the local pub.

Day 4: designing takes off

6 Sep

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In the morning the team was divided into three groups to respectively develop an innovation for a food cycle at three different scales: the city, the community, and the household. The groups got together an elected a client, one member of their groups, to set their constraints and started elaborating their briefs. They then shared to the rest of the teams their ideas of a food cycle within the site and context of their client.

Group looking at the scale of the household
George, Heena, Jonas, Rachel and Tuuli.
Their site is set in a student apartment in Edinburgh where very little social space is available. The flat has no living or dining room but only has a small kitchen where the tenants interact with each other. The group explored the social disorder of the apartment and explored the possibility of extending the apartment’s social space to develop a sustainable food cycle within the building, where a shared garden could offer a space. This lead to a general discussion with the other teams about the issues encountered in typical student housing where social space is not available.

Group looking at the community scale
Rebecca, Chrissie, Oliver, Serena and Shane
Their site is set in an East Oxford community on Magdalen road, where community facilities are already fairly strong. The explored different ideas to strengthen and maximising the existing food cycle network, by transforming the street in a semi-pedestrian pathway, with raised beds and integrating compost system. They developed ideas around reusing restaurant oil by implementing an oil filtering centre to power local trackers. The proposition identified local existing networks and thought about applying their project to optimise to the food cycle to create a cohesive, coherent city.

Group looking at the city scale
Alkesandra, Anthony, Daniel and Joseph.
This group’s client lives in Chelthernham, a fragmented north to south city, with a high percentage of homelessness. This site has no real city centre with few enjoyable social spaces. They explored different ideas around creating a public space to share food by reusing restaurant and supermarket waste, creating jobs for the homeless community and reselling it in this newly designed public space. Bring people together around food and creating awareness around the quantity of food wasted in city is the core element of this project, as well as reintegrating a closed food loop to the city.
After developing their briefs the groups went to the Eden Project’s waste neutral centre to identify the type of materials they were going to use to build their prototypes.
We ended the afternoon in a beautiful beach pub to enjoy the sunset at the Rashleigh Inn, where a few brave people went for a swim in the sea!

Day 3: social enterprises by design

5 Sep

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Clare Brass and Kate McGeevor led the activities for day 2, drawing on their experiences working for the SEED Foundation. Clare started by introducing their clear mission, ‘to prove its possible for a designer to earn a living solving environmental and social issues’ and then went on to illustrate how they have tried to go about creating and supporting social enterprise by design.

She explained that design can not only change behaviour, but bring to life the link between the private sector, the public sector and the third sector, in order to unlock activity and progress. Through examples of their own work – and the specific challenges and aspirations they set themselves – they explained how they went about evolving ideas and developing a sustainable social enterprise. They presented one project to get every housing estate in Britain composting food waste on site and using compost to grow fruit and veg.

Kate McGeevor, a researcher, then explained her relationship with the SEED Foundation and the process of integrating research with design in the project. She talked about the experience of action research and the dynamics of stakeholders within the scheme.

Kate and Clare then gave the group a chance to test how they would develop the roof garden on the housing estate in question by considering who wants to be involved and what kind of design and management plan would work. The groups presented back their ideas, and then discussed the challenges of how much structure was needed at the start before the residents would be able to take ownership, and how the project could be an avenue for employment.

Mina, Caroline and Kyle then shared their projects from Diploma/Masters and Part 1 – which all addressed issues of food production, distribution and food waste in diverse and innovative ways. While Mina considered productivity of green space and planting boxes around housing, Caroline looked at food waste from commercial catering in Oxford, and Kyle looked at a market place in Durban, South Africa to address the food cycle locally. From there, Caroline introduced the brief to the group and gave them the evening to decide whether they want to explore the household, neighbourhood or city scale for the next few days…

Day 2: Continous Productive Urban Landscapes

4 Sep

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Andre Viljoen and Katrin Bohn kicked off the first day of the summer school with a sharing their research on Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes (CPULS). The day was divided into three sessions, an introduction to CPULS and urban agriculture in cities, a design exercise introducing urban agriculture spaces and finishing with a discussion on what knowledge and info is needed.

The group asked lots of questions, and explored and tested ideas during the design exercise. The final discussion focused on what we need to know – and how the information can be communicated – and who the target audience should be… Should it be a book, or a series of publications or something more interactive such as website, online community or blog?

We finished up with lectures and discussions at 4pm and went on a short edible walk through the community allotments and other crops around Eden.

Day 1: Everyone arrives…

3 Sep

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Participants and speakers started arriving in the morning, and pitched their tents in the sunshine as the ASF-UK team hoisted up the marquee and prepared a cold lunch.

Once most people had arrived the group headed into the Eden Project to have an introduction to the Eden Project by Karen and Mark (under the newly constructed Building Plot structure) before a tour around the Waste Neutral site and biomes. After the tour the group was directed towards the core building for a few introductions, ice-breakers, expectations and some music and food at the Art Cafe world music night.