We are simply ecstatic to have won a grant, in collaboration with AIA Austin, from the Downtown Austin Alliance to create a series of events, participatory design tools and a crowdsourced ideas competition to engage citizens of Austin, Texas in re-imagining vacant and underused spaces on Congress Ave–directly across from the State Capitol! Working with AIA Austin, the Downtown Austin Alliance and the City of Austin, Public Workshop will kick off the festivities on October 8th, 2011 with a Buildathon next to the Old Bakery on Congress Ave. Taking advantage of our Build-It! Disks and other unique ‘making’ oriented design tools, hundreds of participants will explore new possibilities for the site and make their ideas visible by doing such things as building fantastic, inhabitable temporary structures and designing new master plans of the area out of chocolate cake. Using ‘making’ and ‘doing’ as the key tools for participants exploring possibility during this kick-off event will build an incredible amount of excitement, community ownership, and engagement in the ongoing design process while generating better ideas for the future of these critical spaces. In the following months, Public Workshop will create an ongoing community engagement plan; branding and web presence for the process; curate cultural events that utilize Austin’s creative assets to help re-imagine these spaces; and work with AIA Austin to develop a new breed of design competition that smartly marries local, crowd-sourced knowledge with stellar design expertise.
Incredible kudos and thanks to AIA Austin, the Downtown Austin Alliance, Art In Public Places and the City of Austin for supporting this project which will redefine the way the ‘temporary’, community and local cultural assets are intentionally interwoven into urban design processes to create better cities.