Take a moment and think of an underused public space. What does it look like? Is it a lonely alleyway? A bare concrete space? An underused green space? Now, take another moment and imagine what you could do to make it warm, welcoming and inviting. Will you add some public art? Set up a chair and have a mug of tea with people walking by? What would YOU do to make a space feel good?
Here’s what several Edmontonians have already done to help cozy up their neighbourhoods. The rock below was found on 102 Street and features a charming drawing of Finn the Human encouraging pedestrians to “Make Good Choices.” This is exactly what small-scale placemaking is all about: tiny acts turning a space into a memorable place. If you’re lucky, it may even put a smile on someone’s face. Algebraic!
Need more inspiration?? Head over to the Griesbach neighbourhood in north Edmonton, where a poetry garden bursts with positive messages and beautiful poems. When reading Dr. Seuss excerpts such as “You’re off to great places! Today is your day!” handwritten on the small chalkboards, footsteps get a little bit lighter and the sky get a little bit brighter. This poetry garden is an elegant, simple way to transform a bland white fence into a unique area.
So, what’s your idea to make a drab space more inviting? The possibilities really are endless. (As long as they’re safe and legal, of course.) If you’re inspired to follow in the footsteps of the rock artist or the fence poet and freshen up an underused public space yourself, you’re invited to participate in #DIYcity on June 21. This event is a citizen-driven urban makeover day, and a collaborative effort between Make Something Edmonton and CITYlab.
For more information and to submit your own project idea (or to see what others are up to), please visit www.makesomethingedmonton.ca/DIYcity. To collaborate with CITYlab on a project for #DIYcity, pitch your idea to them and see how they can help you. Don’t forget to use and follow #DIYcity on Twitter to share pictures of your project– or someone else’s. We can’t wait to see how you get playful with public space on June 21!