Open Park

 
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Open Park is a non for profit organisation for social innovation that helps to build resilient communities around parks. The service aims to help local governments and local groups to lead this transformative process, engaging the broader community, encouraging them to take action through open challenges around the park. 

 

 
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Open Park - Enfield Council, Begin Project. 

This academic project is part of an initiative of the European Commission called BEGIN: Blue Green Infrastructures through Social Innovation. The main objective of BEGIN is “to demonstrate at target sites how cities can improve climate resilience with Blue Green Infrastructure involving stakeholders in a value-based decision- making process to overcome its current implementation barriers”1. The Royal College of Art is involved in this research as a partner and our initial challenge was to help communities build resilience against flooding by creating services that can help city planners engage communities in the development and maintenance of Blue Green Infrastructures, through reconnecting people with nature and helping them take ownership of their public spaces. 

Our approach to this brief was to go beyond any specific solution to enable directly the implementation or maintenance of Blue-Green Infrastructures at local parks. We decided after our first stage of research to focus on how to build resilient communities. We realized that we need more than just Blue-Green Infrastructures in order to be better prepared to face the climate change challenges or any challenge. We need resilient communities that should be more reflective, inclusive, integrative and flexible. A collaborative perspective putting the community at the centre of the problem helped us to understand the importance of a cohesive and resilient community that take ownership of the public spaces and consequently takes care of it. 

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Learning

We started with a discovery stage with the main goal of understanding the context of Broomfield Park, identifying the main stakeholders that should be considered during the process and knowing them deeply: who they are, what they need, what are their motivations, expectations and desires. We wanted to understand the current environment where the project will be settled. In this first phase, we identified 3 main stakeholders: (1) Enfield Council, (2) Friends of Broomfield Park and (3) the public or broader community of Palmers Green. 

Our next step was to converge in defining the area to focus. From this stage and because of the research, we decided to pursue 3 areas of interest: 

  • The exploration of new ways to understand, engage and activate the community around the park.

  • The interaction or partnership model between the Council and the local group of friends.

  • The creation of new ways for the public or broader community, in order to give them new channels to contribute to the park 

 
 

 

Service Proposition

Open Park is a non for profit organisation for social innovation that helps to build resilient communities around parks. The service aims to help local governments and local groups to lead this transformative process, engaging the broader community, encouraging them to take action through open challenges around the park. 

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First Face · Activation Campaign

On the first face we run activation campaigns so in our current case we created #letsmovebroomfieldforward which had a connected strategy with both a digital and physical touchpoint created with the aim of instigate awareness of the state of the affairs of the park, establish a common discussion and create new channels to approach and understand the users of the park. 

Second Face · New Partnership Model 

In this face Open Park as an external organization created a series of workshops with the council, the friend groups and with both at the same time to mediate between them and to help them reach a common vision. Our aim is to create more transparency, align expectation, set roles that allow them to move forward and set common goals. 

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Third face · Open Platform 

We envision an open innovation platform that contemplates physical and digital components with the aim of: promoting citizens ideas, connecting and working with other members of the community, vote, debate, create awareness and opinion on theaffairs of the park, crowdfunding and crowdsourcing.