ABOUT THE PROJECT
These interventions took place in July 2009, during ”Our city-our decision!” – a participative planning project, which lasted 4 months and involved students from “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urbanism and pupils from School 136 in Ferentari district, a disadvantaged and poor area of Bucharest.
Although not planned from the beginning in the project, towards the end we organized collective sites in the neighborhood. School pupils and students participated in this intervention.
The first place that we created with minimal resource was a bus station across Zăbrăuţi Alley, one of the city’s underprivileged areas. This station, beside an uncomfortable fence, it didn t have any place to rest and be seated as you waited for the bus. We brought some changes to the fence: placing on top of it two long and wide planks, which were beforehand painted and decorated by the children of School 136. Hereby, the result consisted in two benches which, during the next months, proved to be beneficial for the people in the neighborhood. The result of this simple and basic intervention, the two benches, lasted almost two years.
One of the middle school students who was actively involved in the project had the idea to use the remained planks to build a table in front of his building, on Tunsu Petre Street, in Ferentari, Livezilor Alley area. We encouraged him and, together with some kids from the neighborhood building (fifth and sixth graders) they put into use the planks. The kids activated their parents and neighbors, in order to help them.
One week later, we went to see their little project: at a long table there were gathered around a lot of people, especially women with small children. We found out that almost all the building’s inhabitants contributed in the making of process(with nails, paint, hammer and other needed things) and they were all enjoying doing this. Near the table there was a section with flowers planted by the tenants and their children. Although situated in a so-called ”bad city area”, these small interventions lasted for long due to the fact that the inhabitants from the area got involved and participated somehow. The results of the interventions stand for change, for development, for the hope that in the future the neighborhood is going to pull through.
We spoke with the ones gathered at the table: they told us about the most pressing problems concerning public space in the area (the lack of public space for children and infants- the only green public space was turned in a parking lot, the sidewalk is occupied by cars). We spoke of their will and power to start to change for the better their neighborhood (they petitioned with written proposals at the Town Hall for playgrounds for their children).
We noticed the unity of these tenants and their active attitude for change. Our project managed to stimulate this attitude among their children.