The critical practice module at the GSA was held at the beginning of the year, unlike previous years. This allowed us to respond to previous years’ feedback requesting the course be at the beginning of the year – because of the type of commitment the course requires and the course’s tendency to act as a good ice breaker for the students who are new to the GSA and often only interact with the students in their Units, and not the entire class.
As is the tradition, the module built on previous years’ outcomes. Previous years saw students develop the Codes of Engagement and guidelines for how to engage with complex stakeholder groups. This year’s programme encouraged students to begin to develop tools of engagement, methods whereby spatial practitioners who wish to engage with stakeholders may begin to engage.
Students were encouraged to look beyond the traditional techniques used by the disciplines to find interesting ways to engage and to illicit complicated information and encourage participants to share experiences.
The results varied from data collection activities to information dissemination processes.
The results can be seen here:
An interactive way in which stakeholders can report their feelings about spaces on Instagram, using shared hashtags to easily find these contributions. The concept uses existing technology and platforms and is able to achieve a fairly complex data set without much input. A social media campaign can prompt respondents to use specific hashtags, which produces a publicly accessible repository of inputs.
Project Team: Layla Bhyat, Jana Cloete, Zahraa Essa, Emmanueal Hlongwane, Thelma Ndebele, Izak Potgieter, Gerald Titus, Syeda Zahidi
The “ENGAGER” App
A collaborative social engagement app, which makes use of
mapping and online commentary – providing designers with honest community input before, and real-time feedback, after design proposals have been made. The app prevents the imposition of final design proposals onto communities, and instead, encourages and enables designers to enter in to a productive dialogue with community members, which continues with every iteration of the proposal the designer
Project Team: Lynette Boshoff, Jana Crous, Ishmael Mashaba, Lethabo Mathabathe, Bontle Moumakoe, Mukhethwa Nevhutanda, Moseki Sechele, Tyron Stephan
An engagement strategy that uses games as a way of allowing people to get to know each other and to establish roles within the group. The theory is that traditional games are universal to many ages and groups, and can very easily be learnt by those who aren’t familiar.
The predicted outcomes form these games:
- Assessing roles in the community such as natural leaders, team players,
strategists and creative thinkers
- Underlining ‘Politics’ can be determined from engagement in the game.
- Determining key role players in the community
- Developing Problem Solving skills
- Decision making.
Project Team: Azraa Gabru, Kamal Ranchod, Zolani Armede Gomba, Gloria Pavita, Saanye Zahidi, Aaron Servant, Kwazinkosi Ndebele
OurSpace is a survey app that offers incentives for participants to give feedback on critical decisions.
Project Team: David Banza, Edward Bikitsha, Sarah Harding, Ndumiso Jako, Sibusiso Mkhwanazi, Franklin Tinashe Ndlovu.
City Info App
Another application, the city info app relies on a review and rating system wherein volunteers record inputs related to locations in spaces they occupy often. The application is used as navigation tool and volunteer contributions add warnings and encouragements about certain locations. If government accesses these warnings they can target areas that have been identified as risky.
Project Team: Nothando Nolwazi Lunga, Tshegofatso Mako, Hanle Mothilal
Project Team: Neetesh Ramnath, Ivan Andonov, Jackson Chanje, Jessica Cristovao, Ruan Potgieter, Alex Pottie, Anita Yeboah-Mensah, Leo Lebron Chicwambi
Tune-In – Participatory Podcast
Similar to a community radio station, the podcast becomes a broadcasting platform where community development projects are discussed, experts and professionals are interviewed and affected residents encouraged to comment and be involved.
Project Team: Alma Bierbrauer, Kirsten Fouché, Cornel Hugo, Ivan Meyer, Jaco Maritz, Sean Stevenson