Reactivating the potential of the neighbourhood by embracing the cultural diversity
The focus of this project was on the identification of public spaces perceived in a positive or negative way and on the increase of their potential as meeting and exchange points. During the work in the neighbourhood the focus in fact shifted to theme-based issues, raised by the residents during the process. These issues were taken up artistically and implemented in the form of action days and action weeks as artistic responses to the pressing needs and wishes of the local inhabitants. The themes were More Respect, More Green and More Flowers, More Togetherness, More Safety, and More Cleanliness.
The reputation ot the district is, in many ways, far more negative than is the case in reality. Stigmatisation and ethnic segregation are issues. Many locals identify visible issues such as the poor maintenance of streets, pavements, yards, and the deficit of green spaces. Many people feel unsafe in Gaarden.
There is a low level of engagement and innovation in public and community affairs, creating an unhealthy situation where a few dominate, and informal hierarchies are apparent. This has also created distrust between the community and the municipality. changing the perspective on the qualities of the area was a key factor in order to strengthen the identity of the inhabitants and hence, their commitment to the neighbourhood.
The long-term cooperation with one artist helped to build trust between her and local players and citizens. On the other hand, all creative responsibility during the process was concentrated and dependent on her. A team of artists might have led to more creative diversity and mutual support. Activities should be activated within a short period of time in order to keep the interest and motivation at a high level. The more time there is in between events and projects, the more the process is at risk of losing energy.