Something remarkable happened last night at the Hub2 Honan Library Park design session. People were laughing — laughing because they were having fun and enjoying an open design process.
Nine residents of North Allston sat down with our staff, experienced the space virtually on both the big screen and their own laptops, and brainstormed how the park could play a role in community life. We asked the residents to pick a theme from among the several that emerged from the formal design process being led by Harvard and the ICON Group. Among these themes were “playful,” “educational,” and “contemplative.”
Because the park is still in the early design phases, we focused on broad strokes rather than specific design, and participants knew we were throwing out ideas, not specific recommendations. Nonetheless, the residents were actively engaged in thinking through how the space might weave into the fabric of the neighborhood, what can realistically fit in the relatively small, L-shaped parcel, and what the community really needs. Among the general ideas were a fitness circuit, ampitheatre-type group space, a covered seating area, and a naturalistic pond.
The outcome of last night’s process will be available to view in Second Life through tomorrow afternoon, when a new community group will come in and do it all again. We’ll be providing Copley-Wolff Design Group, the landscape architects for the park, with these ideas as well as more specific designs later in the summer. If you’re a local constituent of the park, please consider joining us at tomorrow’s brainstorming session:
Harvard Allston Education Portal
175 N. Harvard St
We’d especially like to thank, among the Hub2 staff, our interpreters — local Allston youth who have been learning more about both the virtual world of Second Life and the real world of park design — who helped residents manipulate their avatars through the virtual space. Our hosts, the Harvard Education Portal, also worked extra-hard to ensure that the computers and network stayed up and running.