Public space, our second Points of view urban laboratory, focused on the theme of accessibility and the city’s plans for the creation of a new cultural venue and public space located next to the Wellington tower in Griffintown. Our goals in this workshop were to identify issues of accessibility in the built environment through the lenses of (invisible) disabilities, gendered space, spatial displacement and exclusion. Workshop participants were invited to dialogue and share their points of view and experiences of accessibility in the built environment. -SJ
Co-curators: Thomas Strickland, Shauna Janssen, and Marie-France Daigneault Bouchard
For a preview of the public space workshop listen to Tom and Shauna’s talk with Val Walker on the XX Files at CKUT Radio
On July 26th Points of view hosted its second in situ urban lab on the theme of public space and accessibility. The participation of approximately 15 people made the workshop a huge success! Thanks to all who came out and shared their points of view! Special thanks also to the Points of view team and supporters: Camille, Cynthia, Andy, Mathieu and Micheline for documenting, and Alyse for taking care of the mobile water station. The workshop was co-curated by Thomas Strickland, Marie-France Daigneault-Bouchard, and myself.
Dr Arseli Dokumaci, our guest speaker, kicked off the workshop by leading a group discussion on invisible disabilities in relation to accessibility and the built environment.
Our discussion was followed by a group activity and walk from the Darling Foundry to the Wellington tower. Tom, Marie-France and I asked participants to form groups and assigned them with the task of identifying their encounters with inaccessibility or spatial injustices on their journey between the Darling Foundry and the Wellington tower. Each group was given a Spatial Justice emblem (designed by Tom and I, hand painted by Cynthia Hammond) and asked to use this prop to signify points of spatial exclusion or injustices in the built environment.
We conceived the Spatial Justice colour palette and design, painted with matt grey background and two orange bands (= equal sign) in solidarity with other human rights, social and activist movement logos.
The range of collective encounters with spatial injustices and points of inaccessibility were many and diverse, physical and oral, olfactory and visual.
The path we took from the Darling Foundry to the Wellington tower included a corridor where Smith Street and the railway viaduct intersect. In the near future Nippaysage, a Montreal architectural landscaping firm, will redesign Smith Street and the viaduct into a public space. The implementation of this design will undoubtedly displace the current users and occupants of the viaduct.
Once we arrived at the Wellington tower participants occupied the small irregular shaped grassy patch next to the tower. Weekend cycling enthusiasts whizzed by us on the bike path that separates the Wellington tower from the Lachine Canal. Our occupation of this green space temporarily transformed the site into a public space where participants continued to reflect on their encounters with inaccessibility and dialogue about strategies for inclusive design strategies. -SJ
+++ French follows