Day 2: A story of spaghetti, OAPs and urban wellbeing

Day 2 began with a panel discussion about the Olympic’s ‘Urban Wellbeing and Public Health’ legacy (or as we were all about to find out- its lack of it).

Oliver Dawkins, an expert on spatial analysis, opened the floor by exploring whether the Olympic Park was meeting its legacy. The London Legacy Corporation had promised to ensure that the following legacy provisions were fulfilled:

  • Local people: education, jobs and accessibility
  • Built environment: Sustainability, building heights and protected views
  • Natural Environment: open spaces and waterways

Although, as Oliver explained, the stakeholders had been successful in creating a strong natural environment: e.g 111 acres of open space, 525 bird boxes 150 bat boxes and 6.5 km of waterways, they had failed to incorporate this beautiful ecosystem with the local community.  Currently, local people aren’t accessing the park nor are they, in any substantial number, gaining employment from its existence.

As a result of its many failures he originally had a rocky relationship with the London Legacy Corporation. In protest to London Legacy’s prosecution of photographers and disengagement with the local community prior to the game’s opening, Oliver organised ‘The Universal Right to Play’, a pop-up sports festival which took place across London.

However, his relationship with the London Legacy Corporation has remarkably changed from one of protest and anguish to one of collaboration. He is now helping develop for the Corporation ‘Smart Sustainable Districts’, a 3D real- time computer models for use in community planning of the Olympic park.

Neil McElduff (London Office of Clinical Commissioning Groups) then took to the stage to discuss his involvement with the Ludwig Guttman Health Centre to enable it to better alleviate value to the local community. He discussed his belief that, in lay man terms, health should not be seen as a passive condition but rather something that is socially and actively produced.

Neil lambasted the Centre for its lack of engagement with the local community. Although, thanks to his help, its capacity use has grown from 30% to 70% it remains a 6000 sqm building that has largely failed to deliver on its promised legacy. He suggested that the centre’s management should be given to the ‘third-sector’,  (Charity and volunteering ), citing: a recent art gallery that was erected for the disabled and a Deaf Awareness day as examples of the ‘third sectors’ successes in involving the local community with the health centre space. However, he lamented that this is impracticable given that the ‘third sector’ cannot afford space.

We were then given the following challenge: How can Creative Wick mobilise its networks to improve the wellbeing of HWFI locals? and separated into our groups to come up with solutions.

Given the fantastic network that Creative Wick possesses with many of the larger Olympic stakeholders, we recognised that it was important for Creative Wick to tap into this resource and along with their creative expertise, help build local community engagement with the Olympic legacy.  Some of the solutions we generated included: Creative Wick in partnership with local charities offering art classes/therapy to the elderly at the Health centre and Creative Wick running interactive tours of the Olympic park for local school children.

After each group presented we all enjoyed a fabulously long lunch break.

The afternoon activity saw us engaging with Mensch, an organisation which taught us how to create human-centered designs.

Our first task was the spaghetti and marshmallows challenge. We had to erect the tallest structure with a marshmallow at its peak using only spaghetti, tape and a piece of string. Sadly the structure that my group built resembled something like a kite on a rainy day and collapsed as soon as the marshmallow was placed on top! What was the point of this task? Well apart from seeing who was the best architect it was designed to test how we would approach a task and how we would collaborate with our team mates.

Moving forward we began to explore how we could better the experience of an Urban commuter. Each small group had to create an persona with 3 unique aspects to their commute and three needs that they required assistance with. My group created Chara Clefield an 81 year old widow who thanks to old-age and a lack of technological awareness was suffering from the commute from hell. She tripped on a regular basis thanks to the onslaught of morning rush hour traffic, struggled to physically board trains and buses and was completely in the dark when a travel disruption occurred.

Our target audience: OAPs
Our target audience: OAPs

With the call to embrace our creative confidence we were told to fire away over 100 ideas to improve our commuter’s journey.

Redbull for the elderly, ban the elderly from public transport or just build more benches?
Redbull for the elderly, ban the elderly from public transport or just build more benches?

My group came up with a number of solutions ranging from absurd (Speed shoes and red bull for elderly commuters), technologically based (interactive oyster cards) and elderly friendly infrastructure development (travelators).  Narrowing our ideas to two main themes we will be developing our first ever human centered design to rescue the likes of poor ‘Chara’ from her commute from hell. Looking forward!



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