Development- team observations

Aurora Ave: History, (Its)story

The charette came off well, especially after the first 25 minutes.

The participants worked diligently to incorporate their guests into conversations related the their strengths and experience. After about a half hour, the hosts and guests came to a shared comfort level where they could get down to questions beyond the initial wash.

Many thoughtful observations were made, some quite impressive for the amount of time available to the charette participants. A number of comments related to the way we related to Aurora were thought provoking, and a number of those were clearly portrayed in the deliverable objects produced by the charette team. Among the astute observations was the separation between the viability of popular modes of neighborhood engagement such as food trucks in walkable neighborhoods (Ballard, SLU, et al) and areas where virtually all trips are made by car.

Another observation which directly impacted the work flow and final designs of the session was the conversation around how out-sized the built environment’s reaction is to all object, how *SUPERSIZED* and brightly lit everything is along the avenue, both out of character for Seattle’s roads.

– The team’s allocation of time was reasonable, most of their subject matter was reasonably covered.

– The team worked together smoothly in general. Most of the pauses in their work were in the first 30 minutes.

– The team members seemed to self-select into their roles, there seemed to be some hesitance to invite the guests into specific roles- defaulting to seeing where the guests wished to go.

– Decisions were consensus based, there were few discernable moments of singular, authoritative leadership. There were no outright disagreements during the session, so there were few opportunities for leadership to be overt.

– The guests were invited to engage the subject matter at a thorough level. It seemed like there were various moments in the charette when the students deferred decision-making to them, sometimes in important decisions that the students might have engaged more fully.

– All members of the team engaged the charette equally. The role of a recorder is a difficult one to accomplish while also being part of the dialogue, this team did a good job of engaging the recorder inasmuch as possible.

– Their strategies were generally effective. I couldn’t tell from the outside if they truly agreed on almost everything, or if dissenting opinions were repressed. If opinions were being held inside, that would be disappointing, and might add sharper, more incisive designs to the lovely designs accomplished by the team.

I ABSOLUTELY LOVED having the projector in the room with the looped video of Aurora playing, it anchored much of the theoretical dialogue in the washed out reality of the context.

Having both flat and modeled objects as items under production at the end of the session was fantastic.


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