CO-OPOLIS Workshop in Dalian – Day 2

First up on the agenda for Day 2 of the CO-OPOLIS Workshop was team time for the groups to share background information on the site and begin to ideate. 

A couple of hours later, to re-energize the session as well as help the teams begin developing their proposal, a 5×5 design stoker culminated in the production of rough concept models made from a range of materials including foam board, construction paper, tape, glue, stickers, toothpicks, paper plates and cups, Q-tips, felt, tissue paper, pins and plastic pawns.

Some common themes emerged from this activity, including environmental restoration and rehabilitation, multi-purposing, economic viability, future outlook, and needs-addressing, all encompassed in initial concepts such as agricultural tourism, dynamic and multi-level spaces with living roofs, and space-age, mind, body, and spirit rejuvenation centers. It was an interesting challenge to reconcile the green- (natural environment) and blue- (lakes and rivers) dominated models with the currently color-less and bleak site, but the longing for a deeper connection to nature came through clearly.

Following a rushed lunch, the whole afternoon was taken up by empathy interviews to further our understanding of the stakeholders and their viewpoints and needs. The groups split up to speak to a number of different parties, including local government, a private recycling company which currently occupies the site, urban designers, and local people and workers at the site area. With a thick fog having descended over the city, it was an almost apocalyptic, post-WWII scene driving out to the site past the many skyscraper shells, near ubiquitous construction rubble, old dilapidated trucks and bleak, barren landscape.

However it was well worth braving the cold, as the a greater understanding of the demographics, leisure activities, shopping habits, transport issues, and values of the local people was gained. After bucket-sized coffees to warm up, a trip to a mall near the center of the city provided an opportunity for several groups to speak to a more middle-class demographic and gain some feedback on their initial proposal concepts.

After dinner and back at DUT, the groups shared their newly acquired knowledge in short presentations, putting all the teams in a great position to begin to analyze, organize and consolidate the wealth of information and begin refining their proposal concepts over the coming days.


– Sonja


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