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CoDesRes: Co-designing for rural Resilience through P2P networks and STEAM place-based learning interventions. The CoDesRes researchers are part of SMARTlab UCD  and the Inclusive Design Research Centre of Ireland. 

 

This research project has been funded by the EPA Research Programme 2014- 2020. The EPA Research Programme is a Government of Ireland initiative funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment. 

 

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The approach

The project includes a unique art and design critical praxis that contributes to the development of sustainable communities through a focus on circular economies, waste as a resource and plastic pollution. The team with the co-designers from the various projects, will undertake activities aligned to the following Sustainable Development Goals 4 - Quality Education, 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities, 14 - Life Below Water and 15 - Life on Land.

 

CoDesRes's core methodology, the permaCultural resilience (pCr) framework, embeds social and environmental justice in its processes. Trialled in London, Dublin and New Mexico in a range of socio-political contexts, it has proven to be effective in creating locally relevant non-formulaic projects that contribute to community development. But it's not sustainable as it needs the pCr creator to facilitate the process. 

 

The CoDesRes project seeks to make the pCr tools and process accessible to anyone and over the next two years we will be working with our co-designers; transition year students and community group members to develop a toolkit, educational resources and professional development resources for those working at the intersection of the Arts, Ecology, Spatial Planning and Community Engagement and Development. 

The pCr praxis

The CoDesRes methodology and research design is underpinned by interdisciplinary knowledge bases; arts, education, community development, marine ecology, environmental science and engineering. The permaCultural resilience (pCr) critical praxis (McKeown, 2015) for Creative Placemaking; the creative innovative participatory development of place, a web of complex relationships and systems. The pCr praxis (theoretical framework and toolkit) offers a systematic approach to Creative Placemaking through a situated, networked co-production that embeds eco-social justice at its core. As an operating system, the pCr praxis presents an Open Source resilient approach to design and encourages the triad of capitals; social, environmental and economic to be integrated into the process as a means to cultivate the creation of conditions towards a healthy resilient eco-socio-cultural ecosystem.

 

An introduction: the pCr ROLE in Creative Placemaking is sustainable and resilient. Collectively, the toolkit and framework have been shown to facilitate self-organisation towards community development, a design thinking approach to local concerns and a process of developing innovative solutions collaboratively and systemically.

 

R - Relationships Using an intensive ‘audit’ tool to map cultural, economic, socio-political and environmental dynamics the pCr praxis reveals relationships, resources and opportunities to help re-configure and re-imagine an understanding of place. Stakeholder consultation is the first stage in the process

 

The construction of flexible micro-ecologies aids the revelation of multiple knowledge cultures and entities, integrating their place-based knowledge, valued for its potential to contribute to a local resilience.

 

O - OBREDIM process The pCr approach to Creative Placemaking develops a strategic intervention tactic as a core component for achieving permaCultural resilience (pCr) – a situated cultural resilience that is established over time through continual evolution. Permaculture tools adpated to suit situated art practices (where the art emerges out of specific situation and is context responsive) are used to move beyond site-specific or traditional art forms that often static or monumental towards generative practices.

 

L - Lifecycle Analysis The pCr framework offers a simple visual tool that embeds an eco-social commitment within Creative Placemaking by addressing the full life cycle of a project and beyond. By plotting the position of the inputs, processes and outputs of a project against the proximity to project’s ‘Zone 0’, an initial assessment of all production process can be considered.

 

E - Evaluation The pCr toolkit includes an evaluative matrix based on the concept of the vital signs of a project and contributing to the vital signs of a place. The Vital signs, act as indicators of a healthy system – human and non-human. The matrix, developed through the research uses the proposed foundational characteristics of pCr

 

  • Building Micro-ecologies

  • Strategic Intervention Tactics

  • Re-seeding Local Knowledge

  • Re-situating Arts, Design and Culture

 

and integrates three other key factors – earth care, people care and fair share, often commonly known as the triple bottom line. An additional indicator – the inclusive fitness theory evidences where the ethos behind the project spreads into other organisations or working practices towards long-term behavioural change.

 

The Vital Signs Matrix tool can also be used as a collaborative project development tool that serves as a foundation to addresses social and environmental equity within a project; short medium and long-term. The methodology also developed an extended concept of SMART goals that sought to integrate goals reflective of the current and future context;

 

  • S - Socio-culturally specific, Simple, and Sincere

  • M -  Meaningful as well as manageable and measurable

  • A -  Appropriate, Achievable, Aspirational and Ambitious

  • R – Relevant, Responsive, Reviewed and revised

  • T – Timely and time-specific

  • E - Eco-considerate and Ethical

  • R – Resilient, Resourceful and far – Reaching

Outcomes

CoDesRes is one of six national EPA funded projects and brings together an interdisciplinary team of artists, scholars, engineers and marine biologists codesign and development a multi-stakeholder approach for a ‘beyond-compliance’ engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals 4, Education; 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities; 14. Life Below Water and 15, Life on Land

 

Trialled in London, Dublin and New Mexico, the systems non-formulaic approach will form the foundation of a truly accessible toolkit for communities and educators to go beyond citizen inclusion in governance and decision making through active engagement with  problem-finding and solving. Key objectives for the project are as follows;

 

  1. 110 local residents –  trained in the methodology and mentored through the development of local projects

  2.          An educational curriculum and teachers resources for Transition Year students based on the SDGs in                       particular SDG 4, 11, 14 and 15
  3. A set of continuing professional development training / resources for second level teachers and other            professionals

  4. A fully accessible open source toolkit.

  5. A media and repair café / maker co-op, Remade in Kerry at the core of an innovation and knowledge network