1. What is Reimagine?
Reimagine is a national campaign that works with communities across Ireland to co-create and co-design solutions to challenges or problems they’ve identified in their locality. It is a new initiative launched by the Irish Architecture Foundation, with funding from Creative Ireland’s National Creativity Fund, building on out 14 years experience of engaging the public with their built environment
2. What does that really mean?
In April we did an Open Call asking communities to come to us with problems we might be able to help them solve, opportunities for change they’ve identified or ways to maximise on great local assets, enhancing good places to make them better. At the end of the day the IAF realises no one more more about what an area needs than the people who live there.
Reimagine aims to help these people create the built environment they want. Through the Reimagine programme the IAF works with these communities to get a deeper understanding of what the issues, potential and assets in an area are, we then work with the people in the area to get ideas of what solutions or actions they would like to see and what would work best for the wider community and we then connect the community with people who have the expertise to make this happen. Essentially we chat about it and then match-make with who can help best!
3. Who do you help?
We are working with 6 towns this years across every province in Ireland from Donegal to Clare and Galway to Dublin! These communities all put in applications through our Open Call process some as town teams, some as individuals and some with the county councils.
4. What kind of problems do they face?
Issues around how to repurpose main streets, how to activate neglected squares and greenways, how to create walking links in a town to avoid traffic congestion, how to create accommodation spaces to capitalise on tourists coming to the region, how to repurpose abandoned buildings in a town for the best purpose of the community, how to create strategies around public realms allowing towns to have more say and ownership, ways to have their voices heard in wider county council development strategies are all common issues that communities are facing but also issues that they are taking the initiative to solve.
5. What does the IAF bring to the party?
Along our 14 years of existence the IAF has cultivated a large network of fantastic people with a wide range of skills and experience from facilitators, architects, planners, engineers, landscape architects, designers and artists. We can connect these people to the towns where their expertise will be invaluable. We also have a long history and understanding of engaging the public in architecture and their own public realm through programmes such as; House Dublin, which allows the public to enter buildings and spaces they wouldn’t usually get the chance to in Dublin; our National Architects in Schools Initiative which connects a teacher an architect and a group of students together to see who they might change something in their surrounding built environment from canteens to gardens; and the Ballyfermot Play, Skate and BMX Park one of the most significant investments in recreational infrastructure in the history of the State, with Dublin City Council committing a €2 million budget to it. Over the past five years we’ve been working with community in Ballyfermot to design a park for what they need this building of this park starts this year with it breaking ground in August.
6. How do I get involved?
Photo Credit: Ste Murray www.ste.ie