An inclusive city imaginary is a model that allows people to mockup a hypothetical design. This model can be represented in an analog or digital form to create a playful environment where anyone is welcome to build a neighborhood of their imagination, add to one created by others or co-construct one in a group. An imaginary enables people with diverse needs to explore city designs and try various alternatives.
When the analog version is in a portable form, or the digital version is remotely accessible, city imaginaries can also serve as a means of extending the community engagement, reaching out to people where they are and pulling them into an activity that they would have not had an opportunity to participate in otherwise.
To build an inclusive city imaginary, we can combine data from the past, data from unique exemplars, with simulations or modelling that injects imagined or extrapolated data. This way the past does not dictate or bias the future and we can create wholly new experiences.
- With your team create a pool of options that make cities more inclusive and accessible. This pool should include both existing and imaginary options.
- Depending on your team’s skills, resources, and limitations choose a medium for building an analog or digital city imaginary environment.
- Your model doesn’t have to be complex and you can use simple materials and tools to build a playful environment.
- For the analog version, you can simply use a piece of cardboard as the base and have a mix of labeled and unlabeled blocks/legos/cards as elements that could be added to this model. People should be able to draw on the board and add notes/images/objects where they want to build their imaginary.
- For the digital version, you can use a public google draw file, create a canvas, and add several labeled and unlabeled shapes to the canvas. Participants can move items, add more shapes, images, videos, audio files, links to other resources, make comments and have conversations about different variations of their model.
- Introduce your model to different communities and encourage them to contribute to the existing model or build their own model.
- Provide an open and public platform (website, mailing list, social media page, etc.) where they can document their process, share their models, and have conversations about the differences, advantages, disadvantages, opportunities, and limitations.