Saturday morning big session



Tim -- How can we enable their creative voice in Braddock ' their sense of the potential for creative change. ' for this afternoon?


This morning


1. How do we influence public places and what are the issues?

2. Are there simple evocative ideas we can put on the table for discussion to externalize creative authorship?


What are some key public realm issues in the Mon valley?


1. Aging population ' in Duquesne 70% of the people will die in the next ten years ' the and the flight of youth at the same time ' structure of towns open to complete collapse

2. Feudalistic culture of this culture ' structure of the econ around industry and how politics work here and psychology of individuals

3. The company is no longer the decisionmaker --  first time this true

4. Industrial degradation

5. Race and economic issues ' the way these two are intertwined ' also intertwined with environmental degradation

6. Budget ' city budget collapse

7. Environmental issues'degradation of the land and hazards associated therewith

8. Mon Fayette xpressway

9. Changes in historical non relationship to the river ' or used to have relationship ' don't have know ' want to build/ rebuild

10. Water quality

11. Return of recovery

12. Disparity btw one town flourishing and one falling

13. Scale of the power/ boundaries ' no ability to address regional issues ' each town like small fiefdom

14. Civic imagination ' need it


Stephanie Facilitates Toolbox idea  recap

Aka what are some methodologies which we found to focus around


Yesterday's list:






(missing here)


System View

Visual Rep



How to organize across disciplines


New today


Helen et al Information and research ' the acquiring imparting and thereof ' teaching how to do it and doing it ourselves


Helen Erica - Respect Listening Building trust that way


Christine - Team building ' being collaborative

And makng alliances


Newton it's about Self-organization'takes many forms in application but key way of grouping these ideas together


Jane-- Cheek ' intellectual, radical, bring very carefully such ideas to table but the cheeky idea goes farIn other words --  moxy


Contesting received histories and power structures


Jane --Taking risks, cheeky but is that more fun


Anti-manifesto approach 'nicola ' can't comment on a situation of which you are not a part ' local embedded knowledges are key ' cannot operate without them


Brett -- Oral history collecting is part of the info gathering ' but important enough for own category


Jackie' In other words -- Anecdotal evidence


Putting this list into bigger categories

Opinions on what those categories should be'


Self organization


Information ' Formal and less formal


Newton -- Means are the ends ' if the process is inappropriate then the result is not appropriate different


We are out of time/'..

Break-out session Saturday AM

Studio for Creative Enquiry

10am Robin


Tim :  What we need to do is prepare for this afternoon.  If we nitpick every word, we could fall flat on our faces


Q: What would failure look like? 


Tim: Not presenting anything, not having something to put on the table


Newton: Something clear


We have certain strength between us, we've worked with planners before and it hasn't been what we're looking for.  We have you here to bring something different but we need to come to something clear to present in this session this afternoon. . .


Q:  So, what are we trying to do?


Ask the question 'What would improve your quality of life here''

This may not be effect, not focused


Jackie:  Are we trying to effect public space?


Newton:  defining public space. . . lobby, street, city, whole damn valley


Laurie:  perhaps think not about physical space, but publicness ' 'What do you see as your shared resources'' Could be history, could be environmental quality, could be


Newton: this makes the issue too broad and could negatively affect ability to understand


Tom: yes, pushing this too broad, the whole planet could be considered public space


People understand the physical, try to stay close to that


I think people have a deep understanding of their shared resources


The question is 'what do you want to do''

What do you want to do about it'


Newton: If you ask people what is wrong you bring up people's depression. . . aks them what's wrong and what you want to do about it in the same question


Jon:  Planners ask what's good, what's bad, what do you want to do about it

We should keep this model in mind


Jane:  In London there is always a group of people even if they don't see themselves that way, who are already using any space.  You have to know who these people are, who feels ownership of the space, before you do anything.  Include these people, because they will damage any project that happens there if they are not involved.  Listen observe, be sensitive to that space.  This includes animals, plants.  Include them or the project will be destroyed. Anybody who walks through a space regularly owns that space. 


Mark:  Even people who don't officially have any ownership of the space


Jon:  similar to your project, responded to something that was dropped in public space


Laurie:  what about opening up the view of those who come, is this possible'


Jane: you  must listen as closely as possible.  See what people's fears are


Fears are important, what are the deeper fears when you're only seeing the surface


Newton:  presentation mode ' when everybody recognizes their own voice, this is powerful.  Don't make proposals as 'you should'  we say, if you do this you get A, if you do this you get B


Jane:  goes back to the idea of the means and the ends being the same


Christine:  backing up, how are we going to identify who we are that we're talking to'


Tim: everyone will introduce themselves


Newton:  make a list of everyone who is there and who is not there.  Consider who is NOT here, what would those people bring


Tim: so is this an activity'  Discussing who is not here'


Mark: could do this at the end, after the discussion has progressed a bit, see what is missing, who could be helpful


Question could be 'what are your fears'


These people are not being compensated, what brings them here'  What are they interested in putting in their time'


Mark:  how were we introduced to them'  What are they going to be expecting' 


Tim:  The invite has gone out on an email list.  We have a crew of people who are consistent participants.  Has been sent out in Mon Valley.  We'll do a brief overview with power point of your images.


Newton: this will let them know what we care about most immediately


Tim: maybe, the images may be hard to read


Jon:  going back to questions, could ask 'what do you see as your public space' 


Shared resources question is for later, how do we mobilize':


Jane:  why this area' 


Tim: it's one of the river towns, brownfields needn't be there


Angelo:  Who are the players'  Does the community know that there are DEP and other agencies that could be involved in this conversation


Tom: what do people need to know about Braddock (these people here)


Tim: should we do a brief intro' 


Angelo: it should be repeated on the bus


But who will be there' 


Jon:  mostly outsiders, interested in your work, same as at the lecture probably


Christine:  so what do these people look to get and what do we get from them' 


Jane:  how do we create conditions in which a real exchange takes place.  The who is here who isn't here question is important. . . it's about influence.  You can't influence without setting up a situation for exchange.  But it think we can create that environment


Tim:  I think we will have people who are aware and experience with how these issues work and how to create change.  Sierra Club, etc


So let's have the info about the Mon valley now


Tom:  it's on the Mon River, where turtle creek intersects.  Native Americans settled the area.  First white was Gist.  It's where Braddock lost a battle.  Plaque on a playground where over 100 English were killed. 


Laurie:  will the mills continue'


Tom: probably yes


Laurie: and do the people working there live in the town'


No most live outside the town


Tim: people how make a good wage usually move out to suburbs


The mills don't pay taxes to the town, it' s just outside the boundary


What was the population'


Tim: to give so perspective: it looks like Squirrel Hill boarded up


Laurie: what is the unemployment rate' 


Tom: high, it's cut up by railroad tracks, both above and by the river


Jackie: property prices, are those 15-20K like we talked about last nigh'


Yes this is connected the Mon-Fayette expressway plan, why invest when it's going to be sold' 


A dam separates the town from the river


Jackie: is there any possibility of stopping this'


Tim:  American's have stopped highway building all over the country


Who will benefit from this highway


Developers mainly, developing will be happening outside the city, mostly in Fayette County


Jackie:  Strategies for conversation


Christine: there are people who've been dreaming about this highway, you may alienate them if you come in against it


Jackie: so how do we build momentum without coming in on one side or the other, but start the convo


Tim: GZ has offered an alternative


Jon:  working with sustainability organization, plan is to update existing roads and add a few pieces to reenergize existing communities rather than encouraging sprawl.  We had traffic people do studies which showed that our plan would be more efficient at do what  the MFE was proposed to do.  This stressed them out.  So they reinterpreted our plan to show that it would cost most more, cost more houses etc.  So they presented this to the public and we had to debate with them publicly.  They being Turnpike Authority and others.  They're still working on a final study which will be presented to Govt.  to show it's mitigating environmental impact


Christine:  it's been seen as a way of connecting Mon Valley to the world cause it's been forgotten.  But they don't realize it might not even have exits on the Mon Valley but bypass them to get from Central PA to WV and elsewhere.  But people are becoming more interested in this idea of connectivity and that is the powerful place to work from.


Newton:  so how do you do connect them without the highway' 

               Build quality of life and things will branch out naturally


This is just one issue, we need to think more generally


Jackie:  how Newton starts his projects, ask ' what are the issues that are concerning you here, where do we need to focus'


Jane:  a good question can be 'What is taboo''  this can be tricky, you have to handle it carefully in small groups, but it surfaces hidden or shared knowledge about what should and shouldn't be talked about.  It connects to fears and who is not here.  Don't know if there's enough time to do this today, I think you have to do this very responsibly.


Mark:  we could ask 'what are the coooky crazy ideas, ther really out there ones'  they might not take it to a planner, but they might say them to artists


Tim: they've been asking for a 40ft steelworker, they want public art


Newton: I've never thought of this, what have you found when you ask this'


Jane: in Bulgaria, we were working with people got them to gather.  Asked this and realized it had to do with their Turkish roots and what had happened to Turkish people there, they had had to change their names etc.  And as these things came out one by one, they community realized this commonality.  If you want to change things, you have to know what are the unspoken norms.  It was not practical, but about sharing and trust


Jackie:  In the process of her project which became very intimate over the time period she was working sculpting people's feet, she came to ask more and more challenging questions, had a women scream at her about here outrage at the racial injustice she'd experienced, but the said she sees god in everyone and hugged Jackie


Grant:  What is the potential that will be a troupe of white people tromping into this black community' 


Tim: very possible,  we've encountered this before, I look for your suggestions



Jane:  in England  Black Environment Network, they are actually changing policy.  There are people doing work on this question


25 minutes left


 Newton: we could use a little directions


Jon: we've thrown out 15 or 20 questions, can we clarify these


What is Taboo, what are you afraid of, do we ask these'


Who is not here is important


What's the first question'


Christine:  I think we need to know who is at the table first 'who are you''


Jane: big is question ' tell us about you.  We should ask biggest most general question first ' tell us about you, what comes out and in what order will tell us so much


Newton: How big is here


Jackie:  I think how big is here comes first cause we need to know where we're talking about.  Where/how big is here


Tom:  if it's the audience from lecture the other day, then how big is here is very different than if it's people from Braddock, largere boundry


Tim:  we have to deal with the fact that we're all outsiders


Jane: will we be in two groups


Tim: We can split into 4 groups, we usually define topics for each table and let people choose what conversation to be part of


Angelo: could present a problem if there are more of us than them


Newton: in that case some of us could leave


Tom: is there a ratio we're looking for'


Christine:  we could go find people to bring in from Braddock


Jackie: questions, what is good what is not, what can you do about it, what do you feel that you can't do


Christine:  yes we ask ' where do you need help to do''


Jackie: do we introduce the word change' 


Mark: how do you change here' And how does here change you'


Jane: the question of what do you need help with is important, raise up people's imagingations.  Is there money set up to do something in Braddock.  If not we need to be clear that this is just an exploratory project.


Laurie: this goes back to self-organization.  What we can do is get people to see what they can do on their own.


Tim: we're looking to set up 2 maybe 3 storefront resource sites in the area.  Grant, suggestions about race issue'


Grant: canvas the crowd that comes, what names can you get there' 


Mark:  put out information to try to find people


Jackie: in NY there's an environmental justice group, is there one here, they could be partners


Tim:  I don't know, we've looked into it and our solution is to hire someone


Tom: what organizations are there


Churches, resources' 


Jon: maybe question is what is your network'


This is the first step in establishing that network


Tom: there is an organization doing something about public awareness in Braddock ' I don't know where this came from


Jon: I think UPMC has a site there and they may be doing some community work


Jackie: at some point we should ask about priorities


Mark:  we should ask them to ask us what we should do for them


Tom: we asked the Cree and they said go home and solve your own problems


Tim:  I've been told these communities want to do things, they don't want to talk


Tim and Reiko will be left with this


Mark: we still might be able to help even though we're not present after this ' phone conference etc.  help with how do you get funding, etc so we can maintain that contact even though we're not physically here


Christine: and that connects mon valley to the world


Mark F:  could ask about what's already happening


Tom and Angelo: it's essential to spend time getting ot know the town


Tom:  large houses on the hill seem to be the affluent and then there's the flats


Jon: the train tracks run through the hill


Tim: this is the beginning of a dialogue, if oyou could write us with a critical response to the process, how it could be done better, that would be ideal


Why Braddock'


Tim: we've worked in McKeesport, Homestead, we haven't been in Braddock.  Mon-Fayette Expressway runs through.  It has national park potential.  We need to spend time and build relationships there


Tom: there actually is a taboo here around talking about Braddock.  It's taken the worst impact of decline. 


Tim:  a mantenance person here owns a bar there and has a strong opinion about outsiders coming in.  There's energy building there and we can add to that.


Tom: there is industry there. 


Jackie: are there active churches there'


Tim: yes church knits together these depressed community


Jackie: what do you mean 'the worst' most economically depressed'


Tom: yes, you don't hear about it on the news for shootings and things like that.


Jon: It had been so flourishing at one point, it was such a stark change


Tom: it was also not defined by ethnicity originally


Newton: why choose Braddock in the first place'


Tim: it's a fundamentally troubled community


Newton: you chose based on the challenge


Tom: it's a fertile ground, not many people are trying to work there


Tim: one of the primary things I take from these three days in the idea of the network.  We will have to see if the relationships emerge


Tom: having people from out of town will help us locals see what we're so familiar with that we don't even see.


Angelo:  I think all of this tells us we need to spend more time learning about the town


Tim: questions I would ask: what is the relationship to the river


Jackie:  find a less abstract way to ask about public spaces


Tim: so 'are there any parks'  this is access to the river ' people fish, but they have one of the work sewer drainage


Jackie: not are there parks, but are there places you can envision becoming public spaces


Tim: we're actively looking for storefronts for 3Rivers 2nd Nature to work out of


Christine: that's a seed. . .


Mark: do people eat the fish for food'


Tom: yes they eat it, the warning is 'don't eat fish out of the Mon' but they think it looks ok to me


Tim: there are people out of work and food fishing

We're looking at public space issues I hope to be able to site a lot of storefronts,  We're open to dialogue.  Today isn't about projects, it's about talking amongst ourselves and coming up with a plan for how do we create change. 


Angelo: yes but inspite of all this talk, many people will expect an outcome


Tim: and we do work toward outcomes


Mark: it could resonate after the 3 hours


Yes for us, but we walk away


But for them also


Tim: 3 Rivers 2nd Nature won't walk away


This is important to tell them


Jackie:  we should present  the variety of ways of working: specific sites, performances and events


Mark F: we should present ourselves as outsiders so we're clear.  We're here to help you see and think about creative solutions.


Jane: Cheryl is an example of a meeting like this really taking off


Laurie:  something that isn't immediately perceptible.  How do we get them to make a picture of this thing that isn't immediately acceptable, but that can be worked toward.  There are two modes of working, visionary futures and tangible, achievable goals. 


Newton: variety of approaches


Jane:  Network,


Tim: Mon Valley initiative is the network, they talk to each other but Braddock is the wild card


Jackie: but that sounds like a very official group, what about connecting individuals to individuals


Tim: they have personal connections throughout the valley: friends and families

What are the topics at the tables'


Future visions


Jackie: people want to see change is possible.  It's about time, what is possible in the short term and the long term


What do yo uwant to see 30 years down the line' 


Jane: older people, many people don't talk to them, but this long term vision is important


Tom: many of them might not have much fight left in them


But artists can draw something out




Braddock Town Meeting




Permission to reproduce notes from this meeting has not been obtained by all in attendence