Mobile Neighborhood Conversation Cart
Workshop with Laurie Palmer
Saturday, May 26, 2018 | 10:30 – 1pm + 3-5pm
2312 Elgin Street
How can neighbors come together to help each other identify and address shared needs and concerns? One way is to create opportunities for casual conversations in public space. A number of street-based art projects mobilize useful tools or surprising attention-grabbing devices to invite neighbors who may or may not know each other to engage in public conversations. These can start with simple curiosity and often move towards sharing views and ideas about things people care about. The anonymity of the street can get softened, and it can become more of a place for exchange of information and plans, while generating basic neighborliness. In struggles around gentrification, knowing and working together with neighbors is key.
This workshop, led by Laurie Palmer, will begin with a brief check-in about what participants’ concerns are regarding how the neighborhood is changing. What changes are people happy to see, what changes are troubling? We will discuss how public space in the neighborhood is currently used, and how people feel about street-level interactions with neighbors. What do participants think might be their neighbors’ responses to seeing a surprising service or activity wheeled around and offered for free on the street? Some examples of street-based public art projects in different cities that offer the potential to meet and organize neighbors (free mobile haircuts, vegetable carts, oxygen bars, sewing machines, mini-green houses, health care information, etc) will be presented, including the responses they generated in the cities they were in.
Participants will then discuss how such things might work locally and brainstorm ideas for what might be useful and fun to create for Houston’s Third Ward. What would inspire people’s curiosity in the local context here? What would people want to see and/or use? How could such attention-getting devices also get people to talk about things that matter to them?
The workshop will conclude with participants brainstorming logistics to make something happen locally. What would be required? How would one go about getting/finding/making those things? What obstacles can people imagine rising up?
This workshop is presented in partnership with the EEDC.