muf_Amara Roca Iglesias

Amara.–  I’m Amara Roca Iglesias, Spanish, five years and a half in London. Right now I’m working in a studio that’s called Mandala White Architects, making projects of residential housing, cultural buildings, hotels, factories, diverse projects… And I combine it with a research Masters linked to a research group of Architecture of scarce budget resources situation and emergency at the London Metropolitan University. I’ll continue it in my Postgraduate Studies and I’ll start my PhD in September. Previously, I worked in muf for three years.


+ And what’s muf?

A.- muf is an architectural studio. A studio of art and architecture that’s focused on interventions in public spaces with initiatives of citizen participation.


+ What attracts you from it? Having a look at your career, your studies and your previous work at Maf, apart from what you’re raising for your PhD, one can see there’s a very big commitment with local communities, etc. What attracts you from that area of architecture?

A.- I’m attracted to a vision of architecture that’s not only focused on economy but also on people’s experience, on building spaces that foster social participation, education, by understanding that another type of society is possible.


+ From your experience, since you’ve been in the works with muf as well as in Katmandú, where you’ve led a much more personal project, you’ve been working with communities, what are the challenges that you see when it comes to involve the communities in a participative project? I mean, on the one hand, you have the projects of muf which are like an assignment, and on the other hand, you have a personal project where you arrived with an idea about the community.

A.- Well, in the projects of muf, there was always a public body that was interested in involving the neighbours, but let’s say from the studio we always reformulated the assignments and the description of the project, so we arrived, started the works, not from what the client wanted, but we developed our own brief. The process of doing that was because we started, well, we understood that the client, since it’s a public authority and has specific deadlines, not always knew what the neighbourhood needed, or it’s not in the position of being able or having time enough to know what the neighbourhood needs. Then, what we tried to do for one , two months at the beginning of the project ,was to spend a lot of time in the neighbourhood, talk to as many people, local agents as possible to try to see what the neighbours wanted, what that public authority wanted and try not to establish an engagement solution. We see it as architects and urbanists and we identified where the needs were and from that moment on, we went back to the public authority with a proposal of this is what we think the project should be and then, we start the conversation.


+ With the public authority and the people who hired them, they not only received the execution of an assignment, but you have a more critical vision of the assignment given and with that criticism they went back to the community, to the administration, so that they gave you feedback of what you are giving back.

A.- Yes, and we tried to support that proposal. It was not only supporting, but spending time at the neighbourhood, talking to the different local agents, finding out their wishes. […] how that could be transformed into an architectural proposal, go to the public administration and present them that as «this is the proposal the neighbours want and how it could be done». Although in theory that might seem pretty simple and that everyone would be happy, that doesn’t happen because the public administration has hired you to make a project and you’re saying what you don’t want to do.


+ What agents do you contact? I mean, you’re talking about contacting the population I guess at different levels. Is it done door to door, flyers, social networks, contacting neighbour leaders who talk to the rest? How do you set it out?

A.- It depends first on the project. In a project of street activation where the proposal is an attempt to reactivate the local commerce, and gather the shopkeepers, the local artisans. What you do is talking to all the shopkeepers and try to go to studios and cultural institutions, you do a bit of previous mapping. First , you  do a previous mapping of public spaces and cultural institutions, educational institutions like schools, dance classes…cultural institutions like libraries, museums (public and private), but what you consider cultural institutions, public space and you do it using the internet and then, when you go to the place, you visit each of those points.


+ Why cultural?

A.- Cultural because in the reactivation of a neighbourhood or an area, the cultural agents are at first who could be more interested in the neighbourhoood will be reactivated, and have power to collaborate and get some benefit, because, if more people go to the neighbourhood, more people will visit their centres. It’s not a direct economic benefit, but a mutual interest.


+ And why not educational?

A.- Educational too, both.


+ Would you include art as well?

A.- Yes, we would add include some examples of local business. I mean, we included chain stores, because if it comes to improvement processes of a local neighbourhood, of the high street, we added Starbucks, Tesco and we don’t talk about that at first. However, if there were local business like neighbourhood café or a bookshop, we wouldn’t do that because we understand they’d be at risk.


+ So you had an objective, as a studio. I guess that it was aimed at reinforcing the local networks over other chains or of a more general interest, that is, to reinforce the local to start building the neighbourhood.

A.- Yes, and to often try to talk to local people with small business who already knew each other, and they are people who have an interest in the neighborhood because they’re from there and their neighbors are there, but at the same time, they also have an interest, as individuals, of making the place where they work a better place, a public space.


+ What you mentioned before, that it wasn’t only about making a profit, but they had further objectives.

A.- And they are the people who are going to facilitate the process, the ones who are going to take care of it once we (the architects) leave or the city hall changes. So, it’s necessary to establish informal hierarchies to try to make groups that get strong while we’re there, but also continue their own path when we disappear.


+ On the one hand, what are the roles, since you talked about hierarchies, what are those hierarchies or trust circles, or work circles?

 How have you identified those hierarchies to see how they worked and then, what is the process of delegating responsibilities for you and fading in the process like?

 And with regards to the identity topic, I liked it when you said that in the neighbourhood, the project could be done as theirs, and defend it from likely changes. I see it directly related to identifying or taking charge of the process, so summing up, on the one hand hierarchies, roles and circles and I’ll repeat the rest later.

A.- Well, regarding the hierarchy, I’m going to talk about a specific project, when we received an assignment. It was from the GLA, but it was for a specific city hall, and that city hall had set the funding proposal together with the cultural centre of the neighbourhood, which was a private cultural centre with public access. There was a café with large spaces for children, for women and there also were dance and singing lessons for teenagers, so those were the clients besides the city hall. However, when the funding was set, the clients were the art centre and the city hall altogether. When we arrived, the city hall and the centre didn’t talk but we were interested in keeping that connection with the art centre, so we told them before that they were going to advertise the events, be the organizers… Well, trying not to use the project funding for organizing vents, but using what they could offer as a way of giving visibility, to incorporate that in the events that we would later organize. Later on, there was also a group of local merchants who were going to constitute as a group, and another part parallel the funding was addressed to a person with knowledge to carry out this process. Then […] that was the group we had to present our proposals and they had to accept. Before getting in the process, I was a spy and I simply talked to the mothers who were with the children at the café, I went to the art centre, I talked to the café manager to see what the people in the neighbour had said but in an anonymous way. I didn’t say who I worked for, I always said I was a student.


+ So we could say, on the one hand, you had an official mapping where you tried to find those hierarchies, those stakeholders and those queries in an official way, and on the other hand, an unofficial or informal mapping where you want to understand the warming: how, where it is or what feelings the community has.

A.- Yes, because apart from that, there was some tension among them. So part of going incognito was that I discovered positive things of the neighborhood and that people valued although the city hall didn’t mention them, because they were something not […]. On the other hand, to see what those tensions were might make the project more complicated for example the fact that art centre and the city hall didn’t talk […] you see yourself in a middle position and nobody is happy but you have to keep on working.


+ One more question is how to articulate the contact network and the partners, which is the process you talked about in the meetings, I mean, how do you establish a hierarchy among those partners? Do you have the city hall on one side, the cultural centre on another, then the merchants, on another, the ordinary people, and I guess you have your own advisors, etc. How do you articulate a work team with those elements?

A.- Well, it wasn’t easy, and in fact, a lot of things ended up separated. The main goal was to improve the high street where the art centre was, and that main street was a wind tunnel, always in the shade, because the art centre was very difficult and tall, and there had been some reforms of pavement. We believed that it wasn’t worthy to invest £400,000 on that street, whereas 2 minutes away there was a parallel street which was a pedestrian street but full of empty ground floor buildings associated to it. Then, we understood that instead of putting so much money on a public space that didn’t have ideal conditions, we could use part of that money on bringing back that local inner gallery and do something with the street of the cultural centre and spend less money. So what happened?

That wasn’t in the plan, and besides, that building belonged to a private agent, so what we suggested the city hall was to use part of that money on a strategy that was going to be temporary, but we thought it could really bring the local trade back […]. Let’s say in the end the final result of the project was a mixture of different interests […].


+ In a pragmatic level, what were your meetings like? I mean, for example, a weekly meeting with the administration, a monthly meeting with the merchants, a daily inner meeting? How did you proceed?

A.- We had a monthly meeting with the city hall, then the neighbors group had a meeting every 15 days, but the person who was in charge was external and he formed a group of local agents to reactivate the economy or the local trade, apart from giving them power as a group. He spent a long time in the street, every week, then the funding was achieved parallel to the improvements in the public space, but it was carried out by a different person. At the beginning of the process I had a lot of meetings with that person. We paid a lot of visits to the place.


+ Those meetings were for you to understand or to do a training for that person, or for both.

A.- Those meetings were to understand how we could work together. They needed us, as architects to do to be incorporated in the package, to speak. For example, they needed a graphic identity to start communicating. Then, we had a person who wasn’t from the studio, but we always worked on graphic themes, so we got them in contact so that what was done at the beginning remained as a logo.


+ Then, you guys tried to detect the necessities and join it as a tool, to satisfy the necessities, while creating trust ties that allowed you to later develop the project, to have common affinities and that coordination or translation labor they need for the project was done by you. This person you met with quite often was useful to detect the necessities or indicators for your project also so add up energies for something they needed.

A.- Yes, and it was also useful because what we really needed was plenty of time. At the beginning, it was a very complex process, the group of merchants had immediate necessities, the city hall as well, we needed some time tor trying to understand what the necessities were and how we could help, therefore all those meetings were useful for us to find out what the person who was forming the group of merchants visualized and he could understand what we wished to do, and how that could contribute. They talked about organizing a market on Saturdays and we said: “well, the place where the market is now is a parking lot during the week, and one morning a week it turned into a market ” […] But our strategy at the neighborhood level was to try to make spaces for the children there with the objective, not just parks, but to create moments in which a child could play or a person could read […] That way, we aimed the market not to be just a sale point but a walking place, where people don’t go to buy anything, but just because it has a pleasant atmosphere and it’s welcoming to stay. It’s not a parking lot transformed into a market. And for example, the library, nobody went there. There was a parking lot outside the library. At the beginning the library wasn’t even in the proposal but a local library is always going to be there, even if the art centre might go, because for the neighbours, the library is local and public so the attendance to a public library should be enhanced and also, we tried make the entrance a more pleasant place, which wasn’t at first.


+ I think it’s a smart way of being able to add acts to this process and to work complexity from complexity, instead of avoiding it by simplifying the decisions but the other way around: making more complex decisions to be able to work with the reality and on the other hand, to extend the field of action because in a context like the neighbourhood, if you are trying to transform it, you must play in different places.

And about the maintenance, when you guys leave, how does it remain? Which strategy did you follow to carry it out?

A.- Well, the strategy was, for example in the gallery, we established what was going to happen with those shops, I mean, who was going to be in charge of having those empty shops. One of the shops was going to be for the group of merchants and the idea was that we’d help them to find a program for the first year and then, they’d be able to continue it. It was a bit thinking what was going to happen once we left, but in this case, it got complicated because the city hall wanted a final photo at the end of the finished street and our proposal was more about moments, back then there wasn’t so many «final photo» of the neighborhood has changed this way. This has a good point because you distribute the budget to the maximum, a little in each place. The idea for us was that it wasn’t a finished project, but the beginning and in the following years they got more funding and they could plant more trees in the street. It was like planting a seed and it could grow later, but the process was very difficult.


+ And talking about the process: How should the ideal spaces be to make the transmission and people can do that maintenance? What parameters and which partners would you need in an ideal process?

And what would be the minimum parameters for which working makes no sense?

A.- I think long term funding would be important, because otherwise what ends up happening is that at the beginning everyone is very enthusiastic, but when hard times come and coordinating and following is very complicated, it’s difficult that people continue if there isn’t funding to guarantee the continuation, at least a minimum. For example, if you start a project and you know there’ll be x shops that are going to be empty and you have to fill in, you want to have a budget for at least being able to organize a Christmas market to hand out flyers, so as not to miss what this space is for and the kind of initiatives we want.

The budget is one thing, and there must be a professional that doesn’t have a direct interest with the space or the establishment, because if not, it’s very hard because that person can be local, a strategist and doesn’t look for their own benefit. This person would be a cultural agent, and they should be connected to the local agents who do have a direct interest in the neighbourhood, but that difference should be done somehow.


+ What roles are essential in the process? You guys are mainly architects, did you miss anthropologists, sociologists, educators, street workers? Do you think there are elements that you should assimilate in these processes, either because you already have them or because they were needed?

A.- I think educators would be very important, maybe during the process thinking about the future. If we want citizens to get involved in their neighborhoods and participate from the architecture, politics or sociology viewpoints, somebody has to teach us to do so because right now participative processes arise from a group of architects or artists who want to do things in a different way, or they may arise from the cultural world, but there is still a lot of uncertainty […] and I think if we keep going in that direction, the role of educators is very important. Even during the process, it would have been great since there was no one. We tried to keep the contact with the city hall, with the merchants, with the art centre on our own will, because we understood that the project would improve if everything was together, but at the end, there was a moment we had to separate from all that and once we knew what the project was about, we focused on that part and I think there was a big loss for the project and for the merchants group. The problem was that from the beginning it was very difficult to make clear the role of each one, let’s say that their task what to get organized as a merchant’s association, not to decide how the public money was going to be spent. Our mentality was «this is public money and we don’t want to spend it as the city hall says, we want to see the necessities of the neighborhood». But it was very hard to say: «no, you’re not going to say what to do with this public money, you can influence the decision but no to decide». They told us how to spend that money and none of those proposals was architectonic, since it consisted of changing a parking system, so an educator was needed over there.


+ Well, to have the objectives, responsibilities and right clear from the beginning of each one conforming the cluster, this kind of meeting even if it’s not all at the same time but having you guys as hinge, and then to have the responsibilities and the objectives clear each one. On the other hand, I’m very interested in the figure of the educator. I was thinking that a person who’s able to transmit or educate the rest was missing, some type of a more modern educator who’s able to transmit a new model, so I’m interested in the educator from that aspect.

A.- Well, somebody who understands all parts, their functions, interests and objectives and their modus operandi, because the way a merchants association works is different from architects, or from the city hall. I think that after a long time working together or parallel, some agents are able to understand how the others work, but that knowledge arrives when the project is almost over.


+ Let’s talk about the role of coordinator, facilitator. What profile do you think is the most suitable?

A.- It’s hard to imagine where that person would come from.


+ According to what you were defining, that was your task. I’m not saying it’s your duty but as you were telling the process, I have the feeling you guys are doing it in an altruistic or practical way or unaware.

A.- Well, yes and no, but when one starts for example there ought to be some confrontation. And we have an interest, so when I say there must be someone who understands both things are that time in architecture is slow. What we did, which was planting a seed and wait until it grew as a long-term strategy, which consisted of laying the foundations of what the neighbourhoood would become if the rest got to happen. We, as architects, are going to plant three trees in the street, but the idea is that in the future the street is going to be full of trees because the neighbors will say there might not be enough money, we have already had funding. However, someone who knows about the process would say that when they leave, you are already formed as a group. You are going to have “x” projects and when you go ask for funding, you are going to get attention, you already have the contact of them who can help you and doesn’t have an interest.


+ As you were describing it, it’s like a lesson: when they leave, you are going to be able to do this per what you have experienced with them, this is what you can keep for facing later these necessities.

A.- Yes, and apart from that, we don’t have the knowledge or foresee how that structure is going to work because they discuss other topics like rent, trade, marketing…but they also have an interest in the business that is parallel the improvement of the public space, since the more attractive a street is, the better for the commerce. In some other things, it’s not that parallel. Then, that person must be able to understand two viewpoints because if not, we would have to justify each decision we make.


+ And they justified in the directions of the merchants as towards the administration.

A.- And at the end it ended up as a battle project: We had to go to the administration which was already against us because we have delayed it, because we didn’t want to do what they had requested, and in some parts they were right. However, we also know that we were given that project because those who gave part of the funding wanted someone capable of re-planning what they had proposed and we knew that and the city hall as well, but the city hall didn’t remember that. In the end, it turned into we had to justify how we were going to spend the money. That happens for saying how much stuff costs.


+ I was going to ask you about that. What degree of transparency is there for this type of process? To what point is transparency necessary or to what point is it a problem?

A.- I think transparency is positive and it’s good that people know how much things cost and even in a process where you have more time and a budget, you’re able to establish three design options and say how much each one would cost. For that, you need to have time […] and at least when you work for the public administration, there’s a person called «Quantity Surveyor» who sets a price to what you’re designing when they are still sketches. Therefore, it’s good people know how much things are if it’s well explained that money isn’t can’t be invested on anything else.


+ So, there’s a profile we haven’t talked: the person who’s able to communicate, the educator. I understand educator as someone who teaches, but an educator is also able to have people understand where the process is going by.

A.- The educator teaches different parts, the forms, and let people know what the other parts are working on, and at the same time, fosters the dialogue, be a moderator and a facilitator; he would be that missing figure.

But a superman or a superwoman whose role is not going to design, to be active in commerce, nor to worry about the budget, that is, just someone who must understand the project and explain it.


+ Among the profiles in the neighbourhood you worked, I guess there were elderly people, unemployed people, merchants, children, young people, and immigrants. The process of working with each of them is particular or do you try a call by filters? How are those numerous and mixed realties that make up a neighbourhood understood?

A.- Well, we studied the neighborhood in which we made an area mapping, but our objective wasn’t that everyone participated in the process, but to upgrade the public space in which the majority felt happy.


+ And how did you detect that majority?

A.- The group of merchants had a voice in the neighborhood, but then we detected that young people had more potential to get hooked to this project and then, they were the ones who went to class to the art centre and there were also a couple of academies as well.

In this case, what you offer is what they’d like to happen, what’s more, what are the problems in the neighbourhood or what you would like to have in the public space that you don’t have now and at the end it was that there weren’t few pleasant places to sit down because everything is surrounded by cars. It wasn’t a project limited to inclusion. It was rather an attempt to upgrade the neighbourhood, but the conversations weren’t very deep. It was always the same thing: young people complained they didn’t have a space to sit with their mates and talk, elderly people complained there weren’t any benches in the street.


+ I have the feeling you guys detected very quickly there was a street likely to be transformed to have commerce and the effort later of detecting communities and investing time on partners was more addressed to that first necessity.

A.- The necessity of reactivating that street was because historically it had been working as a gallery with businesses. There were still four shops that had survived.

All the things requested in the programme could be done in those spaces with the advantage that the space was covered.


+ So to sum up, you guys have a briefing that is adapted to a different space from what you had thought of. At the same time, you study a global feeling that you can add up or not, but you have a priority and it’s the briefing you have been and as an extra, you want to add all the necessities that you detect throughout those conversations in the different statements.

A.- Yes, we used all those informal conversations as validity to change the briefing, to be able to legitimate us with respect to the administration.

Our objective, rather than the participation was to try to carry out the best project as possible for that neighbourhood, and to use what people told us.


+ As some kind of legitimation, it’s not that they participate in the design with you, but throughout that informal survey, the legitimacy of a series of decisions.

A.- The questions aren’t directed, but the fact that one of the first days I were in that covered pedestrian space and I talked to the people over there and I asked: «What do you think of this space»? And everybody said that it was disgusting and it could be much more beautiful… And «what do you think that all those shops are closed»? So, you are directing a little but then other things come up that you didn’t know, people mention them and you can see the chances.


+ That is, you need to be able of incorporating the unexpected, what comes up from informal conversations, and then, if you have creativity and listening skills, you can add more agents and give more complexity to the process.

A.- We tried to keep only what we could actually do from all the conversations we had. That’s quite difficult because you listen to many complaints that affect the public space, but you can’t go any further. […]


+ You’ve had a professional career in a studio that has been working for many years and a long way in process similar to this and others in a big scale with capacity for influencing at a great level, but then, you are carrying your own individual research but with fewer resources and with previous experience.

So, carrying this out to the project, for example Katmandu, where you basically did the same thing but a smaller scale, you did a similar process but more incipient and with fewer resources.

A.- Yes, the project in Katmandu, part of the research group proposes informal settings in Katmandu as place for the project, I’m going there without knowing anything about the place, the people or the conditions, and I spend two weeks in informal settlements, talking to people, measuring.

The first trip was about mapping and departing from those places don’t even have a map, so I started doing a Google Earth map and then, I went there, I walked in the streets, I saw where the houses were, or the school, where people meet and then you understand that complex structure as informal settlement.

From that experience, I develop my own briefing. One of the things that attracted my attention was the informal settlement, is that despite being a very dry place and with very precarious dwellings, there’s a lot of green, trees, crops wherever they can be.

Then, after reading, I found out that Katmandu grew a lot with little planning, since there’s was a food security problem because the residential area had eaten up all the crops space and they had to import food from India. Thus, in that case my proposal was aimed at what I saw in my experience combined with literature and when I get there and I present my proposal based on the sketches I did from the informal settlement.

I met there a woman from an NGO of women in informal settlements. What first surprises them from the proposals is they are very real and they can be applied at that moment. It was trying to understand to put your abilities of architect to the service of your necessities and at the same time, it’s not a fixed design. I call it «provocation». It’s more than a provocation that is useful to expose them. It’s something very visual that they obviously understand although many times there’s a communication problem, therefore, it’s a trial and error game.

I did a sketch and they said: «we want to build it, how do we make it? » and I said: «I don’t know, because this is just a sketch». So, I went to crop with some teens I had met in another settlement. I went rice cropping.

I knew those kids because I was doing research with participative drawing. It consisted of exploring some areas where I could collect information to do a project at an urban scale and I drew, for example, some spinach growing in the street and from there, some people came to see what I was drawing and to chat with me, so that wasn’t as intimidating as an interview because I’m there sitting and having a good time. If people come talk to you is because they want to, and from that, I directed the conversation towards urban agriculture and I invited them to draw as well […] and my drawing became a drawing where children wrote the name of the vegetables, some others colored and others told me stories.

With those kids, I got to go over all their village. […]

When the women of the informal settlement said, they wanted to build flowerpot stands, I contacted those kids and I asked them if they could help me build a flowerpot stand with bamboo. I didn’t know how to work with bamboo, and they had never used it to build a flowerpot stand, so that process with the kids was about sitting and drawing again.

We made two in which we tried to put the bamboo wood in different ways. It wasn’t a prototype designed by me but something we designed while we built and when we finished, we sat down, we looked at each other and we said, if we had to do it again, how we would do it? Based on that, I designed a manual and the flowerpot stand we built in the settlement was based on that manual, which was like an ice-breaker, I mean, if you follow this, it’s going to be built, but if you add some variations, as well. I think you must be open when you design and the means not only have to allow improvisation but even cause it, because it’s the only way that you can really give them a voice.

I noticed that with the kids, the relationship was more of cooperation, of really designing and building the informal settlement together. I had the technician and they offered themselves to build, but it wasn’t really like that, because they knew more about building with bamboo than me. So, al the beginning the relationship was stricter and there’s a huge language barrier, but at the end, either you win trust or it breaks. […]


+ Sure, they aren’t innovative in a city where you have vertical parameters but don’t have land in extension, but in places where there’s land in extension is given for granted, suddenly thinking in vertical changes radically. I believe there’s a part of innovation which isn’t inventing an idea from scratch but to link an idea with a necessity in a different place.

I’m very interested in what you’ve mentioned because one the many questions I wondered was identity, how the users identify themselves with the project. If you arrive with the design, how they make it to appropriate the design and finally conquer it and not treat it as something imposed by the wise guy.

What are the challenges after all those experiences -individual and collective-, from muf, they have a personality and you are in a structure that imposes you their model to the moment you decide to incorporate your own model, adding the drawing, the listening, the unexpected? What are the challenges in this activation model? Not from an architecture viewpoint, but as a tool so that a community can solve their own necessities.

A.- There is a lot of challenges: First, why I do it, then, why they do it, why we are following this pattern.

From my point of view, trying to do architecture is a necessity in another way, but not transforming it in a stand, but something I believe in: people can design how they want their house, their garden or their neighbourhood to be like.

I think challenges are big because of the structures and the world isn’t going there. There are some people who regard participation and social activation as the future. However, there are lots of determinants such as funding, project timing, results, measure parameters, how you can measure if something is successful or not, evaluation indicators. That’s a challenge.


+ And the previous evaluation? I mean, in the new visit, see what has happened to the new flowerpot stands.

A.- The previous evaluation is the other objective of the trip. I think in that sense that’s not going to be a happy ending story, because when we built the flowerpot stands, the NGO decided to buy material for three and I told them it was better to start with just one. Anyway, they bought the material for three and at the end the NGO directors weren’t present in the process because they were very busy with other things. The garden was built by people from the settlement, and the last day we had an argument in which they said we had to decide well where we would place the flowerpot stand, because it we put in the school playground, the children could see how it was made and go home and build it. They could also be painted because they’d look more beautiful. So, these arguments make you think that they can be multiplied and next time, there could be more than one. Nevertheless, I’ve been trying to contact them to see how it’s going and I haven’t had an answer, so let’s see…


+ The important thing is the why more than the result, to wonder the reason for that result.

A.- Yes, that’s clear. My wish is to find a local partner, since this example was great because it arose from what I read about this institution on the newspaper, because they were requesting more rights for the inhabitants of the settlement. Then, I got in contact with them […].


+ I talked in other interviews about the fact of having a specific answer to a problem helped people to see it quickly and to want to carry it out. On the other hand, it made people understand the proposal wasn’t theirs. With the same speed, they supported it and saw when the process took a long time and it needed a more personal energy to keep it, they dropped out because they couldn’t make it theirs.

A.- This is not a project but a mini project. The idea was if it was repeated, it could get to generate a collective identity about that, but it’s quite individual.

There are two main problems. One is that people don’t have access or own the houses where they live, so there’s little space, but I thought it was one of the reasons why the masters wouldn’t work.

Another problem I’m concerned about is the continuity. […] who’s going to be in charge of following the steps of the manual or doing the technical tasks that I carried out the first two days, or to know if they are necessary or not.


+ After talking to you, we can understand how you dismissed the flowerpot stands and thought at a greater scale as a kind of prototype or micro-intervention that allowed to test a model to carry out to another space, I mean, to land with a specific solution to see how introduce yourself in the community, see how they react and then, carry out that project which is more participative for everyone. This might be a possible methodology of introducing into a community throughout micro-interventions that allow you later to know the environment.

A.- Yes and no, first because I arrived into the conclusion that the flowerpot stands could scale and instead of a vertical flowerpot stand you place at then in front the façade of your house, it could become the «skin» of the façade, where there are only holes for the door and the windows, and then it could be more productive. I did see a real necessity and independently what happens in that community with the flowerpot stand, doing something small helped me to discover a lot of things, also at a constructive level, but seeing the necessity is there and the project is well received, it could turn into something bigger. […]


+ Thank you very much and my pleasure.

And let me tell you have a double profile of people who have done it and of people who’re studying, because you the readings of your activities are very useful, they transmit some knowledge. On the other hand, there are people who only do and tell you how to be done, but then you must get the knowledge from there. There are some people who don’t do but watch, thus, their view is more focused on their remarks. People who have a double vision is not common and it’s very enriching.