During the autumn break, Nabolagshager AS collaborated with the participatory building experts Makers’Hub, Oslo Living Lab, and Plakathuset youth, engaged volunteers and H20 a local highschool in central multicultural Oslo as part of the PlaceCity project. The young people were employed as most of them live in the neighborhood and many attend the high school. The goal of the pop-up furniture is to create a more colorful meeting place with and for the local community and to invite the neighborhood to use and thrive in the schoolyard. Youth researchers from Oslo Living Lab identified the need for sitting places, colors, and plants were identified by Oslo Living Lab. Throughout a semester they conducted several quantitative, qualitative, and participatory methods with the help of a mentor.
Youth researchers Zeinab and Tharchanna from Oslo Living Lab with their mentor Clara.
Over the course of five days, the young people and volunteers learned how to use drills, saws, and how to build the pop-up furniture. Makers’Hub designed, facilitated, and supported whenever needed in the building process. During the days the lumber got cut, assembled, and drilled in place and first formed wooden structures.
Then the planks for the sitting modules were added. The schoolyard was filled with laughter, music, the sound of sawing and drilling, and the smell of the delicious Taiwanese lunch by Pá Smaken av Thailand.
The young people and volunteers got to choose the colors for the furniture themselves and carefully painted the six sitting modules that can be arranged in different shapes. The bright and happy colors light up the schoolyard.
On the last day, the young people were instructed by Idil Akdos, Nabolagshager an experienced youth mentor at Oslo Living Lab for gardening and urban agriculture. Idil taught them how to line the integrated planters, design the beds, and plant berry bushes and flowers. The young people got their hands dirty with earth, carefully soaked, planted and watered with the hope for flowers in spring and berries in summer.
The students at Hersleb high school are happily using the furniture during their breaks and have started rearranging the different modules which can easily be moved due to their wheels. One of the local skaters that hangs out in the evenings even did a photoshoot in front of the furniture. The young people participating in the building project felt that they gained practical skills and made new connections they can use in their future.
The project received funding through the Norwegian Research Cuncil's JPI PlaceCity project, the area boost programme (områdeløft) Tøyen and Grønland and Sparbankstiftelsen.
Photo credit: Julie Hrnčířová
Video credit: SimpleFilms.no
Clara J. Reich