In the project titled “Shape Your City”, students from Pécs were invited to think of ways to make the public spaces of their city more inviting and more livable for young people. The related exhibition presented the ideas of the students through cityscapes depicting public space interventions regarding the locations and everyday issues that matter to them.
As a first step, we organized school activities for the students to prepare them to participate in shaping the public spaces of Pécs in efficient and constructive ways. While playing the ParticiPécs board game, the students could learn about different activity patterns, and test small-scale urban interventions within the safe boundaries of the game. Next, the students could plan a public space intervention in the location of their choice. In the course of the program, in October and November of 2015, we conducted nine sessions in seven different schools.
In the course of the activity sessions, 180 students worked on developing 35 different ideas for public space interventions, of which 15 were presented at the exhibition. The ideas offer a special interpretation of the city as experienced by the local students. They reveal the urban locations most relevant to teenagers, and the problems inherent in them that influence their everyday lives. Analyzing the ideas, we find that the subjective urban experiences as well as the development requests of the students are centered around the following areas: meeting places, green spaces, transportation, social interactions, creativity, communication. The list of ideas can be found on our Facebook page.
From 7 to 14 January, 2016, the 15 best works depicting the ideas of the students were exhibited at the House of Civil Communities in Pécs. The installation was realized with the volunteer help of local architects and graphic designers. Black-and-white photos were used to show the current conditions, and a plexiglass sheet with graphics in color was installed in front of each photo to depict the interventions planned by the students, so that the background photo and the transparent cover sheet with the intervention design added up to show the imagined ideal conditions. The ideas thus represented were judged by a professional jury, and the city residents could also vote for their favorite ideas. The jury members were chief architect Csaba Ders; András Horváth, President of the Chamber of Architects of the South Transdanubian Region; and János Gyergyák, senior lecturer of the University of Pécs Faculty of Engineering and IT, Department of Human Geography and Urban Studies. About 80 people attended the opening ceremony, including students, teachers, university professors, architects, and other interested residents.
The idea judged to be the best by the professional jury, and receiving the most votes, was going to be implemented in the spring of 2016 in collaboration of the students, the kultúrAktív Association, and students of Architecture of the University of Pécs Faculty of Engineering and IT. Considering the superb quality of the ideas, the chief architect proposed that the jury mark seven additional ideas as “suggested for implementation”. The kultúrAktív Association and chief architect Csaba Ders would support the students in realizing these ideas, too.
Activity leaders: Eszter Tóth, Éva Tóthné Pfaff
Game leaders: Renáta Borbás, Réka Borbás, Lili Divéki, János Gyergyák, Anikó Plutzer
Architectural design plans: Renáta Borbás, Réka Borbás
Installation: Péter Zilahi
Text: Eszter Tóth
Photography: Júlia Lili Hegyi
Professional jury: Csaba Ders, János Gyergyák, András Horváth
Location: House of Civil Communities
The “Shape Your City!” program was realized with support from the Municipality of Pécs, in the framework of the „Urban Contest for NGOs 2015″.