Around the city, joining the dots

I think there’s a coherent narrative to be woven between all of the following, but for now, I offer them to you as a puzzle of jumbled bullet points. Fuller posts on some of them may follow.

1. It’s been a few weeks since my colleagues and I at Orange moved offices from Holbeck to Clarence Dock. I’ve been meaning to share some photos and thoughts on the new locality, ever since I saw Mike Chitty’s blog post and Imran Ali’s interesting response, Ideas for Cities. I know that was February and this in June. I will do so soon. Just call it slow blogging.

2. For Fathers’ Day, we took a family trip on the Leeds sightseeing boat from Granary Wharf to Clarence Dock. For 20 minutes the River Aire was our Canale Grande, only without the gondolas and palazzos. Lots of cities have a river, but I reckon we could do more with ours. If you live in Leeds you should take the boat at least once, just to see the familiar from a different perspective.

3. Kathryn, Tero and I hosted Leeds’ first ever Service Design Drinks at the Midnight Bell on Tuesday. It went even better than we’d hoped. We had a broad range of interests, some fascinating conversations and new connections made, including some people who travelled a long way to take part. We can see there’s more than enough interest for us to move to the next stage with Service Design Thinks, an evening of three talks followed by an open discussion. More on that soon.

4. Mike was one of our service design drinkers. He floated the concept of an Innovation Lab for Leeds: “a process – not a place.  It usually culminates in an intense workshop to allow key thinkers, influencers, technologists and service users to come together to work intensely and constructively on developing a vision for how things could be…” Turns out Imran had already been thinking about this too. Imagining a place to imagine solutions for our city: I guess that’s meta-imagineering.

5. Finally, back in Holbeck on Thursday night Temple Works was more alive than I’ve ever seen it before, with the Sh! Awards, a prize for the region’s most promising design students run by my friends at Brahm. Having been a judge as a series of amazingly confident young designers presented their work in the edgy surroundings of the Temple Works loading bay, I’m sure the best one won. You should check out Matthew Young‘s work now, before you see it everywhere. In particular, watch his D&AD nominated winning video, The City…

So join the dots! Can tell what it is yet? if you can, please let me know.

4 thoughts on “Around the city, joining the dots

  1. Regarding “doing more with the river”, there is a partnership organisation that exists to promote and enhance the waterways in Leeds, including the City Centre, Holbeck and Clarence Dock called Aire Action Leeds. They also organise the Leeds Waterfront Festival, which is on in a couple of weeks time.

    This formal partnership of four statutory bodies replaced “Eye on the Aire” which was a wider partnership of waterside businesses and tenants, local interest groups such as the Ramblers Association, naturalists groups and environmental organisations such as BTCV and Groundwork with Yorkshire Water and the statutory bodies responsible for the river and canals in Leeds – Leeds City Council, British Waterways and Environment Agency. The partnership was instrumental producing the Leeds Waterfront Strategy – which was adopted as supplementary planning guidance in 2002 and revised in 2006.

    The Wyke Beck Way is also a legacy of Eye on the Aire and is an active partnership

    I get the feeling, although I could be wrong, that Aire Action Leeds are not joined into the “place-making” debate around Holbeck and other parts of the River Aire/Aire and Calder Navigation/Leeds and Liverpool Canal watersides. Maybe they should be one of the “dots”?

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