Tools and Activities for Dreamlike Neighbourhoods

Learning by doing

One of the groups in Ljubljana chose research/exploratory learning as a way to explore the neighbourhood and learn from each other. In a research project the participants focused on the past, present and future of the Poljane neighbourhood, the area where the Slovenian Third Age University is located. 

The participants consulted archive materials, collected old postcards of the area, searched for audio-visual material and walked through the neighbourhood while discussing the physical and social environment and identifying the most valuable views. 

In their exploratory learning, the Dreamlike Neighbourhood groups followed a number of steps: 

1) They analysed their own interests: They were encouraged to jot down their impressions and write about their personal experience of the area. Members of the research groups, for instance, described what they met on their way to the U3A building (“What interesting things did you notice when coming to university?”). 

2) Their findings were put into thematic clusters. Various combinations of single writings and stories appeared. They were combined in such a way that experience and recollections were connected also to some current spatial thematic. 

3) They collected information and data regarding the selected topics. Single topics were enriched by personal stories of anonymous townspeople recruited through personal social networks (relatives, friends, ex co-workers, neighbours…). Ways of collecting the data were adapted to single respondents: oral interviews or writing their own stories and recollections. Photos were taken of the district and buildings. Recent renovation of the Poljanska street was discussed. Findings were recorded. 

4) Personal stories, put in clusters, binding single topics with formal data. Stories were then studied from different perspectives. By inserting theoretical knowledge and data from professional literature and studies, individual stories became more credible. Members of the groups went to libraries, archives, museums, cultural centres and the national radio and helped each other immensely in searching for literature, etc.

5) Public campaigning: Members of the neighbourhood group contributed to the conceptualisation of an exhibition, wrote a film script (they had to learn how to write one) and shot a film. Participants also participated in a TV film on older people’s flats and accessibility of the public space. Furthermore, they helped each other in preparing a street event. At a round table they discussed their perspectives and findings with students of architecture and architects. (see International street event: Round table, Shaping exhibitions, Shooting videos)