'Experts bewildered by spate of in-family killings' - this was one article from Helsinki Sonoma few days ago. Since the alarm on world economy crisis last summer, I have also often heard about suicide news related to financial problems from South Korea. If one is physically ill, it is probably easier to find certain treatments and medicines or at least what the problem is. Even tough we could not frequently encounter people who are impaired physically or suffering from certain illness in everyday life, these days there seems to be the number of people who need mental therapy increasing. Especially during winter time, it is said that lots of people are facing winter time depression. At least, during winter, I would feel that my body becomes inactive and passive besides depression. It is usually a winter when I gain weight. Colder weather and long night in Finland could make my body and mind even more react slowly. Although there is no particular area of my body which needs a needle to stimulate the blockage, I sense that the whole body actually needs something to activate ‘Qi’
What about urban places? The same theory could apply to place. Place in winter needs ‘Qi’. Nothing can activate place better than people or users themselves. It is obvious to see less social interaction in public spaces during winter time. Freezing weather and darkness could be most reasons for people to be reluctant to go outside more frequently and socialize. Therefore there are not so much interesting happening outside. Many of squares and parks where people took a rest, had a chat with their friends, admired views or just observed others have become deserted and isolated. Great stairs in front of White Cathedral in Helsinki and Grass in Esplanade Street lost people. Places losing people appear to be deprived of their functions as well. Mostly commercial places and heavy traffic areas are only glittering with lights as tempting consumption.
According to William H.Whyte, one of principal factors making a place work is ‘Triangulation’. By this, he mean that process by which some external stimulus provides a linkage between people and prompts strangers to talk to each other as though they were not. The stimulus can be a physical object, sight or sounds. It could be a musician on the street, interesting sculpture or even a dog having distinguished feature. Street characters make a city more amicable. As Marco also pointed out that a small seed would be growing up and become a significant to change things, I as a designer, would like to use urban acupuncture as an impetus which could touch people and connect people. I would like to suggest a small but gentle gesture which people would share and enjoy.
Some Thoughts on walking on the street (from Kruvi to Hamentie) with Nina
I have not realized that there are many meanings on snow until I walked along Hamentie (from Kruvi to railway station) today. After snow storm now was reshaping the urban fabrics with its physical form. Also it brings both annoyance and delight in Helsinki. There are bunch of snow piling up sides of roads. It changes pedestrian’s walking speed and walking behavior. It is interesting to people’s steps and how they take a walk. How enchanting it is to be the first one stepping on unbroken white snow. Snow transforms urban colors completely. Its white covering urban landscape creates bright and magical mood. For some people it could be perfect toy given from nature. It does not cost anything in order to play with nor needs any energy resource to produce or dispose it. It eventually goes to ‘nothing’ as changing its form until it disappears naturally. How we could manipulate tremendous amount of snow given from nature and play with it?
Sharing from ‘Space’ to ‘Memory’
When being in a certain space with others, we are sharing the space with them. Space is a basic ground which holds all kind of happenings. Yet standing in the same space does not mean that we sense the space in the same way which other does because one tends to interpret the space through its experience and memory. Sometimes one may be curious about other’s opinion. Also it could make a small talk to open the conversation. In film, we can easily find scenes when the characters usually start their conversation by asking the atmosphere about the space where they being or they have been. Therefore, at least space is a subtantial and tangible form which connects people. Sharing the memory from the space could be one way to bridge people each other.