Enabling Suburbs is a project developed by Linda Carroli, John Armstrong, Jason Haigh and Chiara Camponeschi. As a group of ‘creatives’ and initiators from various interdisciplinary arts and design backgrounds, we hope to share and talk about some of our concerns for the future of our suburbs and communities. This will require thinking about change in a place-based way focused on Aspley, a middle/outer suburb of Brisbane. Our hope is a suburban community that is willing and able to talk about the future and our contribution is a collected series of resources and tools.
Why Aspley? It’s where we live and operate our respective creative enterprises – we deal with this environment every day and felt that our brand of creative and tactical futuring was warranted in addressing questions of cultural and suburban sustainability. Importantly, the project was intended to have an outward and inclusive approach that solicited wider community participation. Chiara Camponeschi, who has come to prominence through her work The Enabling City, plays a role as a catalyst and in developing our methodology for creative change and for imagining an ‘enabling suburb’.
Importantly, we are informed by The Enabling City as a body of work that intersects with or draws out elements of socially engaged artistic and design practice – intervention, collaboration, social sculpture, relational aesthetics, participatory design, design fictions, redirected practice, situationist practice, site specificity, psychogeography and the like. This work refers to a broad range of place-based creative problem solving strategies which can easily come into dialogue with integrated artistic and design strategies to create a movement of interdisciplinary conversation. We wante to use our creative practices as platforms for multidimensional change.
The project nods to Linda Carroli’s work Changescaping – a writing and research project emerging from her Placing project – which aims to draw out emerging and changing ideas about urban environments with a particular emphasis on the role artists, designers, planners, architects and other urbanists can play as changemakers, or changescapers. In some instances, practice itself requires changing. It also draws on involvement in various design futures undertakings, such as masterclasses addressing redirective practice, design fictions and futuring. Enabling Suburbs is speculative in a way that endeavours to engage audiences in thinking, doing and being towards alternative possible futures. If we can’t or don’t imagine them or challenge ourselves to think beyond what is in the here and now, then we can’t manifest those alternatives. It’s about transition, adaptation, resilience and renewal.
Through this blog, we are encouraging a more thoughtful vision of suburban life and culture, we hope to seed ideas (and maybe even memes) and present tools for change, opportunity and difference in a hopeful, meaningful and life affirming way.
The Enabling Suburbs project will be a platform for:
1. Learning and research
2. Creating alternatives
3. Cultivating resources and tools
4. Communicating and sharing