Lumec, through its initiative ‘dARTa’, received funding from the South African Cities Network as part of a call to identify Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) demonstrator projects. The purpose of the funding call is to provide seed funding support to local organisations (public, private or civic) that illustrate diverse creative, grounded initiatives that work with communities towards actualising the outcomes of the IUDF. dARTa is a data and art initiative that brings data geeks and creatives together with the goal of portraying important data in a way that appeals to the public – to touch, hear and feel data that matters. This third instalment of dARTa is titled the ‘dARTa Lightstruck Project’.
The dARTa Lightstruck Project
This project is a collaboration between Lumec, the KZNSA Gallery, and a local creatives, Portia Ncwane, Kenneth Shandu and Steve Jones. The dARTa team proposed a project that seeks to identify the challenges that are being faced by those who either live/work/play or just visit the Glenwood Neighbourhood, and to develop a creative response to a shared challenge. This creative response will allow the team to gain a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the shared challenge being faced, and identify approaches to engage with citizens, the municipality, and other important stakeholders. Ultimately, the outcome of this project is to provide a framework for how government can leverage similar creative approaches to engage with local communities, and do more community-driven planning and development. This is aligned to National Government’s IUDF, and seeks to identify ways to better address the levers of the IUDF: “Empowered Active Communities” and “Effective Urban Governance.”
- The project was initiated by firstly doing 300 surveys across the Glenwood neighbourhood to ask the community what their favourite thing and biggest challenges are.
- Favourite things about the area were the ‘park and natural environment’ (22%), ‘convenient, accessible and walkable’ area (16%), and the ‘people and sense of community’ (13%)
- Biggest challenges were ‘crime, security and safety’ (32%), ‘waste and litter’ (10%) and ‘lack of urban management’ (9%). To explore the data for yourself, follow this link.
- Based on the above, the team decided to address the issue of safety, while simultaneously focusing on the other challenges of waste/litter and urban management.
- Specifically, the team wanted to focus on the lack of lighting in the area due to inadequate urban management and the impact of this on people’s sense of safety.
- In response to these challenges, the team conceptualised a large lighting sculpture that would be installed in Bulwer Park. The park is extremely dark at night given that many lights are not functioning.
- The sculpture was made using reclaimed fibre-optic pipe waste that the team collected from around the Glenwood area, and fitted with LED lights connected to a solar panel.
- The light has been installed at the KZNSA Gallery courtyard during the pilot phase (11 July – 22 August), and thereafter, will be placed in a dark area of the park.
- During the pilot phase, members of the community are encouraged to come view the sculpture, take photos, and engage by either writing on the chalkboard behind the KZNSA or sharing on social media with the hashtag #dartalightstruck.
- On 23rd August , the light will be installed within the Bulwer Park. This will be done to highlight the impact that lighting has on people’s sense of safety. The event will be open to all, and the team will talk a bit more about the project.
We would love more citizens, especially those with planning, data, engagement or creative skills, to input into our process. If you’d like to engage with us, please follow the dARTa Facebook and Instagram pages for updates about the launch event and on-going stakeholder engagement, and/or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information on the first and second installment of dARTa see our blog here.