06-26-18

City of Dreams: Cleveland by Saurav Dhakal

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The Cleveland Council on World Affairs partnered with the U.S. Department of State to host a group of four professional Fellows from India, Pakistan, and Nepal through the program “Professional Fellows Program for Governance and Society.” While in Cleveland, the cohort was embedded within various nonprofit organizations and government entities as professional fellows eager to engage in cultural exchange, learn from their hosts, and provide a value-add to their organization or agency. Kent State’s CUDC was selected to host Saurav Dhakal, Founder of StoryCycle.com, a Nepal-based social venture. Saurav came to gain insights from the CUDC’s Making Our Own Space (MOOS) youth program. Following their stay in Cleveland, the group returned home to complete a “follow-on project” related to their fellowship.

The CUDC was honored to work closely with Saurav Dhakal during his stay. This is his Cleveland story…

When I landed in Cleveland during the 1st week of May 2018, the weather really surprised me. I had borrowed one warm coat thinking that it would be very cold but I had to buy a new umbrella due to the rain. The city is located on the southern shore of Lake Erie and the wind determines what the weather will be like in the city. I enjoyed my three weeks’ stay in Cleveland—walkable and cycle friendly.

IMG_20180520_200705Sunset from Cleveland’s North Coast Harbor.

I run a social venture, StoryCycle, in Nepal where I tell stories and map the stories of people, places, and products. I travel to promote different parts of the country. I also organize StoryCamps where we train young people on “how to collect stories and promote them on the internet”.  

IMG_20180521_091636Tree canopy provides a shaded path along Prospect Avenue from the hotel to the CUDC offices in downtown Cleveland.

StoryCycle collaborated with Google in late 2014 and organised Everest Story Camp to conduct a mapping project in the Everest region using 360 degree imagery.

While we were traveling to show the Google Maps Project to locals in April 2015, there was a big earthquake and we couldn’t move ahead. It took me six days to get back to my family. Everyone suffered due to the earthquake and I suffered, too.

After a few months, StoryCycle started a new campaign, “Build Your Own Place,” to support the rebuilding process. It served users with an online platform to understand, train, and participate in the rebuilding process at the earthquake affected areas.

It provided the people from the earthquake affected areas a place to put their stories along with the communities’ dreams. Besides, it helped the supporters to pick and support the projects they were interested in. The platform enabled people to meet their prospective investors.

Screen Shot 2018-06-24 at 11.00.31 PMScreenshot of the “Build Your Own Place” page on the www.storycycle.com website.

After the earthquake, we had political changes. We ratified a new constitution and a new federal structure. Now all national, provincial, and local level elections have been completed and we have a central government: 7 provincial and 753 local units (Municipality and Rural Municipality). It means we have 753 new cities but we don’t have appropriate youth friendly infrastructure and services. So, based on the learning of “Build Your Own Place” we are working on a new campaign/idea “Our Dream City”. The campaign aims to focus on empowering local youth and community institutions to take active part in designing and making their places vibrant by using technology. The campaign focuses on nurturing /attracting and retaining talent, expanding economic opportunities, and creating a robust culture of civic engagement.

saurav at la villa moosSaurav teaches MOOS students at La Villa Hispana how to document environmental features with photographs and GPS coordinates.

This working idea led me to Cleveland, Ohio, USA as a part of the Legislative Fellows Program via World Learning and Cleveland Council on World Affairs. I was placed at Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, where I followed one of their interesting programs, Making Our Own Space (MOOS), which “empowers youth with the skills to creatively transform their neighborhood public spaces. Through hands-on outdoor workshops, students design and construct environments and playscapes that are appealing and usable to their community.”

IMG_20180523_174037Discussing photographs during the Making Our Own Space workshop in Cleveland’s La Villa Hispana.

I had the chance to participate in a few workshops and work with youth participants of MOOS in Shaker Heights and La Villa Hispana. I liked the idea that young minds are designing and building projects that are really interesting. And the good part of this program is there are stories of youth—they produce a podcast about their life and city—Making Our Own Stories.

I also got a chance to revisit my idea and action plan. I am going to develop a crowdsourcing platform to collect stories, data, and map points from different cities. And facilitate/collaborate with different partners to design sustainable, livable, and smart place/cities by organizing Map Up Camps, Dream Camps, Story Camps, and Build Camps. This four series of camps is a mix of learning from MOOS. I have tried to customize it to our context and need.

I realize the ideas and thoughts of young people are the same everywhere. They love dreaming and imagination. Youth are dynamic and full of new ideas. We just need to give them space to explore and expand it.

Cleveland also gave me more ideas on locally grown food, drinks, and dreams.

If you would like to know more about my work, visit our website.

Saurav Dhakal
Founder, StoryCycle

 

06-01-17

CUDC Wins 2017 EDRA Great Places Award for Making Our Own Space (MOOS)

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Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative is honored to receive the 2017 Great Places Award in the Planning category from the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA).

The EDRA Great Places Awards recognize professional and scholarly excellence in environmental design and pay special attention to the relationship between physical form of the built environment and human activity or experience. The Great Places Planning Award specifically recognizes the CUDC’s Making Our Own Space (MOOS) initiative, a youth program focused on engaging and empowering middle and high school students with the skills to transform their neighborhood public spaces.

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MOOS is led by CUDC staff in close partnership with a team of local and nationally-renowned designers. Focused on outdoor spaces owned by Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP) and the City of Shaker Heights, Ohio, this initiative uses hands-on, on-site workshops to build physical and social infrastructure in collaboration with the surrounding community. Outdoor workshops organized by students addressed issues related to shared spaces, inclusive decision-making and helping to bring diversity to the design fields by involving youth from underrepresented groups. In response to the project, the City of Shaker Heights created a committee of staff, residents and councilpersons to increase leadership opportunities for middle and high school youth. The Shaker School District is exploring how to incorporate the MOOS placemaking workshop into its curriculum. The EDRA Award jury stated, “This is a great example of planning that involves youth in place making and community building.”

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Started in 2015 by Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC), the program supports the CUDC’s Design Diversity initiative by raising awareness in African American and Latino communities about the range of design careers available to youth. MOOS workshops expose students to design thinking and making, employing interdisciplinary approaches from architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, planning, and graphic design.

Making Our Own Space is made possible through the generous support of the Saint Luke’s Foundation, The City of Shaker Heights, and the Cleveland Foundation’s Minority Arts & Education Fund.

Follow us at: wearemoos.org
Instagram: @wearemoos
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12-08-16

Helen Liggett’s MOOS photographs on display now through Jan 2 at The Dealership

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Helen Liggett’s documentation of the Summer 2016 activities of students and planners participating in Making Our Own Space at Britt Oval in the Buckeye neighborhood and in the Moreland neighborhood in Shaker will be on display at The Dealership, 3558 Lee Road in Shaker Heights, Monday-Friday, 9AM-5PM, until January 2nd.

The exhibit follows middle school and high school students as they transform ideas about improving their neighborhoods into physical structures.

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The images are arranged in sequences that “tell a story” about particular activities or projects. The Buckeye sequences tend to be about MOOS skills in general. The Moreland sequences tend to be about designing and executing special projects, reflecting the greater maturity of this group. Viewers are encouraged to see the spatial or ordination and communication that building requires. In the end, the art of building play structures is remarkably like the art of building community.

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Helen Liggett’s interests are in the related fields of urban theory, visual culture, and photography. She teaches at the Urban College at Cleveland State University and at the ARCH Studies program at Kent State University.

The Dealership
3558 Lee Road
Shaker Heights, OH
44120

Exhibit Times
Monday – Friday
9AM – 5PM
through January 2, 2017

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10-11-16

Making Our Own Stories Podcast Launched!

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Making Our Own Stories, a youth podcast about placemaking, launched its first four episodes. The podcast will reveal the stories behind the projects built in the Buckeye neighborhood through the Making Our Own Space workshops. The podcast puts the mic in the hands of youth, training them to craft and tell stories they find interesting—in their own voice.

MOOStories is led by a team of partners including Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC), designer Ellen Sullivan, Kent State University Master of Landscape Architecture student Jessie Hawkins, community leader and independent radio broadcaster D’Angelo Knuckles, and Sidewalk founder and urban planner Justin Glanville.

Students learned how to use recording equipment so they could interview people on the street, design professionals, grant funders, police officers, and each other. The podcast gives youth the opportunity to ask adults why the neighborhood looks the way it does. Then take actions to make it better.

You can listen to the first four episodes on the MOOS website or on iTunes. We will be posting another episode each week for the next two months. If you enjoy the stories, please share the podcast link on social media and ask your friends to check it out, too. On iTunes, you can rate the podcast (5 stars please!) and leave a comment. The ratings and comments are really important ways to increase the podcast’s reach. We hope MOOStories will help people in Cleveland and across the country get a better understanding of the Buckeye community and how youth can play a larger role in shaping their own neighborhoods.

Want to listen live? There will be a live stream of the podcast at Sidewalks of Buckeye, Thursday, October 13th, from 6-8 PM. The event is sponsored by the Buckeye Shaker Square Development Corporation in partnership with ioby. It will be a night of readings, musical performances, poetry, meditation and more!  There will be  hot dogs and freshly pressed juice. The event will take place at Art and Soul Park, E 118th and Buckeye Rd. 

Making Our Own Stories is made possible through the generous support of the Cleveland Foundation’s Minority Arts & Education Fund.

04-28-16

Request for Proposals | MOOS Workshop Leaders

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The Making Our Own Space (MOOS) after-school program seeks project proposals from design professionals to lead a series of youth engagement workshops based in Cleveland’s Buckeye Neighborhood.

MOOS PROGRAM BACKGROUND
Making Our Own Space (MOOS) is a program focused on engaging and empowering middle and high school students with the skills to transform their local public spaces. MOOS uses hands-on, on-site workshops to build physical and social infrastructure in collaboration with the surrounding community. The program helps students understand the connection between learning and the broader world, specifically by exposing them to a range of design careers. Initiated in 2015 by Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC), the program’s first series of workshops focused on Britt Oval in Cleveland’s Buckeye neighborhood and made possible by support from the Saint Luke’s Foundation.

 

JOB DESCRIPTION

  • The Design Leader must commit to leading at least 4-5 consecutive days of workshops sometime between May to December 2016.
  • Workshops will take place from 4-7pm on weekdays during the school year and longer workshops (10am – 7pm) are possible during summer vacation (May 29 – August 15), providing a more intense and productive build experience. The Design Leader should propose desired date ranges for the workshops and preferred length of each workshop day.
  • Design Leader must commit to at least 40 hours working directly with MOOS students during workshops, in addition to the time required to prepare for the workshops.
  • Design Leader should have the ability to collaborate effectively on a team and an interest in working closely with youth.
  • The position is open to designers of multiple disciplines, including architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, graphic design, industrial design, and other allied professions.
  • The position requires the use of sharp blades and power tools, which do present the risk of personal injury.
  • Design Leaders should have demonstrated fabrication experience and ability to instruct students how to safely use hand tools and electric power tools, including hammers, drills, circular saws, etc.
  • The Design Leader will be provided with a $4,000 stipend (plus costs for travel and accommodations, if based outside of Northeast Ohio).

 

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS

  • Resume or CV
  • Brief statement explaining the applicant’s interest in the youth project (500 word max.)
  • Description of proposed workshop activities, draft materials list, and preferred dates
  • Images of relevant design work, including built examples, with descriptive captions
  • All submission materials should be packaged in a single PDF document (20 MB max.)

 

Due May 27, 2016. Submission materials and any questions should be emailed to David Jurca, MOOS project manager, at djurca@kent.edu. For more information and full workshop leader description, download the application here.

 

10-22-15

Students learn the design process at CMA/MOOS workshop

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Last Wednesday we had the pleasure of working with high school students from the Museum Ambassadors Program at the Cleveland Museum of Art. We were asked to lead a workshop as part of the CUDC’s Making Our Own Space (MOOS) initiative. Created in January 2015, MOOS is an ongoing effort to engage Cleveland youth through hands-on design projects to empower and inspire the next generation of placemakers.

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Museum Ambassadors is a twelve-year-old, multi-visit program, where high school juniors and seniors and their teachers gain experience in all aspects of museum life at the Cleveland Museum of Art and other University Circle institutions. Guided by museum staff and volunteers, museum ambassadors come to the museum for a full day once a month to participate in presentations, projects, and discussions relating to different departments in the museum. The program currently serves 80 students and teachers from Bedford, Hawken, John Hay, Lincoln-West, Shaker, Shaw, Strongsville, and Westlake high schools and the Cleveland School of the Arts.

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We invited the group of over 30 students to participate in a fast-paced exercise to design a piece of furniture for the museum. Students were asked to imagine the user needs for different age groups, including themselves (teenagers), children, and the elderly. We led them through the whole design process from sketching and brainstorming, to design iteration and group presentations. After building a quick model in SketchUp on the computer, each team uploaded their design to an augmented reality app and viewed the model through iPads to see what their furniture would look like 3D in a real setting.

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The final presentations produced some really creative ideas, crafted through multiple design tools and quick iterations. We hope that this intense, yet fun, workshop had the students thinking about a career in the design fields. To view more pictures click here.

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08-04-15

Making Our Own Space (MOOS) focuses on youth to build community environments

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Created in January 2015, MakingOurOwnSpace (MOOS) is a collaborative effort between Cleveland youth and local design professionals to empower the next generation of placemakers. Led by the CUDC, the project trains middle and high school students as community designers. Over the course of nine months, students will design and construct multiple public environments and outdoor playscapes.

Britt Oval, a large green space across the street from St. Luke’s Pointe, will serve as the site for all the outdoor constructions. Three on-site projects will be built by the students to respond to changing weather conditions and user preferences. Although the projects will be short-term, they are intended to guide future investments in permanent public space enhancements on the site.

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Youth participating in the MOOS project include 7th & 8th graders from the Boys and Girls Clubs and high school students from East End Youth Services. The students, along with two adult leaders from the local community, will be paid a stipend for their participation. The project will increase collaboration across community-based organizations, residents, and public/private partners. The CUDC has brought in architect Erick Rodriguez and graphic designer Arlene Watson to teach workshops. As well as, Alex Gilliam of Public Workshop to teach a week long class.

Freshwater Cleveland recently spoke with David Jurca, our Associate Director and one of the leaders spearheading MOOS about the initiative and our upcoming event Splash on Britt Oval that is taking place on August 8th. Here is an excerpt from the article:

“On a sunny Friday afternoon at the park, Jurca asks Streeter and McClain-Ferrell, “What do you hope to get from this?”

“To get people to come and keep coming back. So they want to build things of their own,” says McClain-Ferrell. “I just want to be able to say, ‘I made that.’”

This is their park made to their specifications. And that’s no small feat.

Jurca knows that although community planning often focuses on creating spaces for youth, those very same voices are regularly left out of the actual discussion. The format of public meetings aren’t aligned to make them feel welcome, Jurca says, whether it’s the time, location or questions asked.”

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Learn more about MOOS and read the entire article here. Also come out this Saturday and check it out for yourself. There will be music, games, hot dogs and ice cream from 12-2 PM. The event is free and open to the public and will be happening rain or shine. Britt Oval is located across the street from Saint Luke’s Foundation, 11327 Shaker Blvd., Cleveland, OH 44104.

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