Making shared experiences
Boston neighborhoods are changing rapidly. But that change impacts people's lives in different ways--sometimes positively, sometimes negatively.
In Andrew Square, longtime residents feel that change is bringing improvements to their neighborhood, but that it's also pushing them out.
Know thy neighbor
Crossed by major streets, and with few public spaces, Andrew Square does not afford neighbors of different backgrounds with many opportunities to get to know each other, leaving them feeling isolated and dispersed.
With Department of Play, we worked with the neighborhood association, businesses, and public housing organizations to build bridges among neighbors.
We participated and observed redevelopment meetings and community events. We collected historic demographic information to understand how the neighborhood was changing, and how people were making sense of the change.
As we met people and talked with them, we found that public meetings left little room for neighbors to share their personal stories and experiences of Andrew Square.
We set out on a quest to collect stories.
We walked the neighborhood with residents to understand their experiences of place, their ties to their neighborhood, and their hopes for the future.
We asked residents to share cherished memories on camera, to take photographs of significant places, and each to share the "best kept secret" of the neighborhood.
Based on what we heard, we made Story Ship, a four-channel projection screen that featured residents' stories.
We worked with graphic designers, fabricators, and videographers. We took woodworking classes to build the installation.
One fall night on Carson Beach, a place that defines the neighborhood's identity, we inflated the Story Ship and projected the stories.
After the screening, we invited people to get inside the screen.
Inside, there was an intimate space to continue the conversation and learn more about one another.