Green on Morii Channel
For one month, the initiative group from the Farmec Park area – Morii Channel has tested ways to decrease the number of trips to the city center, by improving how we spend our free time in the Mărăști neighborhood.
Why we did this
Several short private car trips are made from the residential neighborhoods of Cluj to the center, for leisure purposes. We wanted to create the framework through which the residents of the Farmec Park – Morii Channel area could develop ideas for how they would use the common space and spend more time in the neighborhood if they had money, specialists and permits available. The Green on the Morii Channel team was selected following an open call in October 2017, and worked on preparing the test interventions in the neighborhood in May 2018.
Between March and May 2018, the Green on the Morii Channel team walked door to door to the neighbors of the Farmec Park, Gorunului Street and Scorţarilor Street and documented a series of priorities and ideas about the use of the area. This field research was then used as a design theme for students at UTCN’s Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning to develop interventions that were installed for one month in the public space.
The interventions that were tested during the month of may 2018 aimed to:
- Increase pretexts for socializing
- Involve citizens through symbolic actions for maintaining common spaces
- Rethinking the existing infrastructure according to the neighbors’ needs
Main results and lessons learned
Spaces serve their purpose when they are designed together with those who are going to use them
Two main interventions were temporarily built: a bridge, more accessible than the existing one, allowing the possibility to cross the Morii Channel stream to the Farmec Park with strollers, bicycles, skateboards; and a playground with benches, tables and flowers.
Both interventions started being used immediately by the neighbors, 700 people coming to visit on the first day of the inauguration. The inaugural event took place on May 6, 2018 and included a children’s puppet theater, boardgames, picnics and an outdoor movie screening.
Small gestures matter
We tested what happens to the built interventions when they are left on public space for a month. One neighbor came every week to water the flowers, another helped with maintenance work (nails), another took pictures from their balcony of the various users, while some neighbors complained about the noise made by the children who started to play in this new space. None of the interventions were vandalized.
Novelty can also mean reluctance
As planned in the project, after the one-month test period in the public space, the initiative group dismantled the two temporary interventions, which created confusion among the larger community. Some residents mobilized to gather support signatures for the initiative, others felt that due to their complaints against the noise, measures were taken by the local authorities. We have learned that we need to communicate better and prepare ourselves for scenarios where experiments can result directly in a longer term solution.
Temporary to permanent
The initiative group organized the information from the preparation and implementation of the interventions in a report for Cluj-Napoca Municipality. The report could be used by the municipality in drafting the design theme or other technical documentation when the time comes to redesign the Morii Channel area. We learned that in order to maintain interest in the redevelopment of the area in accordance with the needs of the neighbors, it is necessary to have repeated interventions focused on temporary use of the space, similar to the inaugural event, and the initiative group needs to constantly grow, attracting several neighbors to get directly involved.
The Green on the Morii Channel is represented by:
Initiating team: Larisa Bucatariu, Iunia Buricescu, Ana-Maria Cosma, Anda Gheorghe, Edith Heczei, Alexandra Lucaci, Miruna Moldovan.
Neighbors: Caroli Sebastin Ajtai, Attila Almási, Csaba Ludovic Balazs, Tibor Heltai, Andrei Kiss, Anca Moldovan, Anca Mureșan, Alexandru Varga.
Expert colaborators: Tiberiu Ciolacu, Dana Iacoban, Benjamin Kohl, Cristina Labo, Dorin Man, Adriana Măgerușan, Marius Cătălin Moga, Ovidiu Rusu, Mihai Stănuș, Ioana Suceava, Alin Tănasă.
Volunteers: Ioana Afloarei, Valentin Anghelescu, Andreea Bunea, Maria-Cristina Buiga, Daniel Cioara, Ramona Doleanu, Andreea Drăguș, Andrei Faunescu, Adrian Ganea, Dadu Ghejan, Andra Gabriela Hrenciuc, Daniela Hopîrtean, Georgiana Jiman, Spiro Koça, Ella Kinzel, Rodica Luchian,Andreea Manoilă, Paula Marcău, Marina Melenti, Marina Mironica, Juliette Le Morzadec, Cezar Moldovan, David Mutnean, Anca Laura Nistor, Joanna Olivera, Lucas Pérez Herrera, Andrei Pop, Cristina Stanciu, Radu Stoica, Ana-Maria Timiș, Robert Vasiluț, Ioana Vlad.
Understand how the current traffic conditions influence our decision for a particular mode of transport.