Project Lower 9th

This blog is an archive of design process created by multi-disciplinary students from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. We are exploring how design can make a difference in the course of reuniting Lower 9th Ward residents. Please join our journey in helping the people of New Orleans.

March 17, 2006

one more month!!!

It''s March 17th!!! We have about one more month to go. As always last month of the term at art center is CRAZY. All these classes to finish, projects to complete...portfolio to turn in....anyways, we hit the "just make it happen" phase. no more searching, no more thinking about.... just make it happen:)

March 14, 2006

Here is our BIGGER picture:)

this is the diagram to explain our "bigger picture" and where all the components of design fit in within our rebuilding strategy....

Now finally it feels like a "complete set"!!! so what's next??? just put it all together!!!

March 13, 2006

photos of signage

Ken_here are some photos of signs that we saw in New Orleans.
Hope you can use some of them.


March 12, 2006

What is happening in reality??

I told myself that I should spend at least half an hour everyday to surf the web and look for the grass-roots information from people about New Orleans and Lower 9th ward....and also leave the traits to our project /blog.
Along the way I found this video clip from lower 9th ward.

This video proves to me that there is still a lot of frustration and struggle for original residents to come back...

I also found out that Common Ground is taking a huge part in assisting original residents on site. We visited them in February and they didn't have any utilities hooked up.... but from what I understand reading their information, their station in Lower 9th ward finally got some basic utilities....

March 10, 2006

putting together the prototype

chris and I started putting together the prototype mock-up. We gave ourselves deadline to ship the {traveling suitcase} to the first destiny by next Friday.

These are quick visuals of what we're thinking.

working all day....

i thought i was going to take at least one day off from working.... but it really didn't happen.... everyone else is working hard... so i have to keep going too...

March 08, 2006

Our first participant in this project will be Edgar:)

As we go through the design process, it became very very clear that we need to test out what we're doing with real participants... otherwise how do we know if it's going to work or not??? so we asked our friend Edgar in New Orleans if we can send our first {traveling suitcase} to him to be the first participant!! He said yes!!! We're going to try to create a first prototype mock-up over this weekend so we can ship it (hopefully) by the end of next week!!

What is our project???

Just to clarify exactly what we're doing in our project. I thought it is a good time to write down our design brief today since we just finished our mid-term presentation at school.

What: {Traveling suitcase}
{Traveling suitcase} is a new way of communication device. It uses both physical and on-line community to our advantage to create a more personal and meaningful way to connect with people who matter after natural disaster catastrophes. As {Traveling suitcase} connects displaced communities of New Orleans, we're hoping that it will also become a catalyst for communities to come together as one voice so that they can take a part of rebuilding process.

{Traveling suitcase} will travel back and fourth between art center and various displaced communities of New Orleans. We are providing one {Traveling suitcase} for each community (ex. lower ninth ward) so that it can really represents the special community and community members through which the box have traveled. Participants will be introduced to the involvement of the project by reference base (we ask previous participant to introduce us a possible following participant so that there will be more opportunity for this box to be much more personal and meaningful)
We will make sure that collection of opinions and physical artifacts will be archived properly and respectfully. We like to share the experience of {Traveling suitcase} and also the voices / stories archived using both physical and on-line exhibition & library. We feel that it is appropriate if collection of artifacts return to original community as a part of memorial....

What is sent to participants inside of {Traveling suitcase}?
1. Back story of who we are and what this project is about
2. Blank canvas of recording template to record their opinions and voices on rebuilding issues(audio, forms to fill out...)
3. Empty container for participants to archive their personal artifacts (their meaningful objects that they want to archive as part of community's history... we like to keep this container to be "their story"... so what is going to be inside is little more opened to participants to decide)
4. Place for their imprints to be engraved.... This imprints will stay through the entire cycle of process so that following participants can see where this box has been through.
5. Place for reference information of next participants to be recorded and a special message to them (this will be sent to the next participant untouched)

We believe that each displaced New Orleans citizen should have opportunity to be heard and included in recovery /rebuilding process. We're approaching this in a very grass-roots way because we feel that each resident is special and we have learned that he/she has a lot to offer in a rebuilding process. We're hoping that the skills/tools which we have learned from art center can apply to the design of {Traveling suitcase} and how it works so that this could really happen:)

The first cycle of the "box" will start in next couple weeks.

We are doing this project because we were inspired by the spirit of New Orleans residents especially Lower 9th ward residents many of whom we were able to interview while we were visiting Big Easy in Nov.05 and Feb.06. So this project is purely to assist and support local residents of Lower 9th ward and greater New Orleans....

March 07, 2006

our mid term presentation

We had a mid-term presentation this afternoon!! I wasn't all that nervous but it felt exhausting afterward. We got few things that we need to really think about based on the feedbacks we received today

1. What are our goals? (When do our project end? What are the actual numbers of voices that we want to collect / archive /share? How many do we need to actually possibly make difference?)
2. EXACTLY what is going to be inside of the "traveling package"?
3. EXACTLY how our project is going to make difference in "decision making" phase of recovery process?

I'm sure I'm probably going to come up with more as I think of how our presentation went today... but for now these three stayed with me very strongly.

We have long way to go but we'll try our best to make it happen:)

mid-term presentation today!!!

We worked all weekend to prepare our mid-term presentation. Today we'll be presenting our project to president and chief academic officer of our school . Tomorrow we'll be presenting to our department chairs and also instructors from various majors. Last night we met our project advisors Karen and Tisha...tighten up the presentation even more. Right now it is 8am and our first presentation is... in 6 hours? I have few more things to finish and hopefully we'll be ready to rock the board room:)

March 04, 2006

E-mail from Edgar

E-mail from Edgar. He is informing us about how Mardi Gras went.... what's going on with new mayor selection process...I'm really glad that he finished putting together his album. I wonder if "putting together album" actually pushed him forward to have some kind of conclusion....

Dear Wakako;

no problem, i'm glad to keep you inform and to help you in any way possible for me here in no.

there are some interesting points you raise in thesite, like the future make up of new orleans. rightnow there is a lot of intrigue about who will be the next mayor of a city with a majority white population. Mitch Landrieu, present lieutenant gov. and brother of state senator Mary Landrieu, seems to be a favorite, although i don't know yet who i will vote for. i'm not too crazy about our current mayor, Ray Nagin. although i consider him a good guy.

fat tuesday was olutely beautiful weather wise, and also pleasant. i rode my bike down the black part of town where ulu usually parades, but this year didn't because of the devastation. there were lots of displaced out-of-town black folk just waiting around for the original Zulu warriors from south africa who came for the special occasion, but the celebration ended miles away in the convention center. i also awsome funny costumes, like the guy who had a huge book sign that read: "the katrina code" by Michael Brown with our Gov. Blanco's face on the cover. i also saw a lot of guys with blue tarp costumes.

i finally got all my pictures inside an album, so i'll finish it with the irony of the mardi gras katrina satire. i have included some of my son's pictures in there also, alone with one of my poems. anyways, i always kick myself for not having more black and white film that dreadful day. work tonight was good, with lots of interesting people.

ah! i heard that they started bull dozing the 9th ward.

hope all goes well for all. i should see you again some day.

take care,

March 03, 2006

one of the very cool thing:)

One of the very cool things that have happened to us since we started working on this project is that we get to go to different meetings and other events that relate to our project through school's organization called designmatters@artcenter. They have sponsored our trip to New Orleans twice and have been helping us to be connected to other organizations, influential leaders from New Orleans' community and our school!!! Most of times we're pretty quiet trying to listen as much as we can... being exposed to so many great designers and leaders by itself is pretty amazing experience!!!

we want to be like a bee:)

We want us and our project to be like a bee!! bee is tiny!!! (in size compared to let's say...elephant) but bee connects flowers to flowers.... flowers to its bee's nest. They're pollinator and connector of significant multiple dots. They are essential to all the other flowers and also animals including humans. ( I researched bee from Wikipedia :) We and also our project just want to empower other significant groups such as New Orleans communities...instead of us becoming a focal point... i don't know if this makes any sense. i hope it does.

after long day of working

This is how our table looks like after long day of working... Last Wednesday was one of those days when Chris and I worked from 12pm till 7pm nonstop and had a review meeting with Tisha and Karen after 7pm. But what we got out of this day was pretty amazing... can't be better:)

our wall right now

this is how our wall at school looks like right now. it's a madness of ideas and inspiration...trying to figure out the best approach we can ever find!!!

are we almost to mid-term???

we're getting really close to mid-term... it's next Tuesday & Wednesday. we're going to probably present most of stuff in digital format. (powerpoint most likely). chris and i started the rough prep couple days ago so we have some idea what we're going to be presenting.... i used to totally freak out... before any kind of presentation. it's quite bit of pressure to have to present a project (which is very personal because we work so hard) put it out there in front of very critical instructors and wait for the could be pretty nerve wrecking....but for some reason, i feel okay now. i know i have to work hard next couple days to put it all together but i also know it will get done if we focus on it. i guess these feelings come from presenting so many times last few years ever since i got in design school.... (first at Sci-arc and then art center) and completing one presentation at a time.. i hope everyone else facing the midterm this week and next week is going to be okay too:)