Talking to Joey yesterday about, yep you guessed it, politics. Reminded me of a series that was shown on the BBC a few years ago called ‘The Century of the Self’.
It goes into the black art of Public Relations or its proper title Propaganda. And how successive governments and corporations have used this line of mass control to get us to purchase product not out of need, but desire. (Episodes on Google video really worth viewing alas low quality stream, but its about the content).
So how does this relate to our Projects? Well if you can understand the aspirations (desires conscious or subconscious) of the end users then there is more of a chance of the park being ‘adopted’ by said people. In the marketing of the park(s) at the beginning and end, always keeping our eyes on the end user. If you feel that they won’t get ‘it’, then its about communication/education/marketing and ultimately changing their viewpoint/desire. You could link it to the change and acceptance of abstract art in our everyday life. There was a point when it was laughed out of town as fraud, but now as a group we accept it. Education/manipulation/fashion who knows, but we want to be associated with it, and therefore our association with it we assume it will make us seem more cultured/intelligent to others, which could be seen as an advantage amongst our piers. This proves the point that ‘new’ need not necessarily be bad, its about ‘viewpoint’ and what benefit is it to the force that is ‘self interest’
Self interest, what or how can it benefit ‘me’ as an end user, because if they (as groups of individuals) don’t see a benefit to themselves we will have an abandoned space, again. With little maintenance and thus the snow balling effect of decline will run its course, again. It all rests on adoption/love of the people for the parks. Think, Angel of the North, adopted and loved, by the local community. Who want to be associated with it as its considered to represent them as a sophisticated community, Manipulation? who knows, but they feel good about themselves, when we visit and say how wonderful it is.
Big Picture, not the ego of the designer (or as Tom would put it Nester rather than Hunter).
Its not really about Fraud, but about Edward Bernays the father of the Public Relations movement, really frightening how easy it is,if you know how.
Off my soap box for another few days, Back to work!
I agree with most of your points but surely sometimes it's also worth considering that “If you feel that they won't get 'it'” then maybe you need to stop and consider whether YOU are going in the right direction, rather than the end user needing re-educating?
Please don't do a Martha Schwartz on us: http://www.gardenvisit.com/blog/2008/08/19/landscape-architects-including-martha-schwartz-covered-in-mud-2/
Very fair and good comment. Thats were the ego of the designer forgets about the basics….PEOPLE!
And thats were Martha goes wrong.
My point about re-educating is not necessarily a fixed moment in time but the change of opinion that can slowly be manipulated by the likes of Berneys. Very Black Art i know, but we are being swayed everyday by opinion makers.
I sit, in a comfortable chair, corrected.
Fair point, there's definitely a place for landscape design to influence and (hopefully) improve people's lives.
In a slightly vague way, that's part of what attracted me to the profession, having visited and lived in places where my first thoughts were “why is this so grim? it needn't be”.
The only problem is that i am not sure my chaotic mind can pull it off.
If you are in the profession for any other reason than you have stated, then go and be a city trader!
You are right its finding what really makes people tick, and then acting on it for the benefit of all, utopian ,maybe, but is that such a crime, even if you fail sometimes?
Waffling on Toms blog at the moment about the Modernist movement, join in, more angles. Tom and Christine are a wealth of knowledge!
Sadly Grant, I suspect that there will always be those who are attracted to this profession by a desire to stamp their own personality or interests on the world (site), at the expense of creating spaces either useful to, or beloved by, the people who will actually have to live with them!
Fortunately, there also seem to be plenty of people who manage to leave their egos at home …
The question is ..can i leave mine at home? Or will i sell out if a fat cheque is waved in front of me? probably yes, especially at the moment!
Bit of a blairite speech. People,,,,,people,,,,,people!