The Box

An installation for artist to exhibit visual art and music as well as a repository of Regent Park memories.

Problem

Regent Park was originally a social housing development. Since 2005 the neighbourhood has gone through a revitalization that plans to turn the area into a mixed-income community. The process has forced a lot of their families to be relocated. This project brings along several repercussions to the community:

Despite there being a promise of relocation when the revitalization is finished, many of their residents have felt their community has been separated and they fear their history and memories will be by then gone.
Forced relocation can be traumatic and detrimental to people’s health, as they are torn from their support system.

The current changes in the housing complexes creates a separation of those in social housing to those in condos. This fact does not improve lives but instead increases negative social outcomes.

Timeline

2 weeks

Role

_Design Researcher
_Design Strategist

Methodology

_Interviews
_Secondary Research
_Foresight Analysis

Research

Through this research we spotted a treasured piece of long-time residents’ history as their beloved green boxes. The green boxes are a hang-out spot, a landmark they use to gather around to connect with friends. This has served as an inspiration from the original community’s rituals.

Strategy

Regent Park is known for its sense of belonging and creativity. The community has manifested their wish to stay connected to the people who have always been their neighbours. This proposal was focused on the characteristics of the neighbourhood that can be utilized in design solutions to recreate history and foster an increase in social capital for all.

We propose The Box. This is a cube-shaped, permanent installation in a central location of Regent Park – the Community Park. An ode to the historically significant green boxes, The Box will be a community hub – a place to connect people to one another through storytelling of new and old history, a showcase of visual art and music as well as a place to interact organically with neighbours.

Impact

The Box’s sense of place and social interchange, much like the feel of gathering around a campfire, is enhanced by inclusive and accessible design that incorporates a mixture of urban seating that promotes conversation and connection in a public space open to all.

Some of its features will use smart technology to streamline its processes:
Display screens on the outside of the structure will showcase curated artwork from local artists. Screens and audio systems on the inside will be available to share history and stories from the community. Free wifi connection at 10G speeds and renewable, solar energy to power itself sustainably.

Technologies

Outside The Box
_ Wall screens.
_ Cold/heat sensors.

Inside The Box
_ Wall screens.
_ Cold/heat sensors.
_Voice control

Every first Sunday of each month, the showcase will change to allow for inclusion of new artists’ work and bring residents or other Torontonians to the area to share in building social capital and history. The Box will serve as a monument for the past as well as the future of Regent Park’s ability to come together to own a shared sense of belonging.