March 26

At the start of the day, Alaistair spoke about the presentation of our work for the assessment and exhibition at the end of the term. He focused mainly on the question of being understood. Can your project be understood by others without you being there to explain? Can they work out the who, what, when, where, why and how of your process and final outcome? If not, how can you make it clearer?

We also did an exercise where we were placed into groups of three and we swapped and critiqued each other's work based on the presentation in terms of coherence, aesthetic and communication. I found this to be a very good exercise and I can see how I could potentially have gained a lot from it if my partners were more critical. They were very kind and supportive and for that I am grateful but I find constructive criticism will help me improve exponentially more as a designer. Perhaps I will present my project to another classmate over the break and ask for their critique.

We also had a brief discussion as a class about benchmark grading which I found to be rather interesting. The act of marking by comparison. I cannot seem to decide if it makes sense. Logically it does because if a lot of people agree that this one particular projects bench marks a merit then comparing other projects to this project to see if they are also a merit makes sense. But at the same time, is it even possible to compare these projects? They are so wide ranging and all of our approaches are so different that I wonder if comparing actually cheapens something within the work if that makes sense. 
Bench mark: something that serves as a standard by which others may be measured or judged.

Group tutorial with Alaistair and Fadi:
-On my four stages of development, we discussed whether it is a typology or a methodology or a paradigm.
Typology: a systematic transference; the scalability. A general format for a system that can be applied to sites.
Methodology: a system of methods used in a particular area of study or activity. A method is what you do to achieve something while a methodology is why you do it.
Paradigm: a typical example or pattern of something; a pattern or model.
-What are the over encompassing  theme(s) of each of your steps? This is important because these are the transferrable parts of these steps that you pass on to each new site. For example, Alaistair and I spoke about land acquisition and education as possible themes for step 1: occupying natural land.
-This is a positive critical design project. It is a criticism of the current state of the food industry and the current state of our relationship to food.
Pattern language: a method of describing good design practices within a field of expertise. Coined by architect Christopher Alexander.
"... the elements of this language are entities called patterns. Each pattern describes a problem which occurs over and over again in our environment, and then describes the core of the solution to that problem, in such a way that you can use this solution a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice." Alexander.
1. It has consistent or corresponding meaning for by users, analysts, designers and programmers.
2. It helps in resolving design conflicts by improving communications across the phases of system development.
3. It is relatively immune to changes in technology.
4. It may be applied in multiple situations at both specific and general levels.
http://www.sis.pitt.edu/~spring/patterns/node2.html

These new terms that have been introduced to me over the past week are very confusing. Even after all of the questions and explaining, I don't think I understand which one my project falls under. I feel like I've gotten a taste of something big and beyond my comprehension at the moment and I'm trying to grasp it. It is like the difference between liking an architect for their buildings or liking them for the reasons they build their buildings, (as well as the buildings themselves).

Revised four steps that I believe should be followed when bringing farming into the city and into the hands of city-dwellers:
Step 1: Occupy natural land (soil) that is not being used/not being used to its full potential. Consider the infrastructure needed and the type of farm that will be implemented. Each farm will have the same general foundations and equipment to a certain extent, (depending on whether the focus of the farm is plants or animals), while still being site specific. Site specific means that the infrastructure will take into account the surrounding residences and how they and their homes will integrate with the farm, (ex. greywater and stormwater irrigation, food waste for composting, etc.). The distribution of the food will also be site specific. This will depend on whether the area will benefit most from an open market, selling the food directly to local grocery stores or directly to residents living on and around the land. As well, already existing infrastructure that pertains to urban farming in the city should be incorporated and put to use, whether for growing or for education.
Step 2: Occupy outdoor man-made land that is not being used/not being used to its full potential like vacant lots and rooftops. Make all the considerations that one would make for natural land in terms of site and infrastructure. Add on the need for a planter design as the land is not able to be cultivated.
Step 3: Occupy indoor space that is not being used/not being used to its full potential. This involves specifically meeting the needs of certain spaces, in particular, spaces close to the window.
Step 4: After all of the 'vacant space' in the city is being productively and efficiently used, occupy vertically by creating extra spaces in homes of all types for gardening and growing by attaching a parasite-like structure onto the façade of a building.

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