During our two-day partner gathering in Toulouse, in February 2020, we had the opportunity to meet with the team of “Le Bruit de la Conversation”, a young local organisation, that presented us their actions, and more importantly, made us test them !
“Le Bruit de la Conversation » (« The noise of conversation ») was born in 2016 from the ambition of a group of architect students: they wanted to empower inhabitants by helping them to “own” their urban environment. This meant for them to include inhabitants in each and every one of the steps of urban design, in order to “contribute to the creation of unique, inclusive and friendly territories where common spaces are seen as opportunities to work together and experience sharing”.
We could quickly realize that their project and ours where intimately related. As we are questioning ourselves about how to enable citizens in improving engagement in their own communities, LBDLC is working on different levels to improve inclusion of citizens in urban designing, by co-diagnosing, co-planning, co-conceiving, co-executing and co-appropriating. We are all fans of co-doing!
From LBDLC portfolio – Our scope
LBDLC is also a “education populaire” collective, so for them “experimenting” is way more powerful that “listening to”, when learning and discovering. That’s why they chose to present us their tools by making us “live them”. Thanks to that, we got to try out some tools that could become useful in our work with our own target groups.
First, we tried “The thermometer”. Each one of us received a cardboard thermometer and 20 images of spaces, people, activities… that we had to classify from bottom to top according to how they inspired us freedom. By doing this, each one was confronted to their own thinking and feelings about those images, and we got to express ourselves, individually. The restitution was also very interesting, as it allowed us to realize how different (or similar) our perspectives can be.
To discover the pitch-description or their organisation, they proposed us to work in two groups. Some of us played a charades game, with words like “architecture”, “sociology”, “urban design”, “citizen consultation” … A great challenge for a multi-cultural and multi-lingual group. Yet, we got to understand each other and, in so, revealing the essence of this multidisciplinary organization.
The other group, after debating about the LBDLC’s description, got to try their “cooperative pencil”. We mastered it! But it took us some minutes to get the hang of it, and of course, communicate about our common strategy. Great team building!
To end this time together, our impact assessment team ask LBDLC’s workers some questions about their needs. The most important, for them, was a change in policies that gives recognition and importance to consultation, not as a press campaign, but as a way of actually building co-design cities and territories. Also, in their work, they would like to have more tools on how to mobilize inhabitants faster and deeper, how to know their needs.
We hope that some of the work that we will be doing in Co-Engage project will be useful for “Le Bruit de la Conversation”, as well as other stakeholders. So we collect those expressed needs very carefully, and we will do our best to include them in our next steps.