This project was born from an invitation by the Inpulsar association to develop a community activity with the Cova das Faias neighbourhood in Leiria. Located in the industrial belt of the city, in a situation of isolation and ostracism in relation to the rest of the city, the neighbourhood is nowadays inhabited mostly by gipsy ethnic residents.
At first, we wanted to understand how the themes of participation and coexistence in the urban space were reflected in the specific context of the neighbourhood and of Roma culture. The first consultations led us to understand that the common space would be determined more by the solidarity of family relationships than by institutional or conventional conceptions.
Following these ideas, the exercise we set up consisted of co-creating with the residents personalised signs for the entrances to their houses, which could reveal to the street the diversity of identities existing in the neighbourhood. This meant going house to house proposing to each family that they show us an object that is related to their family and a phrase that they would like to put in front of their house for those passing by on the street.
The exercise was completely open as to what content each person could choose, which led to diverse conversations with completely disparate and story-rich outcomes.
The wood for the signs was recovered from scrapyards and most of the carpentry and painting work was carried out in the neighbourhood in an open atelier environment.
Over the course of a month, the experience of carrying out all the activities in the neighbourhood was essential for the construction of a relationship, this was able to promote appropriation and sense-making that became reflected in the final signs.
Type of Project:
Community led design, Participative action
Inpulsar, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian
Colectivo Til, Neighbours of Cova das Faias
Ana Rita Inácio, Ângela Damásio
Colectivo Til, Ana Rita Inácio