Teleki Square Community Park
name of work: Community Design of Teleki Square
year of design / realization: 2013/ 2014
office: Újirány Tájépítész Kft.
authors: Orsolya B. Orosz, Árpád Kovács, Gábor Szohr, Dominika Tihanyi
3D visualization: Zita Sarfanek
area: 14 000 m2
Teleki Square is one of Budapest’s urban center’s oldest and storied squares, located in one of the city’s most profoundly disadvantaged neighborhoods. The aim of the inclusive community-based planning process was to help residents living nearby to take part in developing the design of their own Community Park in the place of a barren, ill-reputed, crime-ridden and functionless space. The series of workshops spanning 10 weeks were open for anyone interested to join. Posters with the question „What Should Teleki Square Look Like?” were placed around the neighborhood. The design method used was the same as a professional one, hence it can be said that the people taking part had truly become design partners, and finally had the chance to envisage a better future for themselves. Not only the meetings, but an onsite exhibition and a Facebook page served as the main modes of communication. Apart from reaching the goal of realizing a common ground for the design, Teleki Square Association was formed by local residents taking part in the design process to be able to continue to contribute to the square’s management and ongoing improvement once the renovation is completed in spring 2014. For a landscape architect working with a community is an equally illuminating experience, where authenticity and responsibility become more tangible opposed to when designing for the ’unknown public’.
The community planning process spanned 12 meetings over two months and engaged a diverse neighborhood team, including elderly people who have lived there for fifty years and still recall the horse-drawn carriages that brought goods to the old square’s market; the young rabbi from the neighborhood’s synagogue, young intellectuals; Roma parents and children, and a horticulture graduate student who grew up in the area. The meetings – held at both a local community house called the Glove Factory and on the site itself -- and a Facebook page served as the main modes of communication. The use of social media has rapidly escalated in the last few years, not just among young but the older residents as well, so this could be viewed as an inclusive communications tool. The project’s Facebook page was soon joined by the page of the Teleki Square Association, which local residents formed to be able to continue to contribute to the square’s management and ongoing improvement once the renovation is completed in summer 2014.
The process of the community planning can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/milyenlegyenatelekiter