Burners Without Borders had an event at Google this week that was designed to spark a conversation about what kinds of public art the community would like to see in North Bayshore. “Burners Without Borders (BWB) is a grassroots, volunteer-driven, community leadership organization whose goal is to unlock the creativity of local communities to solve problems that bring about meaningful change” from their website.
We started our group design-thinking exercise with the understanding that the community will feel ownership of the project if they’re part of the process.
The conversation at my table focused on trees and landscape and what kinds of activities will happen in this future community space.
Then we moved into a prototyping phase, where we created examples out of legos, straws, play dough, and masking tape. That was the fun part. Each table presented their ideas to the room and BWB photographed each colorful little park.
I found it very interesting that almost all of the groups focused on some kind of interactive, kinetic tree sculpture and a stage area. One group created a water sculpture that was powered by different sizes and styles of stationary bikes, so everyone could participate. Everyone was in awe of that idea.
One group had different pods in their park where people could somehow message people in other pods and the entire area would be communicating with each other, if they chose to do so. There was also an elevated bridge and a possible zip-line that would connect the different pods. Several groups had community gardens and dog play areas. All of them had places where community members could sit quietly, without interacting with others, but still be right near all the action.
I loved seeing all the ideas and the speaker for BWB did a great job explaining to us that Google is looking at creating something that is much more than just office space. It’ll be something for all of us, not just the people that work there, a place we would want to go to on the weekend, a place for a picnics, meeting friends for lunch, showing our out-of-town visitors, a place we feel connected to because we were some of the design thinkers who helped make it happen.
Ultimately, there are people designated to make the creative decisions about exactly what will be installed, but “thank you for spending the day with us and for contributing your ideas. We don’t want to just build more office space. We want to build a better community.”
I love Mountain View.