Institute without Boundaries

Projects Without Boundaries: History at Street Level

By John Furneaux

At a recent talk put on by the IWB, Ezio Manzini said, “Discovery of the idea of place, is about the experiences that happened within the place”. That got me thinking about how we can create a better sense of place by giving people a more visceral connection to their past. In an environment when culture is often overtaken by commerce and we are losing our streets to the global brands, which in turn weakens our sense of community.

One project I would love to do is give neigbourhoods a more tangible sense of history at street level. In particular to do this in neighborhoods that had a strong cultural impact on their city and now are neutered through gentrification and commercialization.

If we used Queen Street West as an example, this could be brought to life by combining existing technologies and environmental graphic platforms. The use of scrims and projection can allow the buildings to physically move through time – the businesses, the styles, the history of the neighborhood. Additionally by looking through their smart phones, people can see and hear the street come alive with the music, art, fashion and voices of the people who once made it community of culture.

Projects Without Boundaries is an IwB Blog column where design thinkers dream big.  Here they get to imagine a world without the constraints of budgets, bureaucratic red tape, voters, clients and maybe even physical limitations.  Each article will feature the dream project of one designer/design studio and an accompanying image.

As Managing Partner for Ove Brand|Design, one of Canada’s leading branding firms, John provides executive-level guidance in planning, strategic development and creative solutions.

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The Institute without Boundaries is a Toronto-based studio that works towards collaborative design action and seeks to achieve social, ecological and economic innovation. To learn more click here.

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