Together with its partner Concrete all-round creative and the city of Antwerp, Pantopicon engage in a project of design for social innovation. Its challenge is simple yet ambitious: How can we design simple, low-budget, scaleable solutions to enhance social cohesion in municipal neighbourhoods in a co-creative fashion?
In times in which cities attract ever more people, social cohesion is considered not only a challenge for the future but one already deeply felt today. It is a complex issue influenced by many different factors. One such factor in the creation and/or strengthening of social tissue is the degree to which people know each other. It is from this perspective, that Pantopicon and Concrete have set up an interactive, design driven process in which people from three different neighbourhoods in Antwerp will be engaged to inspire, co-create and reflect upon design-based solutions to enhance social cohesion in their neighbourhoods. While the eventual solution(s) are inspired by these specific cases, attention is also paid to the ability to adjust and scale them so that they can also be applied elsewhere.
Field research soon pointed out that a key catalyst in terms of enhancing the social tissue within a neighbourhood is getting to know one's neighbour. Yet for many people the threshold to engage in a conversation with one's neighbour appears steep. Streetstarters developed a series of design concepts, crafted to provide people with conversation starters.
MIOS stands for "Museum in our street" and is a toolkit developed in order to invite and stimulate people to show something about themselves and engage in conversation with their fellow street inhabitants. The kit consists of multiple elements, among which window-friendly stickers that allow people to a) showcase an object they'd like share with passers-by (e.g. about their hobby, their family, country of origin, sports, travels, etc.) and b) 'like' the contributions of others.
Although the project was developed in Antwerp, the MIOS kit is generic and can be used anywhere. Drop us a line in case you'd like to know more about the project or would like to give it a try in your own town!