Teleki square community park

name of project: Teleki  square, community design    
location: Budapest    
year of  design / realization    2013 /  2014    
area: 14.000  m2                
authors: Orsolya  B. Orosz, Árpád Kovács, Gábor Szohr, Dominika Tihanyi        
3D: Zita  Safranek

The aim was to turn one of the most disadvantaged public parks of Budapest - which once was busy a marketplace, that devolved into a barren ill-reputed crime ridden and functionless space by the 1980s – into a community park through a series of workshops spanning 12 weeks open for anyone to join.

The design method used was the same as to the one we would have followed in our office. Hence people taking part were truly design partners and could really take part in defining how they pictured their ownfuture. We used a variety of tools to bring the residents into the picture:lectures and discussions/debates, as well as on-site activities like interactive mapping, temporary land art installations and photo exhibits – onesused in Palotanegyed. This lead to the common ground in creating the concept of the park. Now the park acts as a ground where all park elements and activities serve to create again the once known openness, multiculturality, tolerance and receptivity of the area. The developed spaces: Forum, Event space, Community garden, Play gardens, Shady resting area and the Teen corner all serve as meeting places for all ages. The biggest outcome of the project was the foundation of Teleki Square Association 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.

Now they take action for realizing their common dreams/goals together and take common responsibility for the park that they feel is their own in a certain way. They develop their own programs such as the Garden Party closing the design phase ofthe process, and a Christmas Party also held in the then still run down Teleki Square, which gave evidence that dialogue and collaboration gives base to enablingpeople to take action in their lives. Teleki square was an exemplary project in other aspects too: especially in building trust from the side of authorities that helped open the way for a series ofparticipatory projects to arise throughout Budapest. Still the relatively short term participatory projects show – especially in the number of people they areable to involve – that a longer term and larger scaled durational approach (like the Palotanegyed project) should be incorporated in advance as a pre-rehabilitation phase in order to active people in taking part.