A Participatory Park for the Red Cross

A Participatory Park for the Red Cross

urbz is leading a participatory landscaping process for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) through a series of workshops, walks, talks and exhibition. The end result will be a publicly accessible IFRC Park in the center of Geneva. 

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) invites staff and neighbours to participate in a landscape project that will reshape the exterior space of its HQ in Petit Saconnex. The HQ's plot comprises a lawn with a historical chalet and an Ecopoint; an urban forest with a rich vegetation; a rose garden; the terrace of the restaurant; and a street front. At the moment, these different spaces do not have a common concept. The intention of the IFRC is to connect them all, while preserving and enhancing the green cover. The project will explore ways of keeping the grounds open to the public while ensuring the wellbeing and safety of its staff and guests.

The urbz team is putting together a series of events aimed at staff and neighbors, which provide ample opportunities for interaction and feedback. The events include workshops, walks, talks and exhibitions. So far, nearly 50 interviews have been conducted with several staff, neighbors, collectives and associations including the (AHPTS), the artists collective Palais Feral, the Antenne Sociale de Proximité, Silviva and others. The process included critical and open conversations with people sharing their frank opinions, ideas and aspirations. The project team has also spent time on site observing and interacting with users. The questions focused on their existing uses of the shared spaces, their expectations for the community park. 

The future park is seen as a tribute to the historical presence of the IFRC in the neighbourhood and city of Geneva. The project also aims at exploring the pedestrian path between the IFRC and the ICRC and the International Museum of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. Interviews in the next phase will include institutions such as the churches, the mosque, the schools and the retirement home. Neighbors living in buildings directly adjacent to the park will also be invited to a presentation of the project and feedback session. Interviews will be conducted with a certain number of IFRC staff in Geneva and the field. 

The project includes an audiovisual documentation of the site and users. A minute-long teaser was produced and shared with all staff along with the poster announcing the Staff Party and Park project public kickoff. A website dedicated to the project has been launched. It provides information along with an agenda of events, a newsroom and visual content (photo, video, maps and illustrations).  It reflects the visual identity of the project that urbz created, including a logo and posters. In parallel the urbz team is analyzing the spatial, physical and environmental features of the site and giving count of the findings through a series of plans, which indicate the potential scope of the landscaping intervention. 

The full program and output of the IFRC project is updated regularly on a dedicated site maintained by urbz: ifrcpark.ch

Photos credit- Leonardo Vimos, Jeremy Pillet, Leonore Stangherlin and David Kajman