fredag 30. juli 2010

Description: Three spaces to do something

With phase 3 “spaces” we got to understand better each public space which we found out about in phase 2, how people use them, what are the favourites places and the less popular and why, as well as the ones people inside the community would chose to improve. We visited each site one more time and compared the feedback we had from the residents with our own perception and chose three of them: the Rotary court, the football court 2 and the Boxing Court.


Looking in and out of the Football 2 area, along the wall is full of trash

The old and abandoned library just opposite to the area

Location, appearances and its surroundings:
The football 2 court sits by one of the entrances to the community, and right behind the shop blocks along the Damrong Phiphat street. It is right in front of the former library and opposite to the kindergarten in the area most people call for ‘The buddha image side’. This empty space was once a popular gathering place and football court for teenagers and adults, but nowadays it has been become an abandoned area for drying clothes and parking food carts. The site is sometimes used by some children to play football, but it is mainly known for being the meeting point for the children addicted to sniffing glue. It has a concrete ground, and a broken steel mesh fence on 3 sides. The other side is a concrete wall belonging to the shops. Along the wall there is a strip of about 1m of width, where garbage used to be piled up. The garbage has been removed and it now has a bench and some free space. There’s one spotlight which is still working, but since there is no such a thing as public lighting, it is connect to a neighbouring house.

At the moment, the kids addicted to the glue seem to be the main users of the space, both during day and night. Other small kids use it to play football, but not regularly. A week before we left, a food stand opened taking over the space in front of the library, attracting new temporary users. Other users are the neighbours who park their motorbikes along the fence and the ones who hang clothes on the fence during the day.


Location, appearances and its surroundings:
The Rotary football area is located in between soi 2 and 3 of lock 1-2-3 and it is the natural meeting point for the community every time there is a big event. The lack of free open space within the locks has given the site the ´honour´ to become the hosting site for elections and thus known among most residents. It is also a popular meeting area for kids, teenagers and adults who come to play football daily.
The area has a square shape and consists of a football court and a community house. The building was built in the year 2000 by the Rotary Club and given to the community as a multi-functional building.
Nowadays it is just another abandoned building storing garbage from the residents. The building is a reinforced concrete structure with a steel structure roof. The roof tiles are broken at some spots. The building has sinked about half a meter towards the facade walls while the side walls are starting to tear apart.
The court area is a blue painted concrete slab used as playground and football court. Due to the nature of the ground and its proximity to the pond, it is uneven and it gets completely flooded every time it rains. The steel mesh fence on 3 sides encloses the area and offers 2 entrance doors on one of the sides. The court used to be locked during the mornings and the community leader was responsible for opening the area on the late afternoon, preventing the dogs to enter the court and pooing around. At the moment it is permanently open due to the community political situation. The area limits on the north with the pond and with houses on all the other sides
Another name used by the kids to refere to this area is Gong Sye which means Sand Hill.

The court is used daily by the adults from 5 to 9 pm to play football. The children used from 3- 5 when they are back from school. The Rotary is also the main venue for special occasions that require a lot of space such as Thai New Year’s Day ceremony, election, becoming a monk ceremony, etc. Dogs are also one of the major users here. They use the building to sleep and poo inside.


Location, appearances and its surroundings:
The boxing area is located on the north side of the community near the Thanon At Narong road and under the 3119 elevated highway. It is the main gathering point for small kids of the area as well as the training centre for teenagers practicing Thai boxing. This site is privately owned but its owner has opened it for everyone, so that kids can have a safe location to play and train.
The site features a boxing stage, some boxing equipment such as sand bags and boxing gloves, and an open area for the kids to run around. The stage has no ropes around making it dangerous to fall in between the gaps. The roof covering the stage has some holes and it get very wet every time it rains. The stage is made from mattresses stacking on top of each other and covered with vinyl fabric. The benches and plants are use to fence around the area. A small food booth just opened inside the area and has area for eating and a TV for adults to sit and watch while the kids are playing. The owners rent the area from a private company and make a living by renting the surrounding area for parking.
On one side of the area is the rail track with a broken fence and a big tree that gives shade to the area. On the other two sides there are the columns holding the expressway. Nothing is allowed to be attached to these columns in order to keep the structure safe. The boxing area also has a house for the security guard to take care of the parking lots and one ´public´ toilet.
Before the construction of the highways, it used to be a youth club. The actual owner was one of the members when he was young and he decided to continue it for the community.
This boxing area was said to be a famous boxing house and famous boxers used to come and train here. Unfortunately, it is becoming less popular as more resident boxer became drug addicts. Very few children come to train and most children just use it just to play.

The owners are always there as they rent out the car park and need to take care of it. The lady has also opened a food booth, so she is always around and having an eye on all the children. Most children who come to use the area are between the age of 4 to 12 years old. There are also some volunteers coming to do activities with the children such as a drawing workshop, story-telling etc. There is also an uncle who is the security guard of the parking lots. Other adults who are the friends of the owners also come here to eat and relax. Some others come also to train some of the kids.

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