OS in community development

Birgitt Bolton birgitt at worldchat.com
Sun Aug 22 14:42:44 PDT 1999

Hello Oliver,

Open Space has been used in community development efforts since its
beginning and I think there are good stories in some of Harrison's books and
of course others might have their own stories to contribute here. One of the
things I don't think we do well as "an Open Space community" is to record
our stories so good for you that you are getting something published. I hope
you will share it with us.

As for writing this for a landscape publication, I will simply mention our
own interest here in combining Open Space with landscape architecture.
Virginia Burt, landscape architect specializing in spiritual healing gardens
here in Ontario,
Canada and I (working with Open Space Technology) have combined our passions
with some exciting results. We have recently presented our stories to the
Canadian Institute of Planners annual conference because the profession of
planners in general are hoping for better ways of public consultation and
engagement than they have used to date. At their request, we have written
our stories to be published in their journal I think in November. We'll
share that once it is out too. Anyhow, our stories to date are not many
although  we have intention to create many, many more together. Last
October, in Oberlin Ohio USA we conducted an OST meeting for the
stakeholders (about 75) of a spiritual retreat centre for the purpose of
informing Virginia about the issues and opportunities for a twenty acre
piece of land. I facilitated the meeting. Virginia was a resource person at
the meeting, sitting at a table with a map of the landscape and answering
questions throughout the weekend as well as making notations on the map as
issues and opportunities were identified. We came away from the meeting with
enough information for Virginia to do an incredible design and she was able
to fulfill our promise of having the design ready for them within 40 days of
their meeting (a real reduction in the amount of time usually taken for such
matters). They loved the design and are currently implementing it. We have
just received notice that the design (which highlights the process we used
to achieve it) is receiving an award of merit in Boston USA in September
from the American Society of Landscape Architects.

In May of this year, Virginia and I used Open Space with the military here
in Canada to enable Virginia to do a design for 102 acres of land at the
Royal Military College. We presented the design at the end of June and 95%
of it was immediately approved. Within minutes of the approval, the plan was
being shared with potential funders and being greatly praised. Because of
Open Space, several very difficult and conflicted issues were resolved and
the group that gathered were surprised that they had agreement on what was
to be done with their landscape. At the beginning we were given fair warning
that this likely would not happen because there was great attachment to
different viewpoints. We are doing stakeholder presentations of this
landscape design in September.

Using OST worked well with stakeholder community input to the master plans
that Virginia then created. The success is also attributed to Virginia for
listening to the outcomes of the Open Space discussions and incorporating
them into the plans. OST would not have worked if she had not listened and
designed in accordance with what she heard. Both stakeholder groups
commented on how wonderful and refreshing it was to have had the chance to
explore what mattered and to be heard and to see their topics of passion
reflected in the design so well.

I hope this helps you a little in making your case of using OST with
landscape architecture.

Warmest regards,

Birgitt Bolton of Dalar Associates
55 Ravina Cres., Ancaster, Ontario, Canada
 L9G 2E8
phone: 905-648-5775  fax: 905-648-2262

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Sunday, August 22, 1999 1:08 PM
Subject: OS in community development


Im searching for material about OS used in community development
processes for an article in a landscape planning  magazine.
Especially interesting would be information on projects that have already
sometime ago, where there is some information about the long term
outcomes available, too. Thanks  for answers
in advance.


Oliver Schrader
Lustkandlgasse 39/36
A-1090 Wien
Tel. ++431 3107018

More information about the OSList mailing list