TINSLEY OPEN EVENT AT THE OLD SCHOOL

This Tuesday, I attending an event held at the old Tinsley Infants School. It mainly includes range of arts and craft activities.

Tinsley Time and Travel-Stalls to show old maps and photographs or Tinsley’s unique archaeological history/treasure hunt stall/paper making.

Ignite Imaginations-medieval stamp printing

Bright toys-STEM based experiments.

Community run stalls-Haiku typewriter/crown making/picture colouring.

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The atmosphere was boosted in midday by a very entertaining Roma Dance performance!

 

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Even the BBC radio channel came to do some interviews. Since it is the start of the school holidays, the attendance was well received and people were willing to give out personal opinions on posters that we put on the walls.

As for me, I was able to engage and interact with the local neighbourhood community, first hand. An event like this allowed me to communicate with key actors of the community, those who are seen as leaders and social nodes for events and support, such as Yvonne Witter from Darnell Wellbeing and Nusrat Rashid who is seen as the ‘person who knows everyone!’ as well as being able to talk to the agencies opening stalls, various volunteers from the University of Sheffield and local schools, local mums (despite the english barrier) and small children.

In this even, I also saw a lot of familiar faces, people who I have spoken/interviewed before and I felt that I am part of the community when they came over to me to say hello, even though I am not from Tinsley.

As for the Tingas Project of Studio Polpo, this proved that there are definitely people in the community who is not ‘shy’ to attend community events, able to speak out and express their own voices.

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REVEALING UNDERLYING STORIES and PLACES

This Monday, I had an extremely intriguing conversation with the members of Tinsley ‘Pop Up ‘ Library, which included various volunteers and the person who manages the library from Sheffield City Council.

We began talking about the story of the library, from how it began in the Roundabout Centre, and then due to lack of funding, Sheffield City Council had to rent two shop units at the Highgate  Shopping Arcade for the new Library. 2 years ago, due to city wide budget cuts on library services and a break clause in the lease contract, the Tinsley Library was closed for 1 year and a half until the pop up library was opened in the Tinsley Forum this June, which is a small room located in the Tinsley Forum. Conversations began more interesting as we engaged with the volunteers which revealed ‘hidden’ layers, stories and prominent themes within the social and spatial context of Tinsley which related to their personal lifestyles, habbits and experiences.

Librarian Mapping-3-s

‘MAINSTREAM’ SYSTEMS AND FEASIBILITY
-Council run VS Community Run
-City wide budget cuts from the Council>transformation to volunteer run libraries
-Leasing contracts and tenancy.

 

THE LIBRARY’S IMPACT ON LIFESTYLE
-It was not just a place for books, but a community hub for social gatherings and events.

BARRIERS
-Language barrier—leads to employment barriers—Need to provide qualifications for low educated residents.
-Ethnical and Religious barrier
-Urban barriers—M1 Motorway/traffic issues
-Food barriers

 

SPATIAL+SOCIAL
-Public green space and potential green spaces
-Alternative spaces that COULD have been the new school
-Lack of public spaces for multi-use hire.
-Unpleasant and defensive public private realm.

 

PERPECTUAL TRANSGRESSION OF STRONG CORPERATIONS
-New Tinsley Meadows Academy on Tinsley Green
-IKEA on the doorstep
-Outokumpu proposal for 5 new steel distribution plants

 

EMERGING ALTERNATIVE ECONOMIES AS A RESPONSE TO A PROBLEM IN THE COMMUNITY
-Volunteering as librarians
-Litter Picking

 

HIDDEN STORIES AND ANECDOTES-(what’s underneath the iceberg?)-reference to JK. Gibson Graham
-School pupils are obliged to go to library afterschool to download worksheets from the internet.
-Local mums gathering petitions to prevent the construction of the New Tinsley Meadows Academy.
-Young litter pickers saying, “we need trolleys”, to put all the litter in.
-Routes, experiences and personal highlights of daily journeys to and from the library.
-The idea of moving the library to the school being rejected by the council.

 

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CYCLING, COMMUTING AND ‘WALKABILITY’

One of the main ‘complaint’s’ the local residents have on Tinsley is the reduced bus services and the re-organisation of bus routes that directs towards Meadowhall.  This can have both positive and negative consequences. For example, it encourages locals to increase the amount of walking in their daily routine, which can act as a time for self-contemplation or even fitting an extra chapter of audio book. However, after speaking to elderly local residents, they express that they find it more difficult to do their weekly groceries* shopping since they have to carry heavy bags for longer distances.
Although alterations in local bus services mean that Tinsley residents have longer walking distances to their closest bus stop which may have health benefits to some extent. My current mapping suggests that it has a more negative response than positive from public residents and staff working at the Highgate shops who commute from other areas of Sheffield. In my opinion, since Tinsley is surrounded by large ‘in-human’ scale industries in warehouses on one side and the M1 viaduct on the other, which according to Jeff Speck (2013), it is not very ‘walkable’. Having obliged to walk further to a bus stop in a ‘low walkability’ urban environment with high levels of air pollution does not improve quality of life. On the hand, having necessities such as food, public spaces, recreation etc. in close proximity can improve levels of walking since there is no need for motorised transportation as well as enhancing activities on local streets that improve walkability. From cycling around Tinsley, distances are not far from Meadowhall, Five Weir Walk and Magna Science Centre, but due to the harsh barriers of the M1 viaduct, car orientated infrastructure and lack of street level activity, walkability is extremely low.

BUS STATION

 

Ideas for mutual support:-
Taxi drivers and garages are common jobs amongst the men in Tinsley. Could their be a community based group that collects together taxi drivers who can drive local Tinsley residents for a cheaper rate or even a local carpool? Can garages fix up cheap cars for sale /unwanted cars to make a ‘fleet’ in which drivers who don’t have their own cars take up roles of drivers?

 

*Since there are no supermarkets within walkable distances from houses, residents either drive or take public transport to the closest supermarket(s); Aldi and Morrison proves to be most popular.

 

References:

Speck, Jeff. (2013), Walkable City, North Point Press; Reprint edition.

SOUNDSCAPING TINSLEY

 

From the 1950s, a part of Tinsley’s residential area was demolished to make way for the M1 Motorway and the two tier viaduct that started construction in the mid 1960s, in which Sheffield locals see Tinsley being dissected from the rest of the city.

VIADUCT-The City Engineering and Surveyor and TownPlanning Office Sheffield

DEMOLITION SATELLITE

Noise and air pollution have since been an issue for the local residents. With the fighting from the Tinsley Forum in the 2000s, a competition was held for a 5mile noise barrier along the M1 as well as having the local authority to plant trees as a noise buffer and improvement to air quality, despite being surrounded by previously industrial works which have grown into retail/tertiary sectors from the post-industrial period. However, the current health of the trees are poor due to lack of maintenance and inadequate spacing and from

Having spoken to local residents, I have discovered that noise and traffic is not a main problem within the community, since most of them say that ‘they get used to it’. This was similar to the findings in Port Talbot, South Wales, when I embarking on my Masters Architecture Project late last year.

 

Nevertheless, traffic noise on a Tuesday afternoon (non rush hour traffic), the roundabout on bawtry road racks up to 70-8-dB. In quieter areas, noise levels average constantly around 50db, going down to 40db on rare occasions. In tandem with sound mapping, I carried out a lighting analysis by using a lux meter. Overall light levels were fairly consistent, 2000-8000lux on an afternoon overcast sky, since there are no large structures that may cause intense overshadowing. Although, overshadowing does occur as you get closer to the Tinsley Viaduct, during later in the afternoon and into the evening.

SOUND LEVEL IN CAR

Reflections:-

-Is the Tinsley community aware of how serious (or not serious) the issue of noise and air pollution?
-Knowledge of physical and physiological health dangers.
-Should there be more community involvement in mitigating noise and air quality?
-Are there any physical or virtual tools that can be made from existing community skills to aid this?
-Effect on natural ecosystem?
-Automobile orientated infrastructure, causing in-human scale urban grain of surrounding industrial structures, how can bottom up interventions break these barriers?
-Traffic and decrease bus services does not improve walkability, and makes it more difficult for elderly residents. Are their new mutual support groups that can help? Ie. with the abundance of local taxi drivers, can there be a small group of drivers who charge a cheaper fee for Tinsley residents?

 

References:

History about the M1 Viaduct: http://tinsley.site/projects/tinsley-viaduct/

Joynt, Jennifer L. R. and Kiang, Jian. (no date), The integration of public opinion and perception into the design of noise barriers, A case study in Sheffield, [Research paper] School of Architecture, University of Sheffield.

SOLAR PANELS AS PART OF AN DIVERSE ECONOMY

As diverse economies and alternative economies tend to focus on ethical coordinates that respect and sustain our natural ecological systems of our environment, solar panels are considered an example of this?

Over the past few years in which climate change has been more of a concern, renewable energy sources are becoming increasingly common, especially solar panels retro fitted onto vernacular housing, either rented or invested by the homeowner or landlord. This reveals a mixture of intentions between the economic aims of solar panels, which is a combination of gaining a significant return on investment (saving of increasing energy bills) and care for the planet by not using non-renewable energy sources.

 

References:-

Plumwood, Val. (2002), Environmental Culture: The Ecological Crisis of Reason. London: Routledge, 2002.

Roelvink, Gerda and Gibson-Graham, J.K. (2009), A Postcapitalist Politics of Dwelling: Ecological Humanities and Community Economies in Conversation, Australian Humanities Review

Whatmore, Sarah. (2002), Hybrid Geographies: Natures, Cultures and Spaces. London: Sage Publications.

 

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