Recap of Last Week
Last week’s session can be summarised by answering four basic questions:
Why do we want the Metro carriage? There are currently few safe spaces for teenagers (and adults) to hang out and socialise, particularly in evenings and on weekends.
Who should the Metro carriage be for?
• It should be for young people, but also other age groups, starting from toddlers, children (5-12), and older adults (50+).
• It should be for people with special needs (underprivileged/poor, mental health issues, with disabilities, young families)
• and special interests (creative, art & music, train enthusiasts).
• Besides this, it should also be for the general public (to meet people, take pride in carriage, people who are working 9-5)
How do we want use the Metro carriage?
• It needs to be a flexible space for anyone who wants to come there, providing different uses at different times (e.g. toddlers in the mornings, older people on the weekend, younger people in the evenings).
• It should be a joint initiative extension of the three community centres/charities, complementing and expanding their offer to the carriage, rather than duplicate what’s already going on.
• By being in a new and unusual space, it should also be different from what is going on in the community centre and reach new groups (particularly young people)
• It should be open late and on the weekends. Even if there’s no activities happening, it should be a place to hang out. Opening later might also reduce with vandalism.
• Innovative: renewable energy, solar panels perhaps on top of the food bank
What could happen at the carriage?
• A hang-out space to socialise: games, book club, movie nights
• Learning new skills: a library, bike maintenance, coding skills, art skills (see below)
• Mental health services: youth workers, support groups, counselling, sensory room
• Physical health: D-Fib, sexual health clinic, first aid sessions
• Art & craft: spray painting, music, heritage display, document the refit of the carriage as an exhibition, Involve North Tyneside art trail; For these activities, incl. spray painting, the carriage should not just be the space to do them, but we should also offer courses or trainings to develop artistic skills.
• Nature: gardening session, park, earth access ramp. We could fence an area off behind the carriage as a gardening space, so it is protected. The front side would be the graffiti wall.
For details of these ideas, see last week’s summary.
Other new ideas we had about the interior and features
• The interior needs to be adjustable: modular furniture that is replaceable or can be folded away.
• We could divide the space into three parts:
1) One half is an activity space that can be booked
2) The other half is a hang-out space with mostly seating and tables.
3) A small room for 2 or 3 people to talk about private matters.
• Sponsors or supporting businesses can get a plaque on the metro, in the design of a station sign
• Toilets: If the space is open late, we need a toilet, even if there’s no hospitality. The garden has a toilet, but you’d need access to garden. There’s also a toilet in the café, which is a separate entrance from main building. If this can stay open while the carriage is open, it might be a solution. Otherwise, there’s maybe the possibility to put up a portable or compost toilet.
• Woodwork barn at MWC: It would be great if they could build some of the furniture, they are quite busy though, so we’d need to talk to him. (Action Point)
• Involve the young people in both designing and building the furniture itself, which would give them the connection with the place and it’s also a training and education activity.
We also discussed the leaflet for the neighbours. We said to add an e-mail & and phone number. Sebastian updated the design (see image) and Mandi had it already printed and distributed to the neighbours.
Part 1: Draw your most or least favourite part of the Metro
We then moved on to draw some pictures. As a warm-up, we all drew a picture of our most or least favourite part of the Metro.
This is TJ’s drawing:
TJ’s least favourite part is the colour scheme of the Metro. The most favourite is the general overall shape and look. On the inside, he likes the retro look, which hasn’t changed much since when it was built.
This is Austin’s drawing:
Austin’s least favourite part are the windows. At the beginning of the week, they are in good shape, but then they get kicked out. Other issues are that there used to proper bins at the station, now they only have these plastic bags, and they break when you put a cigarette in. The third thing he dislikes are the ticket machines, they never work.
This is Seb’s drawing:
Sebastian’s favourite part is the view out of the train in the front. Now can’t sit there anymore, but it used to be a really nice place to sit. You can see what the driver sees, you see the rail and the greenery. He’d like to preserve the front seat experience.
TJ suggested to keep all the windows, as they give the carriage a lot of light. For the toilets and the small private room, we could put in frosted windows or blinds to have some privacy.
Part 2: What if... scenarios
Sebastian then handed out short “what if…” scenarios to think about completely different use cases for the carriage.
TJ: What if the carriage was a squat?
The prompt was:
A group of Meadow Well anarchists of all ages occupy the Metro car. They are self-governed and run the space democratically. They reject the police and other state authorities who have oppressed them for decades. They practice mutual aid, helping each other with whatever they need. Draw a picture of the Metro car as a squat. What does it look like inside and outside? Who goes there? What mutual aid do they provide? What else happens?
TJ chose this prompt, this is his drawing:
He interpreted it rather negatively. He drew smashed out windows and profanity written on the wall. There are old mattresses in carriage, with springs coming out, because he felt that squatters are notorious for breaking and vandalising things. He also pictured a person drinking and another one sleeping. Austin then suggested that yes, the outside would be smashed, but inside it's all personal and they keep it tidy. Since they lived there, they wouldn’t smash the windows, they’d probably board them up to stop the police from coming in. TJ admitted he may have had a wrong view about squatters.
Nevertheless, we had good considerations coming out of his picture:
Safety is important. If the windows are smashable, this is what can happen deliberately or accidentally very easily. Fire safety will also be important.
We discussed whether there should be graffiti inside or only outside. It would be hard to clean it or repaint it regularly on the inside. It might look very “common” very quickly. Spray painting in an enclosed safe is also not necessarily healthy because of the fumes. People will still tag with markers etc. but would provide a specific wall for that.
We also considered the idea of the Metro being an emergency shelter for people struggling with homelessness, or if there’s conflict in the family home. Austin argued that you would have to have someone there 24/7 for safety. TJ added we’d definitely need running water, electricity, food, a toilet, heating, and insulation. Most of these things we’ll need anyway, but it does add to the complexity.
Austin: What if the Metro was the parliament of Meadow Well?
The prompt was:
The Metro car houses the parliament of Meadow Well. The parliament passes laws in the interest of Meadow Well and its residents. Young people and adults run for election to become MPs in Meadow Well’s parliament. Draw a picture of the Metro car as parliament. What does it look like inside and outside? Who goes there? What laws are being passed? What else happens?
Austin chose this prompt, this is his drawing:
In his image the carriage has emptied out, all the original seating is removed. He drew two sides along the length of the carriage. On one side the adults sit, and on the other side the children and teenagers, facing each other. The adults have one person in charge, the children have two. There are more children in the parliament because the main reason it exists is for the children. There is a main speaker, who is from outside the area, because then he will be less biased. At the end of the train there are seats for local residents who can come and see what the local elected are doing. Age wise, anyone from 5 to 100+ can take part. The parliament makes rules of how the money should be best spent on the estate. The pass a law on drinking, establishing no drinking zones. They also create no car zones to protect the children. There’s also someone who speaks to Meadow Well’s local Parliament member every two months for updates. Every year new members are elected to the parliament.
The main consideration we took out of this drawing: Sebastian liked that how money is spent is decided democratically. For the actual metro, this is something we could include in the application. We can outline who will be making decisions? Since this should not be seen as only Meadow Well Connected’s carriage, there needs to be some form of joint decision making. Austin argued that to have the residents, including children and teenagers, involved as decision makers. If we want to make it for the children in Meadow Well, they need to have a say in it. Because otherwise they won’t turn up.
Sebastian: What if the metro car was a maker space for goods “Made in Meadow Well”?
The prompt was:
The Metro car is a hub for making local goods. Young and older local people become entrepreneurs or start co-operatives to generate wealth for the community. The label “Made in Meadow Well” becomes known nationally and internationally for high quality products. Draw a picture of the Metro car as a production space for local goods. What does it look like inside and outside? Who works there? Who buys there? What goods are being produced? What else happens?
Sebastian chose this prompt, this is his drawing:
In this drawing, he wanted to leave the front part intact. He liked what the Dale school was doing about a driving simulator. He also wants to put a driving simulator in the driver’s cabin, so that people can be trained up as Metro drivers.
He also left the front seats intact and then made a chill out space there. He’d keep the two seats facing each other, but put a table in between, so you can sit and drink, eat, work, or play. On one side of the carriage the doors are working, but on the other side they are blocked off to create more seating area.
Behind the chill out space there would be a classroom, teaching space, or activity space. There, we’d teach certain skills around, for example, how to start your own business? What do you need to learn, how do you register? How do your write a business plan, etc.
In the middle of the train, and was an idea he got from someone else, because there is this round bit, he thought we could put a round sofa or a semi-circular seating area there.
In the other half of the train, there would be workbenches, where you can actually make things. It’s a workshop with electrical tools, saws, screwdrivers, soldering, hammering, cutting equipment, and even 3D printers. And the back driver cabin is the toilet.
Considerations coming out of this drawing:
• Austin commented that the toilet won’t be big enough for it disabled person. TJ felt that maybe a big outside compost toilet might be a better alternative.
• TJ liked the idea of the curved seats in the middle.
• Austin suggested that if do curved seats, we could use underneath for storage. TJ said that that’s what they do when they build tiny houses. They use all the space possible for storage. There’s even stuff coming down from the ceiling, or any couch will have storage.