PARK LEK is possibly the first art project in Sweden that successfully managed to challenge existing plans for re-development of a residential area, and replace it with a constructive set of counter-proposals and guidelines for how the municipality could work with urban planning in the future.
For the duration of four years, from October 2010 – till May 2014, artist Kerstin Bergendal worked together with the local community. Not only did they propose and gain support for an alternative way to densify the neighbourhoods Hallonbergen and Ör, they also managed to change the way the city thinks and acts on issues regarding urban planning. This was done through concrete work with ideas and form, combined with “administrative activism” in Sundbyberg municipal administrations and the City Council.
PARK LEK started off with an invitation from Marabouparken art centre to think and reflect on the City of Sundbyberg’s green public spaces. The result consisted, among other things, of a subjective hand-drawn map of the area of Sundbyberg, presented in an exhibition at the art centre in 2010. This marked the beginning of the project’s next phase where Kerstin Bergendal was invited by the planning department of Sundbyberg to lead a parallel dialogue process regarding the densification of the two neighbouring districts, Hallonbergen and Ör.
PARK LEK part of a research project
The second and third part of the project was realised by the artist Kerstin Bergendal in collaboration with Marabouparken art centre and Sundbyberg City Council as part of the research project Collaboration on the Design of Public Spaces which was organised by The Public Art Council Sweden, The Swedish National Heritage Board, The National Board of Housing, and The Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design.
Completion in a bright pink room
The project’s final part, PARK LEK PARLIAMENT, materialized as a bright pink open space in Hallonbergen Shopping Centre, where discussions and workshops were conducted in full view amid the shopping centre’s other visitors. At the end of the project in May 2014, the municipal government in Sundbyberg, made the principal decision to use proposals, as well as the working methods of the PARK LEK project in their future work with the urban development.
After four years, the artistic heritage left by the PARK LEK project, to the city of Sundbyberg consists of: fifty filmed interviews with more than 140 participants (for the whole project more than 300 people participated), an accumulation of perspectives on the districts, gathered in a layered map of Hallonbergen and Ör, and a new public platform for discussion in Sundbyberg named PARK LEK PARLIAMENT.
Last but not least the artist handed over a set of guiding principles that can serve as a recipe for increasing local democracy in urban development:
Utopian thinking as planning method.
Accumulation of perspective, rather than streamlining.
The skills of life lived.
Address: Who am I talking to?
Conflicts are part of the work – and can be a good thing.
Time! Time! Time!
Read more about the project at: www.parklek.com
Kerstin Bergendal awarded Broder Ejves Scholarship 2014
Artist Kerstin Bergendal has been awarded Broder Ejves Scholarship 2014 for the PARK LEK project, where she used herself as “cross-runner” between groups of people, places, and governance models. The scholarship is awarded by Konstfrämjandet.
About the artist – Kerstin Bergendal
Kerstin Bergendal is known for large-scale interventions and participatory projects that map the participants thoughts and ideas regarding their local surroundings. Trough a structured, yet intuitive process – different groups are presented to each other in order to engage in dialogue about local urban development plans. In this way the artist, in her practice acts as a catalyst for new ways of thinking regarding urban space, design- and building processes.