Canal Dream focuses on post-pandemic well-being, creative practice, and asset regeneration. First is well-being. COVID-19 has potential mental health impacts across the life course. And after the pandemic, there is an urgent need for comfort and recovery. The second is creative practice. The creative industry, among the most important economic forces in the UK, was hit hard by the pandemic. Freelance creatives need platforms to create and connect with society. The third is asset regeneration. Canal’s rich past, silent present, and beautiful metaphors are the reasons why I chose it.
A city editor said.：“Few things symbolise the way our cities are transformed better than canals.” The role of the canal has changed several times, from post-medieval as a transport system, to the Industrial Revolution, to welcoming a golden age, to declining in competition with railways and roads, and then to the growth of the leisure industry in the 1970s. Now, In this age of pandemics, these old assets can take on new roles, from transporting goods for industrial purposes to transporting well-being for recovery purposes.
Now, there are 2,000 miles of canals in the UK and nearly 9 million people live within 1 kilometer of canals and rivers. Also, this linear wetland is a valuable habitat for wildlife. This means that canals are so accessible green spaces. So I believe that the canal network has a huge hidden value in promoting wellbeing.
The city is an extension of the body. And the canal is an extension of the vein, they carry the tired people slowly forward, just as the veins carry the deoxygenated blood back to the heart.
In terms of research methods, I’ve combined the deficit approach commonly used in service design with the asset-based approach commonly used by local authorities.
Deficit approach: Start with Needs. Response to problems.
Asset approach: Start with Gifts. Believe in Potential.