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The proposed Hands-On Famagusta Website is an indispensible part of a series of actions that aims to work towards the creation of a unified contemporary metropolitan area of Famagusta by using urban design tools as facilitators for creating a common ground amongst Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. Such endeavor is taking place on three levels that are dynamically interconnected.
The initial level is a preliminary urban development study of Famagusta. A parallel level here is a collective platform consisting of Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots called Imaginary Famagusta (I.F.). Also, at an international level, there is a research through design dimension regarding the role of urban design in contested spaces.
All three levels constitute a complex urban design approach that aims to address issues of conflict within the heart of city making. More precisely, such approach provides useful tools to the stakeholders to enhance a creative participatory process managing conflictual priorities. Further on, it produces new means of representation of the actual Famagusta to inform the mental maps of the stakeholders and start a gradual development of a common ground.
Numerous activities of the actual project are being launched. The Hands-on Famagusta website proposed for ‘Mahallae Challenge 3: Common Vision for the Future’ emphasizes the need to assist public debates about Famagusta’s future. Within this scope, three strategies are developed for the vision of a Metropolitan Famagusta as a common ground to insert private memories. Those strategies are defined as Destinations in the Website:
Imaginary Famagusta Destination Waterfront
Imaginary Famagusta Destination Ecocultural
Imaginary Famagusta Destination Infrastructures
Extra destinations to support the common vision are possible to add as the project evolves. Each one will become a story telling tool for the users.
The Hands on Famagusta website will be set on these three strategies as an underlay on the 3D Digital Model to generate discussion of an integrated Famagusta region. It will be configured in layers of complexities which will unfold with additional support. A participatory approach is adopted, as user input will be collected through an interactive interface through which by inscribing personal input, the user will experience the virtual consequences of their choices throughout the unified digital Famagusta.
In addition, the website will have links to other initiatives regarding Famagusta.
Step One: Create the 3D digital model that will be produced by site and images survey for the Hands on Famagusta Project. Step two: Design a playful interface that allows users to interact with the map, get info about the most important landmarks of the city, upload pictures, memories or comments and verify the accuracy of information already on the map. This map can then serve as a sort of an ''analysis of the existing condition' map to support the next phase. The website interface will be intensively using iconography to be more accessible and avoid the possible language barrier for users. Step 3: Workshops will be used to create and evolve the design tools. The accessible interface at the website will allow users to see how a specific strategy can alter the urban fabric. Users will be part of the process of developing the Imaginary Famagusta with the ability to vote, comment or alter a specific strategy.