Thinking Ports

After visiting Osdorp Plein yesterday, the next step will be to make the jourey from there to one of the many factories situated within the Ports. This will be documented by pictures which will be used to show the partcipants of the workshop what the journey to and from work would be like. The findings will also be used to show the employers the problems and issues that need to be addressed within the journey.

After I arrive at the factories I will be allowed to photograph the work that happens there, the environment and the staff…I have to think about the information I want to get from the factory workers – what questions am I going to ask them?

Analysing the stakeholders are key at this point as I am also in a foreign country I am unfamiliar with the cultures and behaviours of those around me. For instance, many of the females who live in areas such as Osdorp Plein live very much within thier comfort zone, always staying within a short distance from their home to travel to the shops or to collect their children from school. The huge cultural difference in this country is that everybody rides a bicycle, and in most cases it is unnatural for other countries to use a bike as their first mode of transport. Dutch children are brought up riding bicycles and ice skating from a very young age.The people who inhabit these areas were not all raised in Holland, so riding a bike to and from work would be strange for them too!

The males within these families often drive cars to take the family on holiday or drive to work. Therefore, they are more confident at venturing out with their comfort zone. Although, they often feel uncomfortable at the idea of their wives venturing far away alone.

Holland is typically viewed as the cycling nation of the world, this means that politicians do not perceive cycling as a ‘hot topic’. The car drivers here are used to sharing the roads with many cyclists. However, if you live in Holland it is likely that your bike will get stolen up to twice a year. This makes it clear to me why many young, stylish people are cycling rusty old bikes!

Politicians in other countries pay huge attention to cycling. In Paris the city provides a ‘Rent-a-bike’ service, watch a video about it here. Similarly in Barcelona, Madrid and New York the issue of cycling is important.

So I have to find out how these people perceive cycling. I also want to learn about the dynamics within their family. My visit yesterday highlighted that the majority of the women living here are mothers, which greatly influences their choice of work. How do they view issues such as skills, money, support and ambition? And how do they keep in touch with their husbands when he is at work? What would they ‘need’ from an employer?

Initial thoughts surrounding an outcome I could achieve in the short time I am with Design Thinkers, is a little book. A book that could be distributed amongst these communities showing the nature of the jobs available, the journey to and from work, the benefits of working there etc…all through pictures!

When I visit these factories I want to photograph the things people think about before starting a job, the kind of things everyone thinks about but no one ever asks…such as..

What the front door looks like? What the receptionist looks like? Where are the toilets? Are there vending machines? Is there a canteen? What are the other staff like? Are there public phones available for use by staff? What kind of work happens there? What does the place you work in look like? What is the uniform like? What can you hear when you are working? machines? talking? radio?…