The Museum of Possibilities
What balloons have to do with civic engagement and open-source cities.
By Maria Popova
We love public space, that priceless petri dish of human interaction. It’s the lifeblood of any city, and the reason we left LA for New York. Unfortunately, much of it remains un- or underutilized, with cities failing to engage people in interacting with and in public space.
To prevent this disconnect when inaugurating its Quartier des Spectacles, the city of Montréal came up with an exceptionally inspired solution: The Museum of Possibilities — a wonderful daylong pop-up installation inviting visitors to share their dreams and visions for the future of the space by jotting down their ideas on pieces of paper and attaching them to colorful balloons.
Others could then vote on the ideas with stickers, collectively choosing the best visions for their shared space.
More than a mere art installation, The Museum of Possibilities became a playful yet actionable poll of public opinion, turning the possibilities into probabilities as the people of Montréal told their city, directly and tangibly, what they’d like to do with the space — a sort of physical, life-sized version of Give a Minute.
UPDATE: Per the comment below, the team behind the project has kindly stepped up: Melissa Mogiat, Mouna Andraos and Kelsey Snook. Find them and more of their fantastic work at Living With Our Time.
Published February 3, 2011