Open Air Open House Credits

(Post by Dani Ahrens, Reblogged from

Picture1This is an attempt to thank all the people who made the Open Air Open House possible. A thousand apologies in advance to anyone I forget. Please comment with any corrections and I will amend the list.

In no particular order…

Clive made the wooden frames, rescuing the project from potential disaster. Check out his Engineering Futures project –

Helen helped with loads of sewing, good sense, ideas and inspiration. Here’s a fabby project she worked on earlier –

Boo, Jackie and Sarah of Space Place were gracious hosts for all our sewing, pinning and plotting. Space Place is a fantastic community initiative for the people of Hanover – see their page at

Simon, Tess, Morwenna and Jonah made the open house event in Scotland Street a great success and were stalwarts every week, shifting walls, laying out the red thread, making cakes, driving the van and supplying the famous zebra crossing. Simon’s thought-provoking write-up of the open house project is at

Pam made delicious scones and cakes and supplied the spots for the giant ladybird.

Steve was always there with the keys to the Hanover Centre when needed. His knowhow with hinges and sandbags made sure the walls stood up, even in the Coleman Street gales.

The Hanover Community Association were extremely generous with storage space, lent the essential astroturf,  and helped in thousands of other ways.  A community centre is an immeasurably precious thing. Join their facebook group at

Alexia contributed several brilliant ideas and was another completely reliable volunteer, turning out every week in a succession of fabulous hats.

Fiona made a whole section of ladybird, patching together old coats, jumpers and cushions with her own crochet. Check out her lost mittens project at

Pearl lent her sewing machine and sewing skills, to help create both the ladybird and the green landscape pieces, and was there to hold the fort when we needed her.

Leo, Benji, Tialys, Lula, Pearl, Morwenna, Sian, Daniel and Jonah demonstrated beautifully how quickly traffic-free streets can become playgrounds.

Sarah came to the rescue with her knitting machine, contributing a section of the ladybird all the way from East Hoathly.

Tammy helped with the preparations and with setting up for the Flashmob Gallery.

Rachel and Ralph were there just at the right moment in Coleman Street.

The Resource Centre was invaluable for printing and laminating, and kindly lent the sandbags that stopped the walls falling on our heads. We are lucky to have such a useful community resource in our neighbourhood –

Rachel’s artistic vision brought the whole thing together beautifully.  She took time out from her own work at short notice to reinvigorate the project with loads of ideas and commitment.

Shabitat kindly lent chairs, tables and cushions to furnish our ‘living room’ and make it a welcoming space for passers by to create art.

The Green Centre donated red fabric and yarn for the ladybird –

Emmaus donated loads of beautiful green fabric to help make patchwork landscapes –

Allie put planets in position all over town on her way to work each Sunday, and never even saw the house in action.

Hanover Action for Sustainable Living contributed some cash, for the things we couldn’t beg, borrow or steal –

Maureen, Sue and Kitty pinned and stitched, and provided much-needed good cheer when it all looked a bit overwhelming

The residents of Southover Street, Coleman Street, Scotland Street and Beaufort Terrace were generally very cheerful about us popping up outside their houses. Everybody who stopped by for a cup of tea, decorated a frame or made a tile helped to create the house – it was a collective artwork.

I’m Dani. I coordinated, planned, pestered, worried, measured, turned up and lugged stuff about. I came up with the idea in the first place and it was so lovely to see it come to life, thanks to the combined efforts of all these people.

 Thanks, everyone!

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Filed under Art, Hanover

Open Air Open House

For the last three Sundays  something interesting has been happening on the streets of Hanover. Devised by the Hanover Action ‘StreetShare’ group (who were behind last year’s Grove Street:Play Street initiative) the Open Air Open House set up a temporary inside out art and gallery space at different locations around the area.


Working on the same sort of theme as last year, much of this was about transforming our streets to open possibilities. Accustomed to them being mostly for the movement and storage of cars – although this is a fairly modern phenomenon – it is quite hard to visualise them as something else or to see how things could be a little different.

A mock up representing an indoor room was created and local artist Rachel Cohen populated it with art works made on the go – but being an ‘inside out’ event, the items produced were decorated frames rather than the works which could sit within them.

Set up in the street, the group didn’t seek a road closure, and cars were not restricted – although a polite sign at the end of the road was 100% respected. To establish a space and make it OK to be on the roadway, AstroTurf was laid out in front of the pop up house – it marked out the event and made it easy for cars to pass as they needed.

One unexpected result of this was the massive amount of play that took place. Last year in Grove Street, this was a big part of the event and was planned for. This year just restricting through traffic and encouraging people to sit on the carriageway brought groups of up to 20 children at once onto and around the street, playing tag and sardines.

Wouldn’t it be great…

Aside from the art event, the comment that kept coming was “wouldn’t it be great if it could be like this all the time” – meaning the light touch closure and astoturf.

With very little movement of residents vehicles and considering that many of our streets are too narrow to properly accommodate through traffic, how about a grassed area toward the centre of the street with no through access for motor vehicles? It would calm the traffic, encourage play and social activities on the street and may also reduce parking demand….Certainly something to think about….

The final event in this programme will take place at another undisclosed Hanover location next Sunday – a Flashmob Popup gallery featuring your art. Bring out your works and follow the red thread!


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Filed under Hanover, StreetsForPeople

Streets are for Sharing a bit more

Back in September, we did this:

The day included a ‘play street’ street closure (the first to take place in Brighton we think), and information stalls and activities on the street and in the Hanover Centre. Part of the plan for the day was to start a conversation – to get friends, neighbours and Hanover folk in general talking about our streets and how we want them to be.

During the day we tried out different ways to find out what people thought.

We left questions on the street….

… we dished out postcards for general comments, and we showed some films and talked some more in the Hanover Centre after the Play Street part had finished.

All of the words have been summarised, put on a pdf and can be downloaded here.

At the end of the day, everyone still around agreed that we should all meet and talk about ideas some more – see what we could take from the day and how it could be turned into action.  This meeting is on Friday (October 12th) 7.30 pm at the Hanover Centre.

Hope you can come

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Filed under Hanover, StreetsForPeople, Uncategorized


The main thing about the Streets are for sharing streetparty on Sunday was Fun. As well as this though, it was a chance to find out a bit about what people thought of the area and how it could/should/might be.

Inspired by this project from Candy Chang, one way of finding things out was a series of questions posted on laminated sheets along Grove Street and in the immediate area.

Here’s what people thought.

On Hanover Streets

“I would like streets in Hanover to be…car free, no cars, safe

“I would like to be able to…. scoot …. on Hanover Streets”

“I want to see… lots of people … on Hanover Streets”

On ‘my’ Street

“I would like my Street to be… a place to play, a place to park, a box, awesome

“I would like to be able to… be happy …on my street”

” I want to see… Old people and children, sunflowers, Russell Howard, less rubbish, wolves, The Fish of Aberdeen (a band), sharing, cakes … on my street”

On this Street (Grove Street)

“I would like to be able to… walk freely on the road, party, very fun fireworks …on this street”

“I would like this street be… car free!!, full of trees, fun, resident parking, safe, one-way, sunnier, child friendly

“I want to see… street play, more trees, horses and sheep, happyness, people smiling and chatting, butterflies, seagulls, flowers, look round and do things and walk, guinea pigs, penguins, pies… on this street”

Not sure about the wolves, but this mostly seems a reasonable batch of aspirations. Gathered from a few on a happy day it  doesn’t form a representative manifesto for the area, but there are themes with broader resonance, and the enthusiasm for the event and keenness shown to do it again sometime back up the organisers initial notions: that streets are for sharing, and Hanover is more than a car park.

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Look – We Made a Zebra!

Getting ready for the Hanover Streets are for Sharing event on Sunday (see last post for more info).

The day will involve a street opening (or street closure if you will) at Grove Street which will be filled with activity of many sorts, and a series of events in the Hanover Centre building and garden.  To get from one part of the event to the other involves crossing Southover Street, and to make things a bit easier all round, someone suggested a Zebra (crossing that is).

A trip to the pound shop, the hardware store and the spray paint shop and presto! Our trial run today – ably assisted by a passing oompa loompa – went well, though we need to wind proof it a bit more. The important bit is that cars all stopped as if it was the real thing!

Do come along on Sunday and give it a go. See this facebook place for more information

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Filed under Carfree, Direct Action, Hanover, StreetsForPeople

Hanover Streets are for Sharing

As well as looking at local growing, energy use and food, the ever clever people from Hanover Action for Sustainability (HASL) have been at work putting together a new initiative looking at sustainable transport and our streets.

Early thoughts have inevitably circled around car use – in two ways mostly: the impact of vehicle emissions on air quality/pollution and on carbon reduction/climate change, and the impact on our streets and quality of life from parked and moving cars, including; restrictions on children’s play, obstruction and noise and using up space which could have other community functions.

In September, the group will hold its first public event – ‘Streets are for Sharing’. This will include the closure (or opening up – depending on your POV) of Grove Street, and a host of activities and events going on in the Han0ver Centre.  The Grove Street activities will be mostly on a play street theme with an emphasis on children playing, street art and neighbourliness, and is (at least in part) inspired by the Bristol ‘Playing Out’ initiative, which sees regular temporary closure of streets to motor traffic and turning them into meanwhile playgrounds. The Hanover Centre events will be about information and will feature a ‘Human Library’ discussion and short films.

More than just a Car Park?

Many people in Hanover agree that our streets could be more than a dormitory for cars. The success of our alfresco events; Hanover Day, Zocalo, street parties… back this up, and there is also no shortage of ideas on how things could be improved. More street planting, better seating, bike parking, street art, peace and quiet, better lighting, cleaner pavements, street events, spaces for children….

One of the central aims of the ‘Streets are for Sharing’ day is to explore some of these ideas a bit more and see what the appetite is locally for taking any of them forward, turning them into fundraising targets, campaigns and such.

For more information about the day or the group, have a look at their facebook page. Oh – and if you are coming, don’t forget your tree!

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Hanover Gets About

Last September the council did a lot of doorknocking around here, asking us questions on local transportish things.   Below are some snippets which struck me and the link to the full report is at the foot of this post.

The full summary of the report findings is available here

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Filed under Carfree