WRITTEN BY CHRISTIAN BASON
– SPEAKER AT PRIX BLOXHUB INTERACTIVE SYMPOSIUM 21-22 MAY 2019 – LINK

We need to look beyond public-private partnerships and engage citizens in driving urban innovation

The main talk of my hometown, Sorgenfri, is currently our local shopping square. Or rather, the grand scheme to overhaul the square, which was originally laid out and built in the 1950s. The process has been ongoing for nearly a decade. At first, private entrepreneurs were given free reins to model and rebuild the square. Protests from local residents became so heated that the local government stepped in and – after a drawn-out political process – came up with a new scenario, literally named Plan B. Both residents and shop owners said no. As optician Peter Pico put it in the local paper: “We need a living square. The life on the square is our livelihood.”

The tale of Sorgenfri’s town square is as old as urban planning. Squarely put: We design public spaces to allow private companies to drive economic growth that, in turn, helps the city thrive. But perhaps it is time for a new equation, if we truly want to build a living city. Let’s ask ourselves not only which plans fit the overall design of the city or benefit economic growth, but what life we wish to design it for. How will a kid get from school to her after-school activity? How will a busy parent get from point A to B to C? Which facilities do senior citizens look for when they go about their daily routines?

The reality of city life is so much more complex than any plans that private entrepreneurs and local government can create on their own, even in a public-private partnership. In a time where we increasingly rely on expertise and “smart” technology to create our future cities, we urgently need a human intervention. Citizen-driven urban innovation will ensure that we include human values like empathy and creativity in shaping the future of urban life.

This is not an easy process, and it requires that decision-makers in both the public and private sector make the conscious decision to listen, include and iterate. But if we are willing to look, a number of cities are already paving the way.

An excellent example of direct citizen inclusion is the Buurbouw project in Amsterdam. When the city government decided to run a busy throughway directly through a low-income neighborhood, the Zuidoost district, designers saw an opportunity to develop the area and opened a dialogue with local residents to implement their ideas – from a pop-up trunk restaurant for construction workers to a community art project. This is the essence of a design approach: Putting people and their communities first and including a range of diverse voices in the process. As Dutch industrial designer and design thinker Kees Dorst puts it, “Design is about interventions that gradually change entire systems for the better.”

Other cities, like Barcelona and Seoul, have created innovation labs specifically designed for citizen inclusion, and the City of Montreal has even created a “listening platform”.

In my hometown of Sorgenfri, the local government has finally decided to open the dialogue and include residents in the next phase of their plans. They’ve even commissioned an external consultant to facilitate the process. It took a while. But, hopefully, the next town square will create life in Sorgenfri for many decades to come.

Links: http://buurbouw.nl/ https://gorkaespiau.wordpress.com/2017/03/14/listening-to-social-transformation-in-montreal/

13 Comments

  • I am the co-founder of JustCBD Store company (justcbdstore.com) and am aiming to broaden my wholesale side of company. It would be great if someone at targetdomain share some guidance . I considered that the best way to do this would be to talk to vape companies and cbd stores. I was hoping if anybody could suggest a reputable website where I can get CBD Shops Business Contact Details I am currently reviewing creativebeartech.com, theeliquidboutique.co.uk and wowitloveithaveit.com. On the fence which one would be the very best selection and would appreciate any assistance on this. Or would it be much simpler for me to scrape my own leads? Suggestions?

  • Shore Ditch says:

    This is a good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Short but very precise info… Thank you for sharing this one. A must read post!

  • Ef Deco says:

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Many thanks, However I am going through troubles with your RSS. I don’t understand why I can’t join it. Is there anybody else having identical RSS problems? Anybody who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

  • Howdy! This article could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept preaching about this. I most certainly will send this post to him. Pretty sure he’ll have a very good read. Thank you for sharing!

  • Tape Rocket says:

    This blog was… how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Thanks!

  • After I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the same comment. Is there a means you are able to remove me from that service? Cheers!

  • Hi, I do believe this is an excellent blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I’m going to revisit once again since i have book-marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.

  • Great blog you’ve got here.. It’s difficult to find good quality writing like yours nowadays. I truly appreciate people like you! Take care!!

  • I’m gone to inform my little brother, that he should also go
    to see this weblog on regular basis to take updated from hottest news update.
    adreamoftrains website hosting

  • webhosting says:

    This piece of writing is genuinely a nice one it assists new web visitors, who are wishing for blogging.

  • What’s up i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anywhere, when i read this article i thought i could also make comment due to this good paragraph.

  • Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyhow, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back often!

  • Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all folks you really
    know what you are talking about! Bookmarked.

    Kindly also consult with my web site =). We may have a link
    trade agreement between us

Leave a Reply