CUP 4 Creativity

Cultural Urban Platform to nurture creativity and fight digital loneliness

Edited on 05/01/2024

Project proposal by

  • Institution : Municipality of Újbuda (District XI of Budapest)
  • City : Újbuda
  • Country : Hungary
  • Type of region : More developed
  • Population : 150 000

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  • Project Partners


With the CUP 4 Creativity project, the goal of Újbuda (District XI in Budapest, Hungary) was to strengthen local communities by awakening dormant creativity. Through the project, culture and creativity were the means used to boost local communities and develop and expand the existing cultural and creative industries (CCI) ecosystem.


The project team worked with a large and diverse partnership, successfully covering the major stakeholders in the district: locals, NGOs, artists, university students and big business. The idea was to create links between not only individuals but also between different types of stakeholders.


The project’s major outputs were the Adaptér, INSERT platform and INSERT programmes. Adaptér is a creative technological knowledge hub whose mission is to take advantage of new cutting-edge technologies. It aims to bridge the gap between modern technological advancement and public knowledge. The word “Adaptér” is a telling one: it literally means “adaptation space” highlighting our constant need to grasp change.


The INSERT IT platform is a cultural creative resource management tool, which provides a framework to share skills, equipment and knowledge, to create an event, and through shared responsibility to form a community. The initial content was INSERT programmes which were new approaches to cultural programmes by the municipality or programmes to help bottom-up local initiatives. The project’s (un)official motto makes the desired user journey tangible: inspiration, education, creation.


What SOLUTIONS did the Urban Innovative Action project offer?


CUP 4 Creativity’s objective was to develop local communities and boost intersectoral links between different stakeholders. The aim was twofold. Firstly, to make event organisation communal via the INSERT platform, a creative cultural resource management tool. This framework has been powered by INSERT programmes, organised by the municipality or its support for bottom-up initiatives. 


Secondly, the project renovated public places and established a new institution where creative cultural activities could lead to new communities. Apart from Adaptér, this also involved MU Theatre, an association, to experience with new democratic-participatory theatre but they also provided our big business partner, BT, with cultural programmes. The same goes for Eleven Blokk, an artistic NGO, whose workshops were frequented by many individuals, and major companies.  

What DIFFERENCE has it made at local level?


The project has made a significant difference in terms of intersectoral connections: large companies such as Allee (a shopping mall) and BT have been integrated more into the local CCI ecosystem. Local NGOs and associations were also linked closer to each other to organise local events, such as Eleven Autumn.


Adaptér is not only an educational centre but also an integrator of local creative cultural and technological initiatives. Local communities have been strengthened through INSERT programmes. Thanks to the calls for bottom-up initiatives, new projects and local influencers surfaced whom we successfully organised into an informal network through shared workshops. 

What PARTICIPATORY APPROACHES have been put in place for the project?


On a management level, the project tried to make sure that the vast majority of the budget is spent after collective decision making among partners. On weekly, then bi-weekly, board meetings the majority of partners were invited to discuss ongoing processes within the project which provided everyone with an opportunity to be involved. Major investments were also decided on by the council. This shared management system has, however, its own boundaries. 


The CUP 4 Creativity project involved locals in multiple ways. Some new, innovative cultural programmes were organised by the municipality to enhance citizen participation. Private Stage was an event series that blurred the line between public and private by organising cultural events in places like apartments, a musical instrument shop or a co-working office. The content was provided by the UIA CUP team. This not only provided an intimate, more community-oriented experience but also involved SMEs in the process.


Other initiatives have been more explicit about participation. Szabad a tér was a public tender in which micro-local communities and NGOs could apply for small-scale funding to organise community events. Apart from the money, the project provided them with mentoring and also encouraged collaboration with other projects, hence they participated in each other’s project. This boosted bottom-up initiatives in the district.  


How does the project tackle different aspects with an INTEGRATED APPROACH?


CUP 4 Creativity has involved diverse partnership with a wide range of local stakeholders. It linked SMEs and large enterprises to local NGOs and creative cultural associations. The result was a strong support for local stakeholders by using the local ecosystem. It also meant economic benefits for local CCI actors. 


The social aspect has been strong from the very beginning. The key aim sparking dormant creativity to fight digital loneliness might have faded during the project implementation, however, the focus on local community building has remained the cornerstone of this project. This dedicated attention to communities has strengthened social cohesion and reduced isolation. 


As for the environment, several programmes had a strong focus on ecological issues. Ecology became one of the four overarching themes of Adaptér but it also reflected in INSERT programmes, for example, the plane tree project, which “recycled” cut down plane trees from Bartók Béla Boulevard through open workshops. The results were benches, insect hotels and street installations.

Why should other European cities use the solution the project explored?


The CUP 4 Creativity project accumulated a number of good practices that are worth adapting in different local setting. The project team can provide advice with regards to major investments such as establishing a creative technological knowledge hub or creating a resource management tool.


However, low-budget interventions can be just as useful as above-mentioned big investments. The mapping of CCI actors or the research on types of local people and behaviour patterns are useful starting points for any city development projects. Organising new types of cultural events and supporting micro-local communities’ bottom-up initiatives are also worth exploring with other cities. This all has pointed to a new role a municipality should take, as a local hub creator, an integrator and ecosystem builder, rather than a top-down authority.