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  • REFILL

    Timeline

    Kick-off meeting in June (Amersfoot). Transnational meeting in September (Cluj Napoca).
    Transnational meetings in March (Helsinki), September (Ostrava).
    Political event in March (Athens). Final event in April (Ghent).

    Municipality of Athienou
    2, Archbishop Makarios III Ave.
    7600 Athienou Cyprus

    CONTACT US

    Municipality of Santiago de Compostela

    CONTACT US

    Municipality of Udine (Italy)

    CONTACT US

    For any enquires into Tech Revolution, email: DMC@Barnsley.gov.uk

    Keep following our social media channels as we develop Tech Revolution 2.0 as part of the second wave of URBACT ||| Programme. 

    Follow our Twitter: @Tech_RevEu
    Follow our Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/urbact-techrevolution/

    CONTACT US

    Coordinator

    ADDRESS

    Av. Movimento das Forças Armadas

    2700-595 Amadora

    Portugal 

    TELEPHONE

    +351 21 436 9000

    Ext. 1801

    CONTACT US

    City of Rome

    tamara.lucarelli@comune.roma.it

    Department of European Funds and Innovation

    Via Palazzo di Città, 1 - 10121 Turin (Italy)

     

    CONTACT US

    Câmara Municipal de Lisboa

    Departamento de Desenvolvimento Local

    Edifício Municipal, Campo Grande nº25, 6ºE | 1749 -099 Lisboa

    CONTACT US

    urbact.civicestate@gmail.com

    CONTACT US

    Laura González Méndez. Project coordinator.

    Gijón City Council

    CONTACT US

    Municipality of Piraeus

    CONTACT US

    City of Ljubljana

    Mestni trg 1

    1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

    CONTACT US

    Project Coordinator Martin Neubert

    +49 371 355 7029

     

    CONTACT US

    Riga NGO House

    CONTACT US

    City of Antwarp
    Grote Markt 1 - 2000 Antwarpen

    Manchester City Council
    Manchester M2 5RT

    City of Rotterdam
    Coolsingel 40, 3011 AD Rotterdam

    City Council Bielefeld
    Bürger Service Center
    Phone +49 521 510

    CONTACT US

    City of Eindhoven
    Stadhuisplein 1, 5611 EM Eindhoven

    City of Loulé
    Praça da República, 8104-001 Loulé
    Phone +351 289 400 600

    CONTACT US

    City of Igualada
    Plaça de l'Ajuntament, 1, 08700 Igualada, Barcelona

    CONTACT US

    City of Ghent
    Stad Gent
    Botermarkt 1
    9000 Gent

    In many European cities one of the positive side effects of the financial-economic crisis is the growth of innovative forms of solidarity and commitment at local level. This Action Planning network pioneered, in terms of bottom-up civic initiatives, by co-creating solutions for social challenges in an urban context. Cities are often perceived as a laboratory and governments are no longer the only actor to solve complex challenges faced in cities. Therefore, temporary use is a powerful tool to make our cities "future fit". Since the concept of temporary use is interacting with many other urban dynamics it creates the right environment for social innovation to develop by: exchanging and evaluating of local supporting instruments; ensuring long lasting effects of temporality; building a more flexible and collaborative public administration.

    Reuse of vacant spaces as a driving force for innovation at the local level
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  • REFILL@LILLE: Policy Design Labs and URBACT exchange networks

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    15/11/2022

    How civil servants from Lille Metropole benefited from the experience of URBACT REFILL network to shape a roadmap to set their temporary use policy. 

    Articles
    Abandoned Spaces

    The first part of this article (see REFILL@LILLE, PART 1) showed the policy design lab approach of the Metropole of Lille (FR) to kick-off support for a Working Group on Temporary Use. The second part focuses on how civil servants from Lille Metropole benefited from the experience of URBACT REFILL network.

    Learning from inspirational practices

    The field experience of settling a “temporary public policy design lab" only scratches the surface of the problem of more than 5,000 vacant spaces on the territory and the appetite local stakeholders have for temporary use. But, immersion is worth 1,000 words: the Metropole civil servants do not usually address a new project in this way! By acquiring a significant experience of the problem, they are ready to explore and analyse other temporary use experiences in France and Europe. A wealth of case studies awaits from sixty local and national examples, as well and many European references conducted across Europe for three years within URBACT "REFILL The City" including 10 European cities: Ghent (BE), Athens (EL), Amersfoort (NL), Bremen (DE), Cluj (RO), Helsinki (FI), Nantes (FR), Ostrava (CZ), Poznan (PL) and Riga (LV).

    A temporary roadmap

    Building on the Roadmap to temporary use tool (from the toolbox produced and made available by the REFILL network) helps the establishment of a practice of temporary use in cities. This roadmap represents the “city of REFILL”: a virtual city that would combine the best practices of the 10 participating cities.

    Different neighbourhoods represent the different major steps of the establishment of a temporary use practice: a "zone of cultural, social, entrepreneurial" candidates for temporary use; an "administrative district" dealing with legal, technical and safety; a "district with support services” to temporary use; etc.

    A circular road connects each of these neighbourhoods, suggesting about fifteen milestones as "mapping the vacant spaces":
    - "Analysing the supply and demand";
    - "Building the political support";
    - "Developing a new temporary use value creation model"; etc.

    Unlike a framed method, the REFILL Roadmap is like a tourist map suggesting different possible itineraries each city must choose, starting with the most pertinent actions, organising its progress in the local context and creating its own route.

    The forming lab ambassadors discussed the implications of each example, gathering in small groups to fill in an analytical framework. After the field immersion, the lab consolidated and enriched its understanding of temporary use.

    A pitch presenting a first rational of temporary use applied to the Metropole supported by a series of examples was recorded in the form of a short video. The film raised awareness about the many vacant spaces, the costs incurred for the public authority, and showcased temporary use as an opportunity with potential to host social, cultural, entrepreneurial initiatives - bringing people together, revitalising neighbourhoods, experimenting urban development projects and so on.

    Sparking political attention

    Thanks to experience and research, the Metropole forming lab had got a good idea of ​​the challenges and opportunities for temporary use public service, putting together a kind of "service desk" of knowledge open to all. To create a solid launching pad for the future service, the Metropole required a large-scale demonstration project, drafting and accelerating the service and likely to convince at political level.

    Inspiration then came from the city of Riga, REFILL network partner. Elected Capital of Culture in 2014, the city was experiencing a strong economic crisis and did not have the necessary infrastructure to host such an event nor the means to build them. The city made a collaborative agreement with a group of urban activists, squatters and actors of the cultural scene taken via the association Free Riga. The plan? To start a practice of temporary using vacant spaces to host the programming of its Capital of Culture! The urgency to find spaces to showcase the vibrant Latvian art scene helped to overcome the political cautiousness and set a precedent on which to build for all stakeholders.

    The European Metropole of Lille will be the World Design Capital in 2020. The Metropole’s application was selected because it offered an ambitious territorial transformation through design, based on a call for innovation projects by the design of a set of social themes and particularly the emergence of design applied to public policy.

    Although not comparable in all respects to the context of Riga in 2014, Lille Design World Capital 2020 seems to be a potential "launching pad" to install the practice of temporary use in the territory. More than 450 Proofs of Concept (POC) are announced in the territory for 2020. The POC is a key step in the design process allowing a light experiment to demonstrate viability of a concept before further developing the project.

    The Metropole lab and the Working Group for Temporary Use have taken up the REFILL toolbox and co-constructed their own route towards the implementation of temporary use.

    • First, the creation of a series of temporary use spaces during the Lille Design World Capital 2020. To do this, the ambassadors of the forming lab and the Property department identified a first group of 20 potential spaces, visited and documented the most promising and put together a first online catalogue of options. In parallel, they explored contracts, which services to provide and how to assess the proof of concepts of temporary use during 2020.
       
    • Secondly, (after an assessment a year in) a policy of temporary use at the Metropole of Lille is to be established. This step includes the registration of "temporary use" in the territorial development and patrimonial valuation strategy of the Metropole, completing the online catalogue of vacant spaces and the establishment of a mediation service between supply and demand (technical and legal tools, financial support, etc.) internal or outsourced to a third party.

    Conclusions

    This experience allows us to make some assumptions of mutual enrichment between the URBACT approach (networks of towns sharing at European level on a specific challenge in terms of public policy creating an action plan) and, secondly, the approach of co-construction a public policy design lab (based on an innovative action-training process based on pilot projects).

    The capitalised experience of 10 cities over a period of 3 years from REFILL network has accelerated the process of reflection of our Working Group for Temporary Use.

    The organisation of the network deliverables in the form of a modular toolbox, together with a wide range of case studies (all articulated in the form of an open roadmap) was immediately actionable by a third city. Mediation transfer by an actor involved in both REFILL and the Metropole’s lab is a facilitating factor.

    The existence of a public policies design lab in the Metropole’s administration helped seize the REFILL network’s experience faster and more efficiently.

    The lab’s ability to partially overcome the slow decision-making and reporting processes and at least initiate a first experiment extends the co-construction process to stakeholders, making it immediately actionable.

    The public policy design lab and URBACT methods have an integrated approach in common, as well as the involvement of an ecosystem of stakeholders committed to co-design and public policy programming. The lab approach adds field experimentation, a key step in the design process to simulate and test each action of an action plan before its deployment on the ground. Its benefit is on the one hand, to test and improve each action and on the other hand to involve the actors and trigger its implementation.

    The exchanges about a wide range of "inspiring cases" collected through REFILL helped initiate the strategic conversation among stakeholders in Lille and identify what they consider a good practice for their situation and seize an opportunity such as the Lille Design World Capital 2020.

    The examples of Ghent and Riga, even if they are from different socio-cultural contexts, comfort the actors in the idea that if it is not a given, it's possible since others have already done it.

    Finally, the partnership with the European Metropole of Lille proves the usefulness of lessons capitalised by an URBACT network such as REFILL. It validates the methodology and tools developed for the workshop: “Make your own path to the temporary use” at the URBACT Festival in Lisbon in September 2018. It also heralds the arrival other REFILL development processes, like the one initiated with the City of Brussels and Brussels at the end of 2018.

    Know more about reusing vacant spaces on Remakingthecity.urbact.eu!

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  • Varna - Integrated Action Plan

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    15/11/2022
    The case study on Amersfoort (The Netherlands) is one of the concrete results of the URBACT workstream ‘Social innovation in cities’, after collection of data, a study visit, and interviews with local stakeholders. It explores the practice the city put in place to engage with citizens and optimise public services, actions implemented, achievements and challenges, success factors, and conditions for transfer to other cities. The first part of the case study summarises the key points of the practice, while the second part (analytical template) provides more details for those interested in transferring the practice to their local context.
    Articles
    Culture & Heritage

    The involvement of Varna in the Interactive Cities network, within URBACT III programme, provides huge opportunities to exchange international innovation practices for governance and citizens’ participation.

    The IAP of Varna, elaborated according to the Programme Guidelines is based on the existing strategic documents at local, national and European level. On the grounds of SWOT analysis of the city context, SEO of institutional websites and survey about the visibility of Varna, the key stakeholders, members of the Local URBACT Group, defined 4 main challenges:

    • Weak online visibility of Varna as a year-round destination;
    • Lack of an integrated approach in the promotion of Varna as a business destination;
    • Ineffective internal communication and technical capacity;
    • Poor engagement of citizens in the process of city promotion and branding;

    Collaborating actively for two years, making use of the instruments of URBACT III and the transnational experience of InteractiveCities network, LUG, city administration and local business elaborated an IAP with the main strategic goal to improve the online visibility of Varna as a year-round tourist and business destination, achieved through:

    • Promoting resources, products and services to attract visitors during the low season;
    • Improving interactive communication with the business;
    • Improving the internal communication and technical capacity of the municipality;
    • Encouraging active citizenship;

    The IAP also incorporates concrete activities, funding opportunities, Effective communication index and useful information, illustrated through infographics and pictures.

    Some of the indicated activities to address the local challenges and meet the ultimate goal are as follow:

    • Development of a defined marketing strategy for the destination Varna;
    • Targeting international organizations for organizing events and conferences in Varna;
    • Improvement of the digital literacy in the tourism sector and city administration;
    • Optimization of existing digital channels for communication with citizens and guests of Varna;
    • Expansion of the services and activities provided by the local Tourist Information Centre;
    • Establishment of a strategic business development unit and development of packages for investors;
    • Creation of a business portal and event platform;
    • Creating a culture of sharing and using open data;
    • Implementation of modern models for coordination, exchange and channelling of external and internal information;
    • Promotion of civic participation through participatory budgeting modela.

    Along with the indicators to measure the expected results, the plan includes a specially designed Index for effective internal and external communication, based on 10 criteria for evaluating the progress in communication efficiency, an important prerequisite for increased visibility and promotion of the city of Varna.

     

    The time frame for the implementation of IAP activities is generally 3 years, however, some of them will have their effect long after.

     

    Municipality of Varna

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  • Experimenting with governance

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    15/11/2022

    Innovative governance work is notable is several of the 97 URBACT Good Practices. Common themes emerge around how cities are beginning to innovate. Firstly, how they relate and connect to their citizens. Second, how they build new alliances with a wider range of organisations. Thirdly, how for innovative practices to truly function, significant internal change is required from government organisations.

    The roots of modern European governance

    Articles
    Abandoned Spaces

    Governance systems currently in place in much of the European Union were first developed in the 19th Century as the industrial revolution unfolded.  Some aspects have changed but often the essential form has remained the same. ‘Management’ as Manfred Weber first documented is bureaucratic and based on rules and procedures, which are systematised through reports, signatures and files. This written paper culture still informs the way of doing business in much of the public sector, even in countries where digital technologies are most advanced. Although flatter hierarchies are now the norm in some countries, elsewhere, rigid hierarchies and promotion based on seniority limit the potential and creativity of younger staff. Everywhere, departmental and professional boundaries restrict our ability to tackle complex problems in a holistic way.

    Key characteristics of the old 19th and 20th Century economy were industry and urbanism. Local government responded to these new needs by developing forms of governance that were essentially paternal, aimed at a newly urbanised working class. Their main drive was to deliver healthy enough conditions, enabling a working population to make new industrial products in the workshops of the world. 

    Changing governance to meet dynamic cities

    URBACT challenges such ways of working by proposing integrated and participative approaches. But these are often superimposed on the old structures so that although some relations with the outside world change, the internal organisation remains the same.

    In the 21st Century we are slowly beginning to see the emergence of new forms of governance that rebalance the relationship between government and citizens. Instead of redistribution through the raising of tax and the delivery of public services we see the notion of coproduction that puts the service user at its centre. Instead of a one-service model for everyone we see the emergence of personalised models that fit around the individual. But the new coexists with the old and there are inevitable tensions between the paradigms.

    Many of the good practices presented at the URBACT city festival illustrate facets of this emerging model of governance. They range from changing internal ways of working, to how the municipality reaches out to citizens through new forms of regulation for common space. 

    Naples, civic cultural success

    Nicola Masella from Naples explained how active civil society movements had taken over vacant and derelict buildings owned by the municipality. Initial success then provoked a reflection inside the city about how this ‘temporary use’ could be organised on a more regular basis, and what form of regulation was needed to facilitate this process. Naples provides and excellent example of how regulatory change can quickly stimulate new activity within the city. Inevitably this activity generates more growth and activity. Here are signs of real change, in other times the response would have been to insist on eviction and increase the security of empty buildings, at cost to the public purse.

    By revisiting the notion of civic use, the good practice proposed by Naples city council aims at guaranteeing the collective enjoyment of common goods. These common goods can be cultural and natural heritage, essential public services, public spaces and water resources. Through its willingness and use of its administrative process the city has strengthened civic participation and enabled the fair use of common resources while at the same time allocating clear responsibilities for maintenance and management.

    In particular, Naples aims to make spontaneous, bottom-up initiatives recognisable and institutionalised, ensuring the autonomy of both parties involved: the proactive citizens and the institutions.

    How it works in Naples: Filangieri Asylum

    The first common good to be recognized was the former Asylum at Filangeri, Naples, a complex that in 2012 had been occupied by a group of art and culture professionals protesting against the restoration and recent abandonment of the premises. The city council acknowledged its civic use in a resolution in 2012 which recognised the building as a “place with a complex use in the cultural field, and whose spaces are used to experiment in participative democracy”.
    Re-use produces high social and cultural value as well as generating positive economic externalities. Uses must involve not only the users of the space but the whole neighbourhood and the wider city. In return the administration contributes to the operating expenses to ensure an adequate accessibility of the property and general safety conditions: maintenance, cleaning, electricity consumption and surveillance. An ah-hoc unit on the technical level, and a political coordinator are in charge of promoting and fostering an integrated approach particularly, between municipal departments involved and other institutions or agencies.

    The facility in its new form has to be free and inclusive, i.e. it must guarantee access to all. Finance comes from donations, voluntary contributions, self-financing and other forms of social pricing, which is permitted for cultural events. The management model must be based on a strong participatory process. In the Asylum Filangieri three different structures manage the building the "Management assembly", the "Steering assembly“ and the “Board of Trustees”. Each has its own distinct remit.

    Since the passing of the regulation in 2012 there have been more than 200 weekly open meetings held in the Asylum Filangieri. Working groups are formed as necessary for implementation and over 900 events have been produced with attendance of 18 000 people. The venture has strengthened community cohesion by building bonds between citizens, and has narrowed the gap between artists, academics and citizens.

    A second resolution in 2016 recognised a further seven public properties as “relevant civic spaces” and as “common goods”. These facilities have generated 5,800 activities 1,500 days of theatre, dance and music rehearsals; 300 exhibitions; 250 art projects, 300 concerts musical groups plus as many rehearsals and 350 debates. An estimated 200,000 citizens have taken part. In addition, the community-based organisations have provided a range of free services including training for the unemployed, a neighbourhood nursery, schooling for migrants and health services.

    The Naples approach puts empty buildings at the service of the community and allows the community’s creativity to flower in a new setting.

    Umeå: Governance from a new perspective

    The city of Umeå, in northern Sweden has taken an innovative approach when working towards a more gender-neutral cityscape. Unlike other governance innovation schemes the city has chosen to look broadly at the governance perspective and work towards dismantling a male lead system that precludes the needs and wants of almost half its population.

    The city’s municipality began by focusing on how the city works from a gendered perspective. Their practice is to take citizens, policy makers and visitors around the city on a bus tour during which issues facing women and men are explored by visiting different sites in the city and examining them with gender in mind. Interest was ignited when work began on a long pedestrian underpass, used to access the train station, the Lev. This was redesigned with gender equal safety in mind and so is better lit, wide, with no corners behind which people can hide. The main aim of the tour is to view the overall city space and highlight the need for collaboration when creating new, safe, inclusive environments.

    Umeå’s approach to improving its urban environment should be celebrated yet its simple, almost obvious idea of inclusive and representative design only highlights the astonishing fact that cities and towns worldwide still do not design educate, design or govern with women in mind. Aside from specialist projects, most major designs that relate to our cities, from the macro level of masterplanning down to the design of public space, schools, hospitals and indeed housing are lead predominantly by men.

    Gender balanced governance: Inspirations from Umea

    Women mayors are still relatively rare in local government in most of the EU Member States. Even the famous mayors of big cities such as Anne Hidalgo in Paris and Ada Colau in Barcelona are unusual in their own countries. Finding new ways to help policy makers understand issues from a gendered perspective is therefore essential to reach better decisions about design, usage and management of urban facilities. The Umea bus tour which helps people to understand the city from a gender perspective does just this. 

    Turin opens up to innovation

    Fabrizio Barbiero explained how the city of Turin chose to mobilise the innovative capacity of its ten thousand strong workforce in a project called ‘everyone is an innovator’ led by Innova.TO. A challenge was made to the city’s workforce to come up with innovative ideas that were capable of being implemented. Its main aim was to create a cultural shift within the governing body, from being a rule-bound organisation towards a more creative and open structure with a focus on reducing both cost and waste and improving services. 71 project ideas were received in the first round held in 2016. In addition, over 4000 contacts were recorded on the web platform and the initiative has attracted international press coverage as well as in the city itself. One limiting factor at present is that projects must raise their own resources for implementation.

    A key aspect of the project is that it is open to regular staff at any level with the exception of directors. Individuals propose most projects but about a third are by two or more staff. The project proposers are anonymous during the selection process which is carried out by a panel which mixes external experts from the University of Torino and the private sector with internal officials. Innova.TO is just one part of wider programmes for social innovation involving communities and other actors in the city.

    In the 2016 edition ten projects were taken forward. These included an idea to improve community participation in local projects, a proposal for sensors to control lighting in public buildings, a new model for smart procurement and a method by which citizens can see how their donations encouraged through the income tax submission finance public actions. None of these projects has imposed any cost on the municipality.

    The key aim of the project is in changing the perception that only the private sector is innovative.  By creating a reflective space for innovation within the municipality the project starts the process by which the public sector can be reinvented. Although it is a bottom up initiative it ultimately depends on senior and middle management for implementation of the chosen proposals. This helps to develop a listening culture among senior managers who need to become more open minded to change.

    Aarhus: Culture as an Intermediary

    Lars Davidsen from Aarhus presented their approach using culture as a way of intermediating with citizens. Their specific approach has some echoes of what Naples has been doing as they take the opportunity presented by empty properties to create a form of popup revitalisation. 

    Aarhus is using participation around culture as a way of integrating policy and addressing more complex problems such as loneliness, the inclusion of vulnerable young people and youth unemployment. The use of empty property on a temporary basis allows greater flexibility and for a quick learning by doing approach which might be stifled in a permanent solution. 

    The city works with a mantra “City life before urban spaces and urban spaces before buildings”

    Change in action in Amersfoort and Swindon

    The change in workplace culture taking place in some cities has been written about previously in URBACT workstream Social Innovation in Cities with two cities mentioned in particular: Amersfoort and Swindon. Amersfoort’s city manager started a process in January 2015 when he asked his 800 staff to become ‘Free range civil servants’ in the sense that they were asked to go into communities to listen and coproduce rather than staying walled up in the Town Hall. One of the first projects was to develop a former hospital site into an activity park.  It showed that co-production could work as a popular planning tool.

    In Swindon restructuring of the city’s services created three directorates. All service delivery departments were put in the same department under one director.  A second department deals with localities or neighbourhoods while the third is engaged solely in procurement. This radical redesign was aimed at developing services that cost less to deliver and could produce better results for the citizen. But it is only a start, in complex interventions for example concerning troubled families, a host of non municipality agencies are also involved from police and criminal justice to housing associations, job centres and social security. Providing an integrated service to the user can start with the municipality but also needs to address these other fields that are run by other government departments. 

    Public Administration needs to go Dutch

    Our cities continue to change at an increasing rate and yet many of the systems and processes we use to deliver services are groaning under the strain of modern needs. The examples looked at here point to the necessity for a cultural or even philosophical shift in the way we envisage governance engaging with citizens. New, non-hierarchical and inclusive models of governance need to be enacted, systems that represent the needs of every citizen and not simply those within the system. This is perhaps the most challenging aspect. Organisational cultures are very rigid and fixed. Saying that public administration needs to go Dutch is one thing. Doing

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  • A city fighting climate change: How Nantes got its citizens to talk energy transition

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    15/11/2022

    Tackling climate change was never going to be easy. But in the afterglow of the Paris COP21 Agreement, at least it seemed that we were moving in the right direction. By late 2016, the biggest polluters were signed up, and there appeared to be consensus on the scale and urgency of the problem, as well as on what needed to be done. What a difference a year can make. From where we are now, feels like we have another mountain – or two – to climb.

    Articles
    City planning

    In all of this, perhaps the biggest battle is taking place within citizen’s heads. Given the magnitude and complexity of the global warming challenge, it’s easy to feel that, as individuals, we can make little difference. At times like this, mobilising public interest and stimulating civic action is critically important. But making the threat of climate change real is a complicated business – especially when so many people are worried about jobs, housing and other pressing daily issues.

    It’s in cities where this battle will be won or lost. That’s one of the reasons why URBACT networks like Freight Tails, Resilient Europe and, previously, EVUE are so important. The late Benjamin Barber was right when he recently underlined the key role cities play in addressing climate change. As he notes, there is a lot to take encouragement from, as cities introduce all sorts of creative ways to improve the urban environment. Medellin’s Metrocable, Oslo’s Tesla taxis and Seoul’s electric bus fleet are amongst them.

    Yet, many of these urban initiatives reflect a top-down approach to imposing solutions. This week saw the publication of another gloomy set of World Health Organisation statistics relating to air quality. This shows that apart from the Nordic countries, our urban air quality levels remain dangerously high across much of the EU. Most citizens worry about this, but many feel disempowered to do much about it. So, what can city authorities do?

    Reframing the discussion

    Civic participation can be an ambivalent issue for city administrations. People power, once unleashed, can be an irresistible force, and not always for good. However, it is clear that we are living in a period where the relationship between politicians and the people is being redefined. It is also clear, for many city authorities at least, that with diminishing rates of electoral participation, the legitimacy of their actions can be questioned. We also know is that it is at the local level, where new trusted connections between citizens and government are best created.

    Consequently, cities across Europe are exploring new ways to involve citizens in their decision-making processes. Within URBACT, many cities, including Amersfoort and Gdansk, have tested new mechanisms. Current networks such as CHANGE! are also exploring this theme, which was also well represented in the response to the recent URBACT call for good practices.

    In specific relation to the climate change debate, the city of Nantes – an URBACT city and active Eurocities member – has been pioneering work in this field with some success.

    Situated in northwest France, Nantes has a population of 630,000 inhabitants, 36% of whom are aged under 25. Enjoying a reputation for a healthy work-life balance, it was the first French city to be awarded the status of European Green Capital, in 2013. An active member of Energy Cities, Nantes has a commitment to reducing carbon emission rates by 50% by 2030 (compared to a 2003 baseline) and to triple its production of renewable energy in the same timeframe.

    During the past eighteen months the city has been on an innovative journey that will conclude in the autumn of 2017. This has taken the form of a Grand Débat, or Big Debate, about the city’s future energy transition. The end point will be a Citizens’ Commission report that will inform a new energy transition roadmap adopted by the Nantes Metropolitan Authority. But Nantes’ real end point is much more ambitious – a genuinely participative approach to managing the city’s energy transition.

    The Big Debate

    The Big Debate has been a thoughtful and well-planned process. Prior to the launch in September 2016, there was one year of preparation, and a commitment to invest €630,000 (€1 per citizen) in the process, supported by a project team of five over an 18 month period. Alongside them, an independent commission of four volunteer citizens has overseen the process. Their role has included guaranteeing the openness of the debate and producing the final Commission Report.

    The Big Debate focused on four key questions:

    • What lifestyle transitions do we have to make?
       
    • What new urban planning opportunities and tools are available?
       
    • What extent of local energy ownership should there be?
       
    • What are the opportunities for innovation, employment and inclusion?

    So, what steps did Nantes take to encourage citizen involvement? Following a high profile publicity launch, made alongside key stakeholder organisations throughout the city, a number of tools were used. Individuals could attend know-how sessions that outlined new energy developments. They could also submit suggestions online or via social media #NantesTransitions. More tangibly, a huge pink travelling container gave the chance to walk in and talk in person.


    In addition, a series of interest-groups was set up, including Hikers, Crowd-funders and Pioneers. Participation in these groups allowed citizens with particular interests to examine the issues through a particular lens. The Crowdfunders eventually raised more than €100,000 for experimental projects that included food events, an acquaponics pilot and a shared solar energy roof. The pioneers generated a series of challenges that were taken up across the city by families as well as schools and other organisations.

    The deadline for responses to the Big Debate was 31 March 2017. A total of 53,000 people participated in the process in some way, with 11,000 citizens very actively involved. The experience involved 270 local organisations, and Grand Débat social media platforms attracted 4,400 followers. In terms of outputs, 760 written solutions were posted, whilst 160 journals were written by a variety of stakeholders – each contributing their ideas and suggestions.

    Ultimately however, the success of the Big Debate will come down to the quality of the final Commission Report and its contribution to the changes required to achieve Nantes’ low carbon future goal. In the coming months, the final part of the story can be followed on the project’s website.

    The personal is (always) political

    From discussions with those leading the Nantes process, it is clear that one of the key drivers was a commitment to raising awareness of the energy and climate change challenges, as well as promoting a sense of ownership and responsibility for the solutions. It is often easier to say what other people should be doing, than to examine our own behaviours and identify what needs to change for the wider good.


    The Big Debate also opened up a discussion about respective stakeholder roles. Certainly, city authorities have a key role to play in establishing a low carbon future. But they cannot do it alone. Nor is punitive legislation the solution. There is a huge amount that cities can achieve through their governance levers, but a codesigned approach is more likely to succeed, as the URBACT Programme underlines. This is because as well as mobilising collective brainpower, it encourages the shifts in attitude and behaviour that make a positive outcome more achievable. It is also because the proposed solutions can feel shared.

    The potential realignment in the relationship with citizens around this complex urban challenge will perhaps be the most important legacy of the Big Debate itself. Ultimately, it will be people, not technology, that will decide our future. That’s why Nantes has adopted this approach to getting its citizens on board.

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  • URBACT, another paradigm for European cities

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    15/11/2022

    With the integrated urban development approach promoted by the URBACT European programme, new models for improving our cities together are currently under construction. This is the narrative of a story that is already over fifteen years old.

    (Translation of an article published in French in the magazine Urbanisme, issue n° 404, Spring 2017)

    By Emmanuel Moulin, Head of the URBACT secretariat, and Eddy Adams, URBACT Programme expert

    Articles
    Education

    The official publications of the European Union (EU) on the city in Europe (Cities of tomorrow, 2011, 6th cohesion report, 2014; The state of the European Cities, 2016) present a rather pessimistic panorama, nine years after the crisis of 2008. The key aspects of this are well known: increase in disparity and poverty /1, massive unemployment in the South of Europe especially among the young /2, the concentration of development in the metropolises with small and medium-sized cities often in difficulties /3, the financial challenges of cities and falling public investment, inappropriate administrative boundaries and problems of regional governance, growing environmental and quality of life issues /4...

    Recently, new issues have taken centre stage, including the influx of migrants and the digital transformation of society. Faced with these issues, cities all over Europe are reinventing their mode of operation; faced with the weakness of representative democracy, especially among the young, in low-income districts, in many cities in the East of Europe, they are seeking to build and implement their policies in a different way /5.

    Rebuilding a trusted relationship between local stakeholders and citizens is essential and requires the elected representatives and administrators of cities to reinvent their role. They are having to gradually move away from a command and control role to the role of facilitator, making co-building of policies possible. This is a new contract the municipal authorities are having to sign with inhabitants and local stakeholders. And it is precisely at this juncture that URBACT, supporting integrated urban development, comes in.

    Integrated urban development

    The European regional cooperation programme URBACT /6, co-funded by the European Union's 28 States, Switzerland, Norway and the European Commission, is working for the cities to strengthen their capacities and design and implement integrated policies. With the networks of cities it funds, it has been promoting an integrated, participative approach to urban development among elected representatives and local stakeholders for fifteen years. In this it holds a unique position among the urban initiatives launched by the European Union during the programming period 2014-2020 /7.

    The integrated approach to urban development has been gradually developed since the beginning of the millennium, with important steps like the Leipzig Charter signed by the Union's Member States in 2007, which attempted to formalise it for the first time. It is based on the principle, on the one hand, that in order to respond to sustainable development issues, the social, economic and environmental aspect of a local policy must be considered as a whole, and, on the other hand, that policy integration can only be done locally /8.

    In its methodology with the cities, URBACT draws on the notion of horizontal and vertical policy integration. The region is the place and the local stakeholders are the implementers of this integration. The vertical integration of policies within a city requires the various municipal services and local agencies to work together closely. Therefore, a project to build a site to host activities must be designed and implemented by incorporating planning (choice of site), social (training, employment measures) and economic (support to business) aspects. Vertical integration puts the focus on a co-production of policies and actions with the local stakeholders concerned (inhabitants, associations, public and private-sector partners). It also underlines the need to mobilise the competent higher level authorities and the State upstream to ensure they work together.

    The URBACT programme often encounters cities that want to work differently but that don't have the know-how or the tools to make the necessary changes. It has therefore created an environment for city employees that favours learning through practice.

    Thus the city of Amersfoort (Netherlands) has shared "Sustainable food for Cities" among the network /9 in which its shared governance model and its experience were involved in helping inhabitants design and shape urban regeneration initiatives. One of the city council's bywords is "enabling", to gain the trust of and finance groups managed by inhabitants, to improve their neighbourhood. Another important component is the emphasis put on encouraging municipal employees to leave their offices and act as leaders of resident groups. This concept called free-range civil servants by Lucas Bols, the mayor, has inspired many cities outside those involved in the URBACT programme.

    The city of Genoa (Italy) is currently managing the "Interactive Cities" network /10 which explores the impact digital tools have on governance. The trust issue is again at the heart of this work, especially in this period in which it is so elusive. A central component of the network's activities is the use of digital tools to encourage residents to participate. There again, URBACT plays the role of an urban laboratory for experimentation.

    It is therefore in its implementation that integrated urban development reveals its true nature. Taken seriously, it is revolutionising how things are done. It needs horizontal preparation and the application of decisions, which cannot be taken for granted, even in the most advanced cities. In this sense, it reveals a very strong democratic requirement; it is therefore hardly surprising that URBACT primarily mobilises stakeholders in innovation and social transformation in its networks.

     

    Practical solutions within reach

    Most of the time, changes in attitude and ways of doing things appear in organisations little by little. URBACT proposes networked learning with tailored measures in which discussion between "peers" from different cities sharing similar issues is central.

    Learning by doing is one of the programme's fundamental principles. URBACT works based on its participants' practice, following the formula of the organisational theorist Karl E. Weick, which says "we are much more likely to act our way into a new way of thinking than we are to think our way into a new way of acting". /11

    By adapting the classic project development cycle, the cities involved in the URBACT network are encouraged to design new solutions to their problems. This learning first takes place in the transnational networks that presently take various forms /12 and that are strongly supported by targeted expertise and methods.

    The networked activity hinges on ad hoc capacity building activities aimed at local practitioners and stakeholders of the cities involved, centring on the design and implementation of integrated strategies and action plans. These activities are organised both at national level, taking the specific contexts (languages, urban policies) into account and in a transnational framework.

    URBACT's summer universities are a central component of this training system. Each of them brought together hundreds of participants involved in the URBACT networks from all over Europe, who worked together to draw up an integrated action plan to meet the challenges of a fictitious city created for the occasion. The results were impressive and the summer universities have been a foundation stone for participants to build further experience on.

    These various components that have been built over time constitute the "URBACT method" of working transnationally with the cities (see inset); in Quito, in October 2016 at Habitat III, the third United Nations conference on building and sustainable urban development. The European Commission presented the diffusion beyond Europe of the URBACT method for transnational learning as one of its three commitments to cities.

    In Europe and beyond, local councils are looking for new approaches for working with citizens. Elected representatives and local councils are busy redefining their functions and the way they act. URBACT is looking to help local authorities in this transition through the sharing of good practice and capacity building activities, drawing on its long experience.

    Thus a community of practice has gradually been built /13, now well established, which brings together several thousand practitioners from all Europe. It is a vehicle for the transformation of practices in Europe's cities, constituting a true exercise of local democracy.

    A knowledge exchange platform

    The transmission of the knowledge acquired within the URBACT community of practice towards a much larger circle of urban stakeholders not involved in its networks (other cities, States, Regions, public and private stakeholders, research) is a particularly complex challenge. How can we transfer knowledge stemming from a practice without being put in a position to put it into practice? URBACT has nevertheless taken it on and will draw increasingly in the future on its website urbact.eu as a platform for exchange of knowledge on urban development, with articles, blogs and thematic publications that summarise acquisitions of emerging knowledge. Furthermore, national URBACT points /14 provide the chance to link up in the national language with the country's cities and stakeholders in the 24 countries of the European Union.

     

    Since 2015, URBACT has also developed a new concept for its European conferences, now called the "URBACT City Festival" /15. Unlike the summer universities, which are transnational activities strictly reserved for the beneficiary cities of the URBACT networks, funded to participate in them, the city festivals are open to all cities and all urban stakeholders in Europe, whether or not they are involved in URBACT.

    These festivals are designed to be interactive places of discussion nourished both by the experience of the URBACT networks, by external contributions and by the practices of the host city. The next edition is scheduled for the 4th and 5th October 2017 in Tallinn (Estonia) and will be the chance to present the "good practices" of cities in Europe, selected from an open URBACT call. When the European Union /16, launched its Urban Agenda with the aim to secure better sharing of knowledge between cities, European Union Member States and the Commission, they already had, in URBACT, a key tool with which to both promote city practices and make their know-how available to all levels of governance.

    For URBACT, the crux lies in finding out how the programme can also contribute to the wider transfer of knowledge and recommendations from its cities to an even wider audience of European Union Member States and other stakeholders. The twelve thematic partnerships of the Urban Agenda /17 for the European Union that bring together each of the States, cities and organisations or programmes, including URBACT, to draw up, over a three-year period, an action plan for funding, regulation and exchange of knowledge, are the beginnings of a response.

    This is the chance for the programme, through its representatives in these partnerships, field experts, local council managers involved in the URBACT networks, to broadcast the message of the cities and the local stakeholders they work with daily. The programme's various capitalisation tools could furthermore be mobilised in a targeted fashion to encourage and support the wider adoption of practices in integrated sustainable urban development.

    Thus URBACT is gradually taking shape as the European platform for exchange of knowledge between cities and the other urban stakeholders in Europe: the European union, Member States, Regions, research institutions, etc. The message is simple: for city stakeholders, there are specific solutions within reach. By knocking on the right doors and taking the time to share with our peers in Europe, together we can learn to do things differently.


    The URBACT method

    For fifteen years now, URBACT has been developing principles, methods and tools for learning by cities through transnational networks. Three types of network bring together five to twelve cities for two to three years. The integrated action plan design networks and the networks to implement these plans are currently in progress. A call for proposals for good practice transfer networks will be launched in September 2017 based on previously selected cities.

    The main components of this method are as follows:

    • the production and implementation by the cities of action plans integrated in the context of local groups that bring together all the stakeholders concerned (residents, associations, public and private partners, etc.);

    • learning within the networks through transnational meetings, peer exchange, study visits;

    • national and transnational training courses (summer universities);

    • a network support expertise, 100% funded by the programme;

    • the application of an assessment method with impact and result objectives, indicators and a progress monitoring mechanism;

    • the capitalisation and dissemination of the knowledge and practices of the city networks through conferences, seminars and publications.

    All the information is available on the website www.urbact.eu


    1/ Cf. "Against divided cities", URBACT, 2013.

    2/ Cf. "Better cities, job generation for a jobless generation", URBACT, 2013; "Urban youth, more jobs", URBACT, 2015.

    3/ Cf. "Shrinking cities", URBACT, 2013.

    4/ Cf. "Energy efficiency" and "New mobility mindset", URBACT, 2013; "Sustainable regeneration in urban areas", URBACT, 2015.

    5/ Cf. "How cities can rebuild trust in politics through meaningful public engagement", on the URBACT website.

    6/ The URBACT III has a budget of 96 million Euros for the period 2014-2020. It is managed for all Europe by a Secretariat of fifteen people located in France in Saint-Denis in the premises of its management authority, the General Commission for Territorial Equality (CGET).

    7/ Urban Innovative Actions, Urban Development Network.

    8/ Cf. the Barca report "Place based approach", available on the Internet.

    9/ Network of the URBACT II programme (2007-2013) which was managed by the Brussels region, on sustainable food.

    10/ One of the twenty networks funded by URBACT III, which brings together ten cities from nine countries. Started in October 2015, it will end in May 2018.

    11/ "We are much more likely to act our way into a new way of thinking than to think our way into a new way of acting" (Karl E. Weick)

    12/ Cf. inset below.

    13/ The URBACT programme has organised three summer universities, in Krakow in 2011, in Dublin in 2013 and in Rotterdam in 2016.

    14/ 500 European cities, 10,000 local stakeholders have participated in URBACT's activities since it was created. Over 250 European experts are identified in the URBACT experts pool. Many of them have put the URBACT method into practice.

    15/ For France, the national URBACT point http://urbact.eu/france is held by the General Commission for Territorial Equality.

    16/ The first URBACT city festival took place in Riga (Latvia) and brought together 470 participants from all over Europe and beyond from 6th to 8th May 2015.

    17/ The European Agenda for the European Union was launched by the Member States of the Union and the European Commission in May 2016 by means of the Amsterdam Pact. Through cooperation between the Commission, the Member States and the cities, it aims for a better use of funding, improvement of the legal framework for cities' actions and their knowledge, in particular through discussion. URBACT is a key stakeholder, both through its coordination bodies and the twelve thematic partnerships that form this agenda.

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  • REFILL MATCH-MAKERS

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    15/11/2022

    The REFILL project is all about the reuse of vacant spaces. A key question is how these spaces are filled to best use. This article describes the speed dating process between city authority departments and bottom-up initiatives which are candidates for the temporary use of urban vacant spaces.

    The challenges of Zaklad Markerspace in Poznan

    Articles
    Abandoned Spaces

    Zaklad is a Makerspace hosted for a temporary period in a disused former printing company in the centre of Poznan. "We wanted a place to do stuff open to everybody so we got this spacefor temporary use, we brought machines and here it is: there is an incredible energy here!" says Zofia one of the Zaklad 4 founders.

    Yes but what is really a makerspace and what does it mean for the neighbourhood around? These forms of open and collective workshops are popping-up in cities all over the world. Like many such social innovations, they show evidence of strong assets in terms of social empowerment (attracting unemployed youth, fostering collective projects), capacity-building (teaching skills, triggering economical activities), sustainable lifestyles (recuperating wasted material, teaching maintenance and repair of goods), etc. As an innovation in progress, it is promising, fresh, but not always very clear and often a bit clunky.

    Their promoters themselves have a fuzzy idea of what could be the rationale and the arguments when seeking support from social entrepreneurship business angels or public authorities. They show a strong potential but at the same time they present huge difficulties to express and realise it. As Amalia Zepou, new Vice Mayor for Civil Society and Innovation in Athens and participating at the REFILL kick-off in Poznan said: "They struggle in paying the required rent for the space they occupy and often lack arguments to show the indirect benefit of their activities that is likely to justify access to public supports such as temporary use schemes, preferential rent, prolonged stay, etc."

     

    Photo by Strategic Design Scenarios

    Lack of contacts between city administration and local initiatives

    The REFILL URBACT network is focussing on the temporary use and accommodation of all these emerging social, cultural or business gems so that they could blossom, synergize and fully express their multi-facetted benefits to help transform the city.

    Temporary use initiatives sometimes have difficulties to connect with the different departments of the city administration. They often don't express their intentions and projects in a readable way to match the city policy priorities or to tap into the different municipality departments' agendas.

    Reciprocally, the city administration tends to look at temporary use initiatives through their own grids of structural organisation and policy orientations. They tend then to miss opportunities to liaise with social innovation's dynamics and fail to build win-win cooperation with citizens.

    Designing a meeting process between city administration departments and candidates for temporary use

    Cases like Zaklad Makerspace raised in REFILL the idea of organizing a 'matchmaking process' between such promising grassroots initiatives and city administration. This matchmaking process should take the form of a co-construction workshop where different social and cultural initiatives could sit together with different departments of the municipality and investigate possible collaborations. The aim of the matchmaking would be to look for synergies on burning problems such as social inclusions, youth employment, sustainable education, etc. or invent partnerships on common cultural interests, environmental progresses, economic development, and so on. between candidates for temporary use and city authority departments.

    But are we dreaming here or can we really do it? And in particular can we do it in the framework of an URBACT Action Planning Network? As Zofia from Zaklad would have surely said: "let's make it and we'll discuss after if it was possible or not!"

    We co-created the basic steps of the Match-Makers process taking inspiration from the different REFILL partner cities and combining inputs from their positive and negative experiences.

     

    Scheme by REFILL consortium

    Brokering between city departments and local initiatives in Ghent

    The city administration hardly knows the many initiative of social innovation in the city and all these initiatives hardly know each other. We need then to bring all these stakeholders into the same room to let them familiarize and discover each other. The city of Ghent is accustomed to organize such gathering as they recently did with the Bibmarkt: 147 bottom-up initiatives and more than 300 participants gathering for one evening to liaise with each other, find affinities and build consortia to pitch for 8 months of temporary use in the former city central library.

    This was an incredible successful marketplace of social innovation organized by the Policy Participation Service together with the different departments of the city administration and policy makers. The REFILL Match-Makers process has built on this idea of the city playing the role of a broker bringing all the stakeholders together proposing a matching process. But they also followed the advice of the intiatives to then let it go and leave it to them to find mates and organize partnerships.

     

    Photo by Strategic Design Scenarios

    Simulating public private people partnership in Amersfoort

    Stakeholders' gatherings, participation processes, citizens' forums and such like are more and more common within city governance. They generally aim at hearing all stakeholders’ voices and firing a lot of new ideas whereas the challenge is not so much to get new ideas but to go beyond idea generation and tackle implementation issues. Inspired from the matchmaking events the ngo Matchpoint organises every year between local companies in Amersfoort and local ngo’s the city of Amersfoort organized Stad Zoekt Boer, City meets farmer an matching process between all actors at stake with sustainable food in the city and around in 2007 and 2008.

    Here again an average of 400 participants were involved in a speed dating event. And this is where the method is inspiring: all day parties were dating for short slots with the scope of exploring possible collaborations between each other enough to draft an imaginary contract signed between parties. About 140 such fake contracts were signed in one day: enough intentions of collaboration to outline a vision of sustainable food for the city and concrete enough that about a fifth of them evolved into real contracts after a couple of months. Here also this experience is very inspiring for the REFILL Match-Makers process showing that departments of the city administration and bottom-up initiative should not only meet but expect concrete collaborations to start right-away.

     

    Photo by City of Amersfoort

    A REFILL Match-Makers pilot in Cluj

    Starting from these inputs and from the experience of the network's partner cities we drafted a REFILL Match-Makers process and loyal to our principle of "doing before thinking" or at least of "putting the reality into project to better investigate it", the city of Cluj-Napoca volunteered to organise a pilot over summer 2016. Key steps of the REFILL Match-Makers process in Cluj were:

    On-site and out of comfort zone

    The REFILL Match-Makers process started with on-site visits involving civil servants out of the comfort zone of the city administration. The intention is to see initiatives in their own contexts and not only through the applications they submit to answer city's calls.

    The tour of initiatives in Cluj allowed city departments to visit Fabrica de Pensule a former paintbrush factory temporarily hosting more than 70 art studios and 7 art galleries; Reactor contemporary arts, theatre, craft workshops temporary center; Somes delivery temporary installations along the Somes river; etc. all brilliant initiatives hosted in different forms of temporary use that civil servants generally already knew on paper but not in real life. It allowed also the initiatives themselves to take part in the tour and discover and liaise with each other.

     

    Photo by City of Cluj

    Inviting players to share their agenda

    Both bottom-up initiatives and departments of the city administration were considered as separate parties at stake sharing their intention with one slide picturing who they are and why they want to take part. If Pecha-Kucha-like speed presentations is common ground for social, cultural or business initiatives, it is far less common to see public administration departments presenting themselves with one large picture and a claims such as the "improve the touristic offer with quality projects"; "increase the city collaboration with informal initiatives"; "act as ambassadors in order to link initiatives and private investors" or "better accommodate bottom-up initiatives through the development of temporary use in Cluj"; etc.

    Building one-to-one scenarios of collaboration

    The last step of the REFILL Match-Makers process consisted in building scenarios of collaboration. Cluj stakeholders engaged so far sat together in one-to-one configurations. Speed dating setting allows going beyond generic discussions generally leading to nowhere. They focused on what a specific initiative and a specific city department could do together.

    Eight scenarios emerged such as the Somes delivery urban experimentation and the Office of traffic safety and public roads agreeing user-centered temporary interventions to increase pedestrian usability of urban spaces; Scena Urbana and the Department of Tourism and Community Affairs collaborating on making the historical Central Cemetery a venue of interest for foreigners; Reactor art platform and the same Department of Tourism and Community Affairs co-organizing shows investing a series of unused/abandoned and including them in the touristic circuit; Urbanect activists and the Department of Cultural Projects using Urban Living room domestic installations reclaiming public space to help revitalize the city and enhance simple direct communication between local administration and civil society; etc.

    "We thought we knew what the initiatives wanted but in the end we realised we did not, we just did not know them. We all realized that simple discussion and imagining ideal situations where we could help each other brought a lot more than we thought they could. We strongly believed that this will the beginning of some real collaborations" say Calin Forna, the Director of the Events Planning Department of the city of Cluj and ULG-coordinator for REFILL. All that took place at the Cluj Makerspace, echoing where the all process was ideated in Poznan.

     

    Photo by City of Cluj

    Closing the loop with a REFILL Match-Makers process in Poznan

    Last but not least, in the meantime Zaklad Makerspace in Poznan where the initial idea of the REFILL Match-Makers process emerged had to leave its temporary use location. The space of the printing company where they were hosted has been sold and Zaklad urgently needed to find a new place to settle in the city.

    The Project Coordination and Urban Regeneration Office in Poznan City Hall prepared a Match-Makers process adapting the REFILL scheme to the situation. The Match-Makers process was presented to Zaklad Makerspace. Zaklad's organizing team found it interesting in the perspective of their future activities. In parallel the Match-Makers process was also presented to different departments of the city administration both rising informally interest among colleagues from cooperating departments and sending official invitations.

     

    Photo by City of Poznan

    An old paper mill building in Poznan's “Old Town” district was foreseen to host Zaklad Makerspace and a field visit was organised there. The same day one-to-one meetings took place between Zaklad organizers and representatives of different parts of Poznan city administration: Department of Education, Department of Culture, Promotion Unit of Mayor’s Cabinet and experts for infrastructural, social and educational European projects as well as for urban regeneration from Project Coordination and Urban Regeneration Office. Every hour, starting from midday the different departments came and discussed new perspectives of collaboration. "All the day was organized in a cosy neutral place outside the City Hall around a cup of coffee, say Natalia Madajczyk and Agnieszka Osipiuk from Project Coordination and Urban Regeneration Office in Poznan and REFILL local coordinators, short talks from invited guests and a presentation of inspiring temporary use examples from URBACT REFILL partner cities worked well to facilitate the conversations".

    In particular, a great match emerged between Zaklad and the Department of Education outlining possible actions directed to students, participation in the events organised by the City, special programmes of entrepreneurship for schools. Most of them can be started right away while Zaklad Makerspace makes use of a new temporary use period in the old paper mill building.

    From the REFILL kick-off meeting in Poznan in October 2015 until November 2016 we have closed the loop: the REFILL Match-Makers process has been ideated, co-designed with the collaboration of REFILL city partners, piloted by some of them and is back in Poznan and to the very Zaklad Makerspace where it started: a good way to use the collective energy of URBACT Action Planning networks to invent, design and experiment with new tools and processes towards a more collaborative, integrated and fluid city administration!

     

    Photo by City of Poznan

    François Jégou, Strategic Design Scenarios & LE REFILL

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