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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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  • 4 ways cities are breathing life back into empty spaces

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    15/11/2022

    URBACT’s new online resource Remaking the city presents a selection of space-related city solutions: remakingthecity.urbact.eu

     

    Cities across Europe are looking for ways to make better use of their empty buildings and spaces. Many have found simple, innovative approaches to bring people, businesses, and variety back into unused office buildings, former industrial sites, and mono-functional districts.

    Articles
    Abandoned Spaces

    URBACT’s new online resource ‘Remaking the city’ presents a selection of such space-related city solutions. Cases can be found depending on their stage in the urban planning process, and by type of problem: empty or underused buildings; underused areas; rundown segregated areas; mono-functional areas; and unsustainable areas.

    Urban expert Ivan Tosics set up the site together with Nils Scheffler from the URBACT 2nd Chance network, François Jégou from the URBACT REFILL network and Maarten van Tuilj from the URBACT sub>urban network. Here, Ivan shares four ways cities are connecting better with residents and other stakeholders to breathe life back into neglected buildings and spaces, one step at a time:

    1. Organise cultural activities to put vacant land back on the map

    The harbour area of Caen (FR) became a no-go area after the shipyard closed. A first step towards redevelopment was ‘territorial marketing’ to attract people back – at least to safe parts of the site. The city set up artistic and cultural events, such as drawing walks, bike rides, canoeing tours and guided site visits. Thanks to growing popular interest, temporary uses then sprung up in former industrial buildings.

    2. Create an agency to help start-ups and families move into unused buildings

    In Bremen (DE), the municipality contracted an NGO to act as an intermediary agency connecting owners of empty properties with entrepreneurs and other people who could use the space. The agency now initiates and supports temporary use projects city-wide, helping local business, developing deprived neighbourhoods, and cutting running costs.

    Chemnitz (DE) created a public consulting agency to connect owners of historic apartment buildings with investors to provide affordable homes and workspaces. Grants are channelled to buildings that need it most, and contracts signed with new owners prevent speculation.

    3. Support NGOs matching temporary cultural projects with empty properties

    In Riga (LV), while many hundreds of buildings were left empty and uncared-for after the 2008 financial crisis, the cultural sector was booming and needed space. There were just a few local temporary use projects, unknown to most property owners. But, Free Riga activists worked increasingly with the municipality – and the Free Riga NGO emerged as a go-between organisation, scouting cultural projects to match up with vacant spaces offered by public and private owners.

    4. Bring students in to renovate social housing – and learn new skills

    Porto (PT), launched a summer school for architecture, design and construction students to refurbish homes, cultural centres and public spaces. The educational programme combines the theory of sustainable architecture with hands-on construction work. One summer, 40 international students refurbished a large property whose owner couldn’t afford renovation work – providing new, affordable family housing. Close cooperation between the public administration and social services was vital before, during and after the renovations, as well as a non-speculative contract with the owner.

    Visit Remaking the city website and watch Ivan Tosics' interview about the project.

    The show must go on

    Do you know an interesting example of a European city improving the use of empty spaces or abandoned properties? URBACT is looking for contributions! The idea is to expand Remaking the city and inspire urban practitioners to make changes for better cities. Contribute to Remaking the city now!

    More on Culture and Heritage on URBACT Website: https://urbact.eu/culture-heritage

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  • Plan your own temporary use journey!

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    15/11/2022
    Rencontrez Kieran McCarthy , membre du Comité des régions de l'UE et conseiller municipal de Cork (Irlande).
    Articles
    Circular economy

    Visiting the City of Temporary Use

    Who can still remember vacant spaces and buildings, which someday were spaces free of rules, a ground for fertile experimentation, individual empowerment and creativity development? We could grow and empower ourselves as we can remember from the 50s’ film “Le chantier des gosses”, where children were spending their leisure time in an yet-to-be-built abandoned lot in the very centre of the city of Brussels, and where the nephew of Tati’s “My Uncle” was eating doughnuts and whistling at pedestrians so that they would bump into a lamppost.

    Vacant (abandoned places, urban wastelands, brownfields, derelict lands, degraded and deteriorated lands or buildings) can still foster creativity and experimentation for the city, benefitting from a Temporary Use. And many cities have experimented with them over the past few decades, putting together a source of inspiration for innovation and change and thus providing a new driver and incubator for urban development.

    During two and a half years, the URBACT REFILL network sought to identify ways to access Temporary Use, notwithstanding the municipalities’ stage of implementation of Temporary Use projects. These ways are compiled in the REFILL Temporary Use Roadmap. “There are many entries to the Temporary Use of vacant spaces and buildings. These are not linear, depending on each of the cities’ point of departure but also interests and needs.” explain François Jégou and Marcelline Bonneau, Lead experts of the REFILL network.

    I invite you to take a tour in the five neighbourhoods of the City of Temporary Use while looking into some flagship initiatives.

    Raising awareness through a video and a kiosk

    How can you work on Temporary Use if you do not know what Temporary Use is about? If you do not know the way it looks? If you do not know what benefits it can have for the City? Many of the municipalities which seek to promote Temporary Use have noticed the difficulty to communicate on it: to first make it simple, understandable, but then convincing to the different stakeholders which could potentially be engaged. The URBACT REFILL network therefore co-created a user-friendly video, freely accessible online: “Temporary Use for Dummies”. In 4 minutes, it gives an overview on origins, assets and possible frameworks for the development of Temporary Use in your cities.

    The approach of the city of Athens (EL) was to make Temporary Use visible, accessible and an easy way of reinforcing local cohesion. For this purpose, it has used a small kiosk, Synathina, in front of the Central Market, a highly symbolic and visible spot, to host activities and events. The system is straightforward: interested citizens book beforehand and pick up the keys from the nearby Municipal Office. This approach is relatively low-risk, and also low in terms of resources needed from the municipality. It has appeared to be a highly valorizing way of promoting citizens’ initiatives in a place that is central with the square around it make it a beloved place for such gatherings.

    Addressing supply and demand by researching the opportunities and matching the needs

    How can you identify what Temporary Use is possible in your city? Who are the stakeholders involved? How can you bring them together? It can indeed be crucial to assess the Temporary Use potential of your city as a whole by mapping vacant spaces, outlining the scope, space requirements, level of autonomy and added value of each initiative and determining the state of the vacant spaces. In Ostrava (CZ), the Municipality conducted a qualitative study to test whether Temporary Use could be a solution for empty buildings and vacant plots. It surveyed owners and users of Temporary Use projects and used the results as evidence for decision makers within the administration. Through the research, the Municipality also gained visibility of its activities and interest in Temporary Use, and made the exchange of views between stakeholders possible… A tool developed within the network, the matchmaking methodology enabled Municipalities to bring together those who have a space with those in need for one and vice-versa: it meant going beyond the traditional silos of administration, ensuring that each partner gets to know each other.

    Putting Temporary Use on the city agenda by designing targeted strategies

    How can you ensure that the opportunities of Temporary Use are integrated in urban planning, but also in other local strategies? How can you bridge the gap between the rigid legal framework and Temporary Use’s flexibility? How can you spark interest on Temporary Use in your city? Cities are seeking to support Temporary Use by setting common objectives and creating step-by-step plans for city development, economic activities and social goals. They try and find ways to work within the legal framework, while also allowing for flexibility. They liaise with elected representatives, city administration legislators and powerful external stakeholders to discuss how Temporary Use could help them solve their problem. In Ghent (BE) the Temporary Use Fund has been used as a financial incentive for new ideas and initiatives related to Temporary Use since 2014. Via a simple call for projects, the Fund distributes 300,000 EUR annually, to be used on infrastructure, safety measures and soundproofing, insurance, maintenance and in some cases communication. Such strategy has supported the burst of smaller, bottom-up Temporary Use projects in the neighbourhoods of Ghent.

    Assembling a toolbox to start projects and assess their value

    How can both the owner and user kick-off their project? How can you think about the potential evolution of your project? How can you ensure a clear mutual understanding of the terms and conditions? During the URBACT REFILL network, it became clear to the partner cities that they needed to clarify upfront their collaboration when promoting Temporary Use of vacant spaces. One such need led to the creation of a Temporary Use Value Creation Plan: an informal contract and adaptation of the Business Model Canvas which asks crucial questions, for the owner and user in terms of objectives, values, benefits, plans, etc.

    In order to address the needs of their stakeholders, the City of Poznan (PL) compiled a toolbox that is available both online and offline. It covers practical tips, successful mediation solutions and social agreements, a list of useful local contacts and recommendations for Temporary Use agreements.

    Making Temporary Use the new normal by intermediating between owners and Temporary Users

    How can you ensure that everything runs smoothly from A to Z? How can you make Temporary Use a standard service? Cities have developed a series of actions to keep in touch as long as the Temporary Use project is up and running, to make sure that the project takes an integrated social, environmental and economic approach, and to analyse stakeholders’ feedback as well as to support the transfer of assets and the relocation of the initiative. Others have organized technical, administrative, financial and connector services and any others as needed. In order to ensure a constant follow-up of the project, the city of Bremen (DE) set up an agency for Temporary Use: the ZZZ (ZwischenZeitZentrale Bremen). The agency, managed by a private company, supports, initiates and oversees Temporary Use projects all over Bremen: it plays a mediator role between owners and tenants on the one hand, and the administration on the other.

    Take-away and Learnings on Temporary uses

    Here are only a few of the examples and cases from the URBACT REFILL Network.

    There were many obstacles and challenges, varied learnings and even greater constructive evolutions. We can summarise some of the main takeaways from this project as:

    • Temporary Use is entangled in a web of complex (private, public, associative) interests and issues at stake;
    • The dichotomy between some of these motives, but especially the infancy of this topic on the agenda makes it important for city administration to question themselves, their urban planning and the way they can bring together interests (which are at first sight diverging) in order to contribute to developing more integrated urban planning;
    • Focusing on this issue can have a strong economic, social, environmental and cultural potential for city development; and,
    • Temporary Use questions the way cities are governed and the role city administration can play in meditating between the different stakeholders.

    The REFILL project had the opportunity to present its roadmap during the URBACT City Festival in Lisbon in September 2018. It appeared clearly that many of the issues faced by the participants had their solutions in some of the work carried out by the network during two and a half years.

    Check out the back of the REFILL Temporary Use Roadmap and identify the further information, resources and contacts that might be useful for your own journey towards Temporary Use!

    New types of vacant space have emerged

    European cities have evolved, we see less and less of these places yet to be transformed into modernized neighbourhoods of the city.

    However, new types of vacant spaces have emerged: these are buildings which have been abandoned as they do not fit with the evolving needs of companies and working practices, these are brownfields where heavy industries left deeply rooted pollution which makes impossible commercialization of these lands, these are leftovers from strong industrial pasts of some regions – in the form of buildings or abandoned lands, former docks, … All of these give a new face to European cities and create a potential for redynamisation through the realm of temporary activities which can take place on them.

    However, taking them into consideration in city governance is still recent, inexistent in some cities. Municipalities are yet to develop structures and frameworks which can enable taking advantage of their potential at most. As has been observed in many cities, such initiatives are strongly led by citizens and creative entrepreneurs. Society is changing, cities as well. Citizens are asking for greater involvement in city development. They are taking an increasingly important role in city governance, what questions the way cities are currently being governed. Temporary Use of vacant places can be an entry point into a transitional organizational shift of governance, giving increasing room for manoeuvre to citizens.

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    • Cover Photo: Agnieszka Osipiuk
    • Photo 1: REFILL Temporary Use Roadmap
    • Photo 2: Synathina
    • Photo 3: Strategic Design Scenarios
    • Photo 4: REFILL TU Value Creation Plan
    • Photo 5: ZwischenZeitZentrale
    • Photo 6: REFILL Temporary Use Roadmap
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