Cities designed by Citizens!

The world’s first online and real-life co-creation city planning toolkit with the help of the most popular construction toy in Spain and the rest of the world: Lego!

SUMMARY
We now face mayor challenges that impact the livability and resilience of our cities. Though there are large corporations with Smart City solutions, we also see the Smart Citizen emerge. Citizens self-organize, create their ideas and products online and find new ways of distribution and sharing information. 

To come to successful solutions, cities need to harness the creative power of their citizens. The challenge is to create a platform for dialogue between municipalities and citizens on the future of the city that truly inspires creativity, is inclusive and collaborative. 

We bring you the world’s first online and real-life co-creation city planning toolkit supported by the most popular construction toy in the world: Lego! Citizens create future scenarios for city planning & community needs, directly onto the geographical problem area. Both online & offline, with Lego. Extreme rapid prototyping!

‘Build with Chrome’ allows you to build structures with digital Lego on top of the world. In the real world we organize a co-creation community competition that invites teams from different districts to develop ideas for relevant issues in the neighborhood, district and city, hosted in local community hubs. 

The Lego models are evaluated by a jury of city officials, architects, designers and investors. All models are published on the Facebook community and the best ones transformed by a Lego artist into a conversation piece placed at city hall.

Shaped By Us

Making good ideas happen - a unique place for people to make their communities better.

SUMMARY
Shaped By Us is a unique ideas management platform for communities and councils to be more resilient, together. It allows citizens to take ownership of the challenges that matter most to them and design breakthrough services for their community with the help of others – all from their mobile, tablet or desktop. 

The project was designed to unlock community innovation through crowdsourcing and support the co-creation of new services and transfer of power. Shaped By Us has been designed to scale.

Crowdsourcing is key to commissioning councils as they look at alternative delivery options for their services and explore opportunities to make services more efficient. Rather than mobilizing people as consumers (of services), crowdsourcing mobilizes people as citizens. Swayed by different motivations, and a sense of civic responsibility, citizens are able to come together and collaboratively design new solutions to the problems faced by dwindling services and budget cuts. 

Crowdsourcing allows councils to be open-minded about who actually supplies those services and be receptive to new ideas. Shaped By Us harnesses local creativity and resourcefulness, in combination with a more entrepreneurial culture in the public sector. It enables citizens to be the drivers of change and not the objects of it. 

Making good ideas happen, the strapline for Shaped By Us, sanctions the view that good ideas can come from anywhere; and that the flow of ideas and know-how occurs in many directions.

PlaceSpeak

 

Claim your place. Speak your mind.

SUMMARY

PlaceSpeak is advancing the public consultation process by creating an online platform that enables inclusive, informed participation, policy development and decision making. Our goal is to bring back ‘power to the people', but do so in conjunction with decision-makers. This will ensure that the directions and the decisions that we are making in land use policy in particular are made on an informed basis. This is what consultation is all about.

Launch City


A platform to engage stakeholders with people in the community and abroad to interact with the underutilized assets in the city.

SUMMARY
Launch City is the low-cost, lightweight solution to leverage the cities underutilized assets. It is done by packaging these assets in a compelling way on a website, and pushing this site out to Dandelion’s proprietary network. This network consists of people looking to do good work and drive revenue at the same time. Assets typically come in the form of property, financial incentives, and human capital. For every asset available, there is somebody trying to find a way to engage in the best values a city has to offer. Launch City is the one-stop-shop to connect interested parties with the best, affordable opportunities.

Gather Citizen Participation Platform

Enable local organizations to run mobile crowd participation projects

SUMMARY

Gather is to mobile participation apps what wordpress is to websites.
Local problems need local eyes and ears and hands to find local solutions.
By making it possible for any project to create their own mobile crowdsourced data app, specificially for their needs, in just a day or two, Gather opens up a massive range of opportunities for working with people and structured data.
The current fashion of extraction of data from people by surveillance, and investing months and thousands of pounds in development of mobile apps, is ready for a refresh. Just like every organization has a website to tell their stories, with Gather every organization can have an app to genuinely listen to their supporters and citizens, inviting participation and catalyzing contributions.

Gather is a fishing rod, not a fish!

Transition of roles through co-creation


Implementing a working method for co-designing and co-creation

SUMMARY
As government is facing an increasing amount of civilian boot-up initiatives and people no longer want to feel dependent on the measures taken by government, the system needs changing. Civil servants have to find a new role, but civilians have to as well. Although the process is difficult and, at time, can be tough, we try to put in a as large as possible fun-factor. Focussing on the content helps in this regard, creating collective ambition and the sense of mutual interests and shared ideas are powerful drives helping the process going and creating results.

Co-creating a regenerative future for Glasgow

Using citizen intelligence to co-author a new future for Glasgow's marginalized communities

SUMMARY
Glasgow’s legacy of regeneration brings with it both positive examples and cautionary tales. The transformative effects of these regeneration processes have addressed many important challenges facing the city. Embracing previously unheralded elements, such as cultural amenities and programming, to revitalize the city at large demonstrates the local government’s commitment to using unconventional approaches to achieve results in regeneration. However, more remains to be done in actively engaging and working with marginalized communities to not only continue the momentum of past regeneration processes but also to ensure that results from any future process are evenly experienced across the city and that marginalized communities are best able to solve the substantive issues facing them within this regenerative framework.

We look to innovative public engagement practices to open discussion, build capacity, and achieve practical solutions. The place-based engagement process is one driven by building goodwill and seeing results, and serves to catalyze the community towards action, cooperation, and ownership. It opens minds to new possibilities, and empowers both citizens and professionals alike to work towards shared goals. The process drives a more meaningful and inclusive approach to supporting local communities. When when people contribute to the development of their neighbourhood, they care about it. When they care about it, they become committed to its success

Community Ambassadors of Change

Engaging Peers in Education, Design and Implementation

SUMMARY
This solution is in its essence a "pay it forward" model of action. We are looking to empower and educate as many individuals and communities as we can and engage them in a way that multiplies our efforts so we can see exponentially more great things happening and projects implemented in shorter periods of time. The ambassadors allow us to create a platform of awareness and education while providing them with resources to take action in their own communities. We also provide opportunities for personal development and community cohesion. We hope to see this model expanded and altered to match the unique needs of any social issue. Right now we have piloted it around issues of vacant land and energy efficiency.

SENSITIVE CARTOGRAPHY AND URBAN ACTIONS

A methodology engaging the residents stories, uses and the local ecological issues. Overlaps of assets identify key-(f)actors for regeneration and lead to taylored urban actions using local ressources

SUMMARY
1 - A three-dimensional MAPPING SYSTEM:
The first dimension addresses the neighborhoods self-esteem. Key-residents are identified and individually interviewed, focusing on the places they connect to, with PERSONAL STORIES AND USES. A map gathers all collected assets for each neighborhood. It is printed and displayed within the community.

The second and third dimensions are concerned with the mapping of LOCAL AMBIENT CONDITIONS in the public space: direct sunlight , wind and noise ; and with LOCAL MOVEMENT RECOMMENDATION : stay, short way, walk.

Based on these maps, proposals of parameter interaction, hybrid assets, mixed-uses are discussed in a DIALOGUE PROCESS with the residents and the city Council services. They draw opportunities for the expression of the community voice, and define a set of critical places and key-parameters for local regeneration. Stabilized proposals lead to designing solutions to be implemented through urban actions.

2 - ACTIONS are micro-projects designed for their ability to transform or spread. They engage groups of residents, promoting a SENSE OF OWNERSHIP.
Digital social networking solutions enlarge the scope and strengthen the structuring effect of each action.

A pilot micro-project is tested in a critical neighborhood. The use of LOCAL MAINTENANCE SYSTEMS AND LOCAL RESOURCES is challenged.
According to results, a set of patterns is established, framing the implementation of actions in other neighborhoods.

Comment

CROWDKIT to Empower Communities

crowd.png

Co-Design for Neighborhoods and Cities

SUMMARY
CROWDKIT enables local residents and business owners to work together on solutions for their neighborhoods and communities. The Crowdbrite team offers our innovative hands on “high touch + high tech” solutions to engage local residents in co-designing and implementing solutions to create a brighter future.

Our proven engagement platform and matching paper based canvases have been used by more than 40 cities to empower citizens to solve local problems from the neighborhood up. We have engaged more than 31,500 citizens in-person and many more on line to help co-design solutions for their communities.

We use engaging visual canvases combined with simple sticky notes and voting dots, just like the traditional meeting or workshop - but mirror it online in real time. A flexible solution that has proven effective in difficult to reach communities ofter underrepresented with traditional techniques and new online tools.

-Use our 30 prebuilt tools - or customize you own
-Leverage public and private sector investment
-Engage underrepresented and geographically dispersed communities
-Create local problem solvers
- A scaleable solution 

Identify and empower community champions to become ambassadors for the program to host neighborhood meetings, kitchen table exercises and work with local youth in schools.

This smart and integrated solution may be used for interactive workshops, team exercises, individual comments, and project management to inspire action and focus on results.

Comment

Dream Your City

a network design methodology for collectively reimagining the city

SUMMARY
Dream Your City is a participatory network design methodology aimed at rethinking and redesigning urban facilities in general and public spaces in particular. Citizens take part in a collective brainstorming process that makes visible their common view of a certain urban facility. It is a pioneer approach to the construction of new public spaces and services or the transformation of existing ones, supported by a physical and digital lab that hosts workshops, lectures, urban actions, communication and participation tools. The project involves various stakeholders that become part of the community and participate in some of the five working areas:

URBAN DESIGN, a technical research and urban approach to public infrastructures. It can be also aimed at service design.
PHYSICAL LAB, a “pop-up office” where onsite workshops, lectures, debates and exhibitions take place and the community can meet.
URBAN ACTIONS, a way for citizens to experience directly on the public space possible uses of the future square. Urban ‘mockups’ at 1/1 scale.
DIGITAL LAB, a participatory web platform linked to social media channels and a mobile platform, allowing citizens follow the weekly broadcasts, attend online workshops, discuss and contribute with ideas or feedback.
ACADEMIC NETWORK, exposing the project in local schools and proposing it as the course case study for international universities linked to this global participative brainstorming, and getting fresh, creative inputs.

Social sustainability auditing and action

Using a social sustainability as the starting point for designing and planning interventions with residents.

SUMMARY
Social Life has created a framework for measuring social sustainability that aims to capture the physical and psychological aspects of what makes local communities thrive, or struggle. This was commissioned by the UK Government's Homes and Communities Agencies.

Social Life has used this framework as a way of understanding local neighbourhoods. It captures aspects of residents day to day experience - including wellbeing and belonging - that may be left out of conventional planning. Our focus is to building on local strengths and assets as well as tackling problems.

We can use this analysis as the basis for starting a conversation between agencies and residents about what needs to change, and what should be protected.

In Glasgow, we would convene three workshops, focusing on a particular area of the city, bringing together all the relevant stakeholders from community organisations to public and private sector agencies. The first workshop would carry out the social sustainability assessment, informed by available data. The second would develop options and the third would identity priorities and how these can be taken forward.

Social Life's work draws on ethnography, data analysis, sensitive facilitation and service design methodologies. We have found that the model of "deliberative workshops" - bringing a group of people together over three sessions to interrogate a particular problem - can be powerful in developing solutions to entrenched local problem.

MyNeighbourhood Project

The Human Smart City Vision

SUMMARY
MyNeighbourhood combines the Human Smart City Vision with the co-design and co-creation of solutions to answer to the Wishes, Interests and Needs of citizens (WIN methodology) using also Gamification and Design thinking techniques. 

In this perspective MyNeighbourhood uses ICT at a local level to capture user data to help recreate and motivate collaborative communities to deliver bottom up innovation which will facilitate smarter and more sustainable living. The MyNeighbourhood approach will lead to more efficient resource use within neighbourhoods and will provide the basis for innovative city-wide services for residents, businesses and government. 
User generated contents related to users’ needs and also to the modes of their growing engagement in the neighbourhood networking is integrated with neighbourhood and urban related contents to sustain the neighbourhood vitality and synergize social interaction towards better quality of life. The ultimate aim of MyNeighbourhood is to kick-start a viral effect wherein urban neighbours across Europe will use the MyNeighbourhood platform to reconnect with one another, share new ideas, create new ways of interacting and help to make their lives “smarter”.

Co-producing policy to address poverty

Democratising governance through deliberative accountability

SUMMARY
The Social Action & Research Foundation (SARF) propose a new model of democratic accountability for Glasgow, which brings communities more closely into the decision-making process. 

Co-production is based on recognition that public services are a collaborative project between citizens and the state. It increases the capacity for learning about complex and uncertain causal relationships and supports a broader range of perspectives. This has significant potential to address poverty by bringing in both ‘experiential expertise’ and ‘local knowledge’ into the policy-making process. 

Evidence has shown that policy is most effectively influenced when policy is reflected upon, and alternatives put forward. This project will involve capacity building and action research in partnership with community anchor organisations around regeneration priorities in order to assess the current policies and co-produce evidence in order to collectively identify important social issues and the existing community assets. 

This will use a range of participatory research methods including community reporting, open data and photo-voice. It will then be followed by a supported phase of collaboration and connection between communities and public services to co-design solutions to the identified issues. It will connect community solutions to strategic priorities and include the development of budgets, delivery frameworks and quality assurance.

Commonplace: crowd-sourced, representative planning from the ground up

SUMMARY
Commonplace is a crowd-sourced insight tool for local authorities, property developers and residents. 

Commonplace disrupts slow, adversarial planning with its platform for aspirational collaboration between planners, developers, residents and businesses. It promotes community innovation, transparent decision making, and best practice in consultation. 

It mitigates the risks of planning, lowers the cost of consultation and ensures that communications strategies are appropriate and effective. All this by listening and responding to the needs of the community. If Commonplace was deployed at existing participation levels across London, it would have >100k comments.

Commonplace is extremely simple to install and use. It works on any HTML5 enabled device (e.g. smartphones, tablets & computers), and requires to prior installation. People can add comments in a matter of seconds.

It has a software-as-a-service business model. It is accessed directly from the cloud, so requires no IT support or infrastructure. We charge an annual fee for each installation, and offer significant discounts for multiple installations (e.g. by a city).

Commonplace projects in London and Belfast have proven impact in increasing participation and shifting the demographics of participation in planning, and in raising issues not heard through other channels. Tower Hamlets recently highlighted Commonplace as a ‘gold standard’ in consultation. Other projects will soon launch in more cities around the UK.

Adding Seats to the Table

Engaging Residents of Glasgow in Ongoing Dialogue on Creating Healthy Communities

SUMMARY
While the city of Glasgow has experienced great economic success in recent years, this success has not trickled down to the city's poorest residents. It is important that future growth is guided not only by political and business leaders, but also by the voice of people who live in Glasgow's poorer neighborhoods. Their perspectives can shape economic strategy, guide public and private investment, and ensure that the city's ongoing growth will strengthen their neighborhoods. Such opportunities for dialogue should be meaningful, practical, and ongoing.

The Center for Social Innovation (C4), a mission-driven small business based in Boston, USA, proposes a project called "Adding Seats to the Table: Engaging Residents of Glasgow in Ongoing Dialogue on Creating Healthy Communities." Based on a methodology C4 has used to great success with marginalized groups such as homeless families and youth/young adults in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, we will conduct a set of activities to engage Glasgow's poorest residents in ongoing dialogue with political and business leaders. Specific activities include 1) an environmental scan, 2) a kickoff summit and follow-up work session, 3) an online course on self-advocacy skills, 4) a social media/public awareness campaign to promote engagement, and 5) coaching circles on community organizing. 

We will pilot these strategies in Phase 1 of the project, then work with city leaders to plan an effort to bring the project to scale in Phase 2

We love Thames Ward

Creating Conditions for Convergence

SUMMARY
make:good is an architecture and design studio that puts people at the heart of change in their neighbourhoods. We work on behalf of local authorities and developers to build relationships around regeneration sites, identify projects, services and physical change that people want to see happen and then support them to be delivered. 

This showcase describes an 18 month programme of engagement around the development of Barking Riverside, a brownfield site in East London, into a large residential site with supporting infrastructure. The engagement process took the form of a residency in an empty shop unit to understand how this seemingly huge development could positively impact on people who currently live and work around the site. 

Delivering a range of formal and informal events and workshops we built a broad audience for the project including members of the development team so that ideas were developed collaboratively rather than us being a mediator between the developers and the local communities.

GeniUS! Glasgow

genius.png

Powered by 'us'

SUMMARY
SCY have been working with The City of York Council (CYC) to develop the city's open innovation approach to tackle present and future challenges at both strategic and operational levels. As part of this, the city has opened up the process of solving the bigger medium to long term challenges through conversations with the cities communities, including businesses, academics, residents, community groups and charities. 

This agile approach is called GeniUS! as it involves the power of ‘US’ all working together. The process includes an online platform for placing questions/challenges and for posting solutions, as well as gathering offline conversations and research found elsewhere. The most promising ideas identified and discussed are further developed with support from our team through intensive workshop sessions and going through a proven process to create a tangible ‘pilot implementation plan’. The innovation team help to secure resources when needed, navigate around potential barriers and using their experience and contacts within the council system, aid the idea providers to develop alternate ways of addressing the big challenges. Through this collaborative pilot and scale approach, better solutions can be made real with the community behind them.

We would love to share our approach with Glasgow, to develop a similar relationship with communities who have experienced similar challenges. In this way communities are engaged to co-design their own solutions with your support.

PROBLEM
In Glasgow a huge amount of transformational work has taken place over the last few decades to build a future facing and robust city, making it one of the UK’s main creative and economic powerhouses. Despite this however, there is an uneven spread of benefits and impact of these changes, with areas of deprivation and poverty, poor health, and high unemployment still existing in the peripheral neighbourhoods. Glasgow's stated challenge is a need to find a mechanism to engage communities in co-creating the solutions to these intractable city-wide social and economic problems. 

There is a need to connect with people both online and offline to more deeply understand why problems exist and who in the city understands them the most. Co-developing the best solutions and working together with those affected by the problem, with creative, technical, and other solution providers often provides better solutions at lower overall cost. 

As well as building relationships and trust, the solutions with the most impact can be found when designing them with those affected by the problems. However, this requires a mechanism and process to allow for positive, ‘solution focussed’ idea generation and development to be facilitated between these diverse groups, and a process to navigate any barriers in taking the best ideas through to reality.

SOLUTION
Our approach has its basis in unlocking the physical assets, knowledge capital and creative potential within a city. There is a vast talent base on our doorstep and anyone can be part of finding new and sustainable solutions to the city’s challenges. In an open exchange of people, problems and ideas, in York we are increasingly working as one to develop innovative new solutions to challenges and to put these to the test. Our open innovation platform and process, GeniUS! developed with support from NESTA, has given rise to exciting new pilot projects. At a city level, this new way of thinking has opened up the collective intelligence and resources of the community and partners turning them into a powerful problem-solving tool. It has also ignited a renewed sense of collaboration, with citizens, civil servants and businesses exploring new ideas together for mutual benefit. GeniUS! is a systematic solution for solving challenges and engaging residents, communities, companies and academics in that process. It's not a project-specific solution and can therefore be applied to any suitable challenge. This is a low cost platform and development process which could also work well in Glasgow to engage communities in co-developing solutions to challenges they face. This multi-award winning practice has been in place in York for nearly 2 years. In that time it has undergone continual review, development and improvement. We are currently sharing our approach with 4 other cities globally.

IMPACT ON ECONOMY
GeniUS! draws on the knowledge economy of the city and also seeks to increase inclusion of city communities, residents and businesses in the process of generating ideas and developing solutions. This often leads to local SME's being involved in creating and delivering solutions.

Through the process of peer review using both offline conversations and research then conversation on an online platform and follow on workshops, as well as the support offered by the innovation team to shape the ideas into implementable projects, new innovations can be de-risked and economic impact can be realistically gauged. At the workshop stage the evidence base and business case can be developed in advance of the pilot for each challenge. If the solution is not deemed economically feasible then it will not go beyond this phase. 

Each individual challenge is different in nature, but through the process of refining the ideas and developing the evidence base and business case for each during the workshops, a clear 'benefit margin' can be explored and can be presented to the council's senior team. Where economic benefit and social/environmental benefit is demonstrated, the project can be funded to pilot stage to 'test it out'.

IMPACT ON CULTURE
This is where the biggest impact can be found. The community is at the heart of the project and through working on the challenges posted, real relationships can be developed with the motivated individuals and businesses looking to make a difference in the city. Challenges are well understood at grass roots level and solutions fit closely with the problems when they are suggested by the people who live with those problems.

Bringing in creative, digital, and hi-tech innovative companies to the mix also links new imaginative and technological solutions to the challenges, alerting the council of new innovations and trying out new techniques quickly.

The 'idea providers' win in this project as their ideas are supported, resourced and very quickly implemented with them closely involved in the process. We have specifically focused on making sure ideas are responded to quickly, and that business and community see their ideas come to fruition quickly and effectively.

Everyone benefits, the community through better solutions to their problems, the local authority through many more brains helping to develop solutions which best fit the problems, the local businesses and innovators who can develop solutions for their own city, and who can be rewarded for their efforts through support and city endorsement.

IMPACT ON ECOLOGY
Consideration for environmental impact is inherent in the whole project, which emphasises 'smarter' solutions rather than just cost effective ones. 

The GeniUS! approach also has elements that fall under the sustainable cities theme, in that it enables more efficient city administration and a move of city service delivery towards a more open and future-proof model, where residents and businesses in the city are engaged with the shaping and delivery of city services, and solutions to city problems are more effective. This can mean better outcomes, reduced costs of delivery or a combination of both.

One of the early challenges on the York platform tackled environmental sustainability head-on. i.e. How can footfall and transport be used innovatively to generate income and improve environmental sustainability in the city? 

One proposed solution to this challenge involves fitting paving stones in the city centre which generate electricity as they are walked on. This can dramatically reduce the city's carbon footprint.
When selecting the best ideas from the platform, one of the criteria to get to the second stage is to demonstrate a solution which considers its environmental impact. Through embedding the open innovation process in the city we also hope to receive many more environmentally sound solutions as we progress.

IMPACT ON POLITICS
The solution enables greater engagement and a more active dialogue between the council and citizens, helping move to a model where there is greater discussion and engagement on solutions at a much earlier stage in the political decision making process. It enables a break down of barriers between the council and residents and fosters an 'Us' mentality, rather than 'them vs. us'. 

It facilitates the co-identification of areas on which to focus and the co-design of solutions with people in the city as well as politicians and council officers (such as residents, community groups, businesses, universities etc.).

estonoesunsolar


28 vacant lots re-cycled in public space in the city of Zaragoza

SUMMARY
After many surveys focusing on the Old Town part of Zaragoza made from 2004, different serious problems in the configuration of the public space were detected. Many of them refer to the problem of having an “urban decent standard of living”; others were about non-built sites affecting not only the aesthetics of the urban landscape but also presenting very low health and sanitary conditions. After the process of registering the non-built sites in the Old Town, it was detected that there were mainly in the districts of San Pablo and la Magdalena where could be found the majority of them, highly depressed areas with a high degree of social conflicts. These abandoned areas that were progressively deteriorating and transferring its conflicts on the public space were studied. This absurd interruption of the urban fabric producing a process of degradation in the streets was infecting in an unmistakable way the public area and therefore the citizens living there. The situation mobilised several associations of residents asking the Municipal Government for a solution. The objective was the temporary occupation of vacant plots in the Old Town, both privats or publics, offering different temporary uses in order to reach a 100% use.

PROBLEM
Initially launched as an employment plan in the wake of the financial crisis, estonoesunsolar project sought to reintegrate the unemployed back into the labour market by recruiting citizens to recycle abandoned plots of land in the city of Zaragoza’s.The project began in 2009 with the clearing of run-down sites in the historic city centre and expanded to cover the whole city in 2010. The architects masterminds of the project soon realised that the initiative had the potential to transform disused plots of land for brand new urban uses.They also recognised that by engaging local citizens into the decision making process, it was possible to regenerate the local landscape in a way that closely reflects residents’ needs.So estonoesunsolar was born.The first phase of the project was to clear the plots.This was done by seeking out unemployed citizens and in 2009,41 staff were hired, followed by a further 61 in 2010.The proposed use for each empty plot was determined by municipal district boards comprised of groups of citizens from the local community.These boards were made up of residents from all walks of life and belonging to various organisations, such as neighbourhood associations, schools, parents’ associations and cultural centres, brought together to engage in a participatory process which would determine the future of their neighbourhood.The proposed use for each plot was decided over a series of meetings where all participants were required to meet a unanimous decision.

SOLUTION
The objective was the temporary occupation of vacant plots,both privats or publics,offering different temporary uses in order to reach a 100% use.All these energies converged in the program estonoesunsolar that collected proposals from architects, associations of residents,and that was channelled thanks to the institutional support, managed by Sociedad Municipal Zaragoza Vivienda.The suggestion of the emptiness, the hollow place, the invisible and the silence has been valued.These temporary swellings of the fabric of the old town is a dynamic and changing (temporary) tool allowing us an alternative and flexible reading of the city and the public space. Empty spaces are trusted as a force for creating situations and events. Different agents and complex relations converge in every empty plot of land. This aspect has implied a mixing of complex and intricate agreements with owners. The program began in 2009 in 14 plots in the Old Town and then in 2010 was extended to the all city, recycling other 14 urban voids in public space.The process ensures that the transformed plots exactly meet the requirements of the local residents. Vacant plots have been transformed to create children’s playgrounds,basketball courts, urban gardens and squares.The project has the added benefit of not only turning out new urban social, educational and creative spaces,but also bringing citizens from different backgrounds together to determine the future of their neighbourhoods.

IMPACT ON ECONOMY
Since it was born as an employment plan it encrease the number of employments. a total of 110 new employments were generated during 13 months thanks to this programme. It was also a channel to re-cycle centric areas, instead of spreading the city.

IMPACT ON CULTURE
All these ideas have finally crystallised in concrete interventions. Every non-built site contains an idea; every space is the wish of the residents before the “unreasonable silence of the world”. All the proposals have emerged from processes of citizen participation. A bet has been made on “immaterial” ethereal solutions expressing the provisional character of its presence and establishing dialectics with the already built surroundings through lightness. Every one of the 14 interventions has been a meeting point for citizen’ s requests and the landscape. An intervention has been made on the banks of a re-evaluated river serving as meeting point for children, youngsters and old people. Another intervention has been placed in a half-point between an Alzheimer centre and a centre for children. Work has been done using the concept of memories and the memory. Another action has been implemented in an edge point of the city, in its meeting point with the landscape through different urban orchards that melt with the surrounding landscape. This has been made in every non-built site strategically chosen. 42,000 m² of public (transitory) space has been added to the city.At the same time,many different cultural and educational activities have been carried out that emphasise the value of the interventions,inviting citizens to experience these spaces. Important collaboration+support to artistical intervention such as the Trayectos (dance in public space) Asalto (graffit art), Cinema..

IMPACT ON ECOLOGY
More than 160 trees have been added in the green areas as parks or children playgrounds.
Since it’s a very low budget programme (only 24 euros x m²) it was an effort for architects trying to re-cycle materials as pallets and wood. Thanks to the collaboration with citizens, new vegetable gardens are grown. Neighbors have their own vegetables and use these areas as a place where to meet, where their children can study while they are planting. 

IMPACT ON POLITICS
The city of Zaragoza has 14 districts. Each district has a councillor of a different politic group. This programme has been accepted by all political groups. It' s also a good instrument for politics since the programme gives an answer directly to the citizens wishes.
The programme offers a quick answer to the needs of each neighbourhood, analysing the socio-economic conditions, amenities and green spaces that already exist, as well as the deficiencies of each area. Social cohesion is favoured through citizen participation processes.

R-Urban

Participative strategy for practices and networks of local resilience

SUMMARY
R-Urban is a bottom-up strategy which explores possibilities of enhancing the capacity of resilience of a suburban town by introducing a network of resident-run facilities to create complementarities between key fields of activity (economy, habitat, urban agriculture, culture) and initiate locally closed ecological cycles of materials, energy and services that will support the emergence of alternative models of living, producing and consuming between the urban and the rural. 
The project sets up a precedent for a bottom up participative retrofitting of metropolitan suburbs, in which the relation between the urban and the rural is reconsidered. It demonstrates what citizen can do if they organise themselves around new facilities, changing their working and and living habits and addressing collectively the challenges of the future.

PROBLEM
Recently the global awareness and calls for the necessity of collective action to face the current and future challenges have become greater : global warming, depletion of fossil fuels and other natural resources, economic recession, population growth, housing and employment crisis, increased social and economic divide, geo-political conflicts, etc.

These calls have been amplified in the current economic crisis situation, and within this context, while governments and institutions seem to take too long to agree and act, many initiatives start at local scale. These initiatives are nevertheless confronted with the difficulty of changing the current economic and social models of society based on globally scaled economics, which are based on increasing consumption and subsequent exclusion of those who are not able to ‘consume’. How to support initiatives that oppose the current consumption models? How to construct a more socially oriented economy? How to act? What tools and what means to use in times of crisis and scarcity? How to reactivate and sustain cultures of collaboration and sharing within the current society, based on individualism and competition? How to initiate progressive practices while acting locally and small scale? 

SOLUTION
R-Urban is a participative strategy of resilience consisting in a series of ecological, economic, cultural and social agencies based on coordinated actions at different local scales (domestic, town, region) and complementarities between key fields of urban activity (economy, habitat, agriculture, culture). The strategy is centred on the active involvement of citizens in initiating collaborative practices and creating solidarity networks. A number of pilot architectural projects are gradually implemented to create a network of locally closed ecological cycles across these fields, transforming the context in a resilient ecosystem. R-Urban began in Colombes, a suburban town near Paris in 2011, in partnership with the local municipality and a number of organisations, involving a diversity of local residents. 

R-Urban takes support in Colombes’s cultural and social diversity and starts with launching a number of collective facilities including recycling and eco-construction, cooperative housing and urban agriculture units, which are working together to set up the first spatial and ecological agencies in the area. Their architecture showcases the different issues they address: local material recycling, local skills, energy production, food growing, etc. The pilot facilities are collectively run and catalyze existing activities aiming to disseminate at individual and domestic levels, introducing resilient habits and lifestyles that residents can adopt and practice themselves.

IMPACT ON ECONOMY
Agrocité is an agro-cultural unit, comprising an experimental micro-farm, community gardens, pedagogical and cultural spaces and a series of experimental devices for compost heating, rain water collection, solar energy production, aquaponic gardening, phyto-remediation. Agrocité is a hybrid structure, with components running as social enterprise (the micro-farm, the market and the cafe) and another being run by a number of users organisations (community garden, cultural and pedagogical space) and local associations.

Recyclab is a recycling and eco-construction unit which consists in a number of facilities for storage, recycling, reusing and transformation of locally salvaged materials into eco-construction elements for self building and retrofitting. A fab lab is set up for residents’ use. Recyclab will function as a social enterprise.

Ecohab is cooperative eco-housing unit which consists in a number of partially self-built and collectively managed ecological dwellings, including a number of shared facilities and schemes (food growing, production spaces, energy and water harvesting, car sharing). The 7 dwellings will include 2 social flats and a temporary residency for students and researchers. Ecohab will run as a cooperative.

The units will have a civic economy dimension with 4 social entreprises and 10 Jobs created initially in fields like urban agriculture, waste recycling, eco-construction, civic education.

IMPACT ON CULTURE
The R-Urban resilience promoted with minimal means, paradoxically allows for more social, cultural, and subjective diversity. The accumulation of numerous small changes that will form a large-scale strategy depends on the long term involvement of individual participants and on the collective dynamics around their initiatives. R-Urban aims for an urban environment which can adapt itself to the aspirations of every city dweller. This should be constituted progressively, by welcoming the most varied range of activities proposed by all kind of residents, including activities developed in free time. In a second time, these free time activities could evolve into economic, cultural and ecological initiatives that will gradually replace the current productive and re-productive relations and will fundamentally define more democratic and more sustainable ways of working and living.

R-Urban recognises the condition of ‘dweller’ as political and promotes an emancipatory politics of living within populations who are usually limited in their existential choice by their social condition and the spatial, social and cultural experiences they have access to. 

IMPACT ON ECOLOGY

Concentrating on spatial agencies and pilot facilities, R-Urban tries to offer these tools and spaces that will make visible the existing citizen resilient initiatives and practices. Spatial design processes contribute to express the ecological cycles in physical and tangible ways and engage inhabitants in experiences of making and doing. Democratic governance principles are as such associated to concrete hands-on actions whose consequences are visible and measurable. More than just adaption, resilience is for R-Urban a catalyst for urban activation, innovation and creativity. 

A number of concrete impact results are expected: 
– recycling and reusing more than 75% of Units’ waste 
– demonstrating the operability of urban environmental systems in specific urban contexts and reduction by 40% the environmental footprint of the created or converted urban facilities, by engaging in uses that reduce the consumption of fossil fuels;
– initiating and integrating new Environmental Units into the R-URBAN network through accelerated administrative procedures, anticipating the reversible use of available land and the conversion of existing public facilities (20% by 2020); 
– making sustainable collective environmental practices within the greatest possible diversity of populations (large investment aimed at 15% of the population of Colombes), creating links with rural communities in the IledeFrance Region (first partnerships in 2015) and the creation of an R-URBAN charter with the s

IMPACT ON POLITICS
R-Urban claims urban sustainability as a civic right. In this sense, R-Urban creates the conditions for this ‘right to sustainability’ to be exerted not only as a right to access and consume sustainability (provided by a Welfare State) but as a right to produce sustainability (allowing citizen’ involvement in decision taking and action). Sustainability is on the agenda of many urban projects today but this doesn’t mean that all these projects are political in their approach to the issue. 

A political ecology approach, such as R-Urban, does not only assert positively and uncritically development dynamics but questions also the processes that bring about uneven urban environments and the social consequences of urban sustainability.

R-Urban is not only about grassroots innovation to meet social, economic and environmental needs, but also about a political critique and an ideological statement, which affirms the necessity of new social and economic agencies based on alternatives to the dominant socio-technical regime. Through its self-organised constituency, R-Urban gives the means to all those involve to act locally at their own scale of dwelling and opens up possibilities for actions and activities that could change their future. It affirms their ‘right to resilience’.