On February 17, the international “Social Cities of Tomorrow” conference was held in Amsterdam. Prior to this conference, a three-day “Designing Social Cities of Tomorrow” workshop was held in which international participants from various professional backgrounds collaborated with local stakeholder organisations on 4 real-world urban cases: Urban Pioneers Zeeburgereiland (Amsterdam), Haagse Havens (The Hague), Strijp-S (Eindhoven), and Amsterdam Civic Innovator Network. On February 16, the results of this workshop were presented in a sold-out hall. Fortunately, I managed to get one of the last tickets. I was particularly interested in this workshop, as I thought it might generate some concrete ideas to help us co-create the new Tilburg Spoorzone. I was not disappointed, and really very pleased with the overall quality, originality, and feasibility of the ideas.
For the first three cases, quite detailed “how to do it” plans were unfolded, the presentation of the fourth case focused on the theoretical underpinnings of a civic innovator network. A good summary by Laurent Hubeek of the presentations of case 1 & 2 can be found here, that of case 3 & 4 here. I took detailed notes during the case presentations. They’re rather rough, but I include them here to capture the atmosphere and as an additional recording of the insights presented. Hopefully they help to inspire further thinking.
- There’s a new resource: the data the city is generating
- Name issues in new ways, discover patterns, bring up/visualize new issues in ways you couldn’t do before
- Engage people, give them a new sense of place (e.g. storytelling, urban gaming)
- Ways how we organize ourselves: peer-to-peer organization around issues
Taking this into account, the questions posed to the teams were:
- How can we get citizens to feel they belong and feel that the city belongs to them as well?
- How do we design for ‘ownership’?
- Stage 1: “First meeting/first engagement”. Get commitment from municipality and locals. Start with two people from the city, three business owners community, plus a facilitator. Make a video trailer of locals interviewing locals “Love/Hate the Neighborhood”. Then present the trailer to community.
- Stage 2: “Choose your neighbor/Meet your neighbor”. Continue and expand the collaboration, both online + offline. Lots of locals are not involved with online media, and they have no incentives to become digitized. Build on those local face-to-face, strong social network values.
- The first step is to create a community website for fostering co-creation. Before, plans always came from one stakeholder (municipality, couple of business owners), but were never co-created by all stakeholders together. The online platform would be centered around an evolving online map co-created by all stakeholders. There could be many different kind of inputs (e.g. ideas for the area, e.g. businesses that could come into a vacant spot; communication about events, etc.). There should be an online record of present and past ideas, in order to create continuity.
- Also create a loop back to “analog people”. Create a lunch-bus! This would serve as a mobile restaurant to bring stakeholders together (including a municipality representative) and to foster storytelling. People eat and discuss. A “table cloth map” would show the online map to the people around the table through a facilitator. The recorded discussions would be fed back into online website. It’s a very practical way to foster co-creation.
- Connect to the DNA of the area
- Increase the experience
- Inspire people
- Be interactive
- High density
- Mixed activites
- Vibrancy 24/7
- Attractive facilities
- Open data
- Free to access and use
- Intelligent and connected
- Smart regulations: how to deregulate?
- Generate trust
- Power shift
- Distributed ownership
- Focus on mutual benefits: money should be minimum motivation
- New business model is key
- Open the data, but do something with it, e.g. improve public services
- If it saves a certain type of costs, some of the money could go to funds to stimulate more innovation. A percentage could give to person/community who came up with the idea.
- Connect existing communities & platforms.
- Open and flatten internal organization.
- Let civic innovators network grow.