Collaborative Planning is a process that helps connecting and bringing together different actors to help transform our cities.
Transformation can be fine-tuned by giving more attention to the spaces forgotten by urban development projects like abandoned industrial sites or underused public spaces. In the Collaborative Planning workshops, we work together with local communities and invite international experts from around Europe to come together and elaborate ways to intervene in a local situation. The international component is key to the success of the workshops: we believe that by exchanging expertise internationally, we provide fresh knowledge and a new experience of design and planning not only to workshop participants but also to the cities’ representatives. The workshops we have organised throughout the years confirmed our acknowledgement of the gradual shift in the role of architects and planners in urban development processes.
This shift corresponds to the economic crisis which not only showed how speculation-based development schemes proved unsustainable, but also demonstrated the inability of traditional planning methods to handle more complex and unconventional planning issues. The same crisis also deprived many architects of their jobs, forcing them to venture into neighbouring fields such as graphic design, publishing or teaching: these experiences helped designers acquire new expertises and take their new insights back into the architecture practice, enriching it with new methods and defining new roles for the profession. Experiencing the changing circumstances from a close proximity, architects started to see themselves less as designers of pretty objects, than as conceivers of processes, engaging with various economic and social forces in the urban context. Discovering their capacities as initiators of communication campaigns, spatial interventions, pop-up installations, temporary use programs, architects spent the past years exploring new approaches to urban challenges. One of the objectives of the the Collaborative Planning workshops is to bring these experiments in dialogue with the official city planning. With this activity, we support an emerging trend: in recent years, bottom up design and planning initiatives have been recognised as important contributions to urban development; institutions began embracing these practices as valuable methods in mainstream planning.
In order to bring together design and planning professionals and local stakeholders to elaborate strategies for local change, the Collaborative Planning workshops have developed three different program types: communication, prototyping and process design. These program types have been deployed in a variety of European cities like Budapest, Venice, Mannheim, Cluj and Vienna: in these cities, we worked to link local partners and young professionals from across the continent to collectively think of new spatial possibilities. In Cluj, a series of postcards referring to the regeneration potentials of an abandoned area were produced and addressed to the Mayor; in Mannheim, a participation toolkit was developed to feed into the ongoing process around the conversion of military areas; in Budapest a framework was designed to develop a city agency that could deal with vacant properties by promoting temporary uses.
In order to bring about local change through fresh ideas, a diversity of actions by a wide range of actors need to be carried out in a coordinated manner; Collaborative Planning can help fostering this collaboration by engaging them in working together to improve their city.
Collaborative Planning in Kiev, UA
Collaborative Planning in Vienna, AT
Collaborative Planning in Mannheim, DE