Almere Homeruskwartier: A place built by people

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A&DS recently collaborated with RUDI, The Homes and Communities Agency, The Glasshouse and Newstart on a project to explore how adopting an approach to small scale and incremental change might help make more of what already exists in places, and drive new forms of change. The event, which was hosted in Newcastle, broyght together a range of policymakers and practioners from different fields of interest in changing places. Three key issues emerged from the discussions:

Intent: how we understand our intent to work with and transform places is important. A useful starting point is to better understand the narrative of the place, its resources and assets and imagine different possibilities within these parameters for change. Change could be about social and economic change, using ‘place’ as a way of getting people together to share ideas and commit to resourcing change. Change could be physical with design as a vehicle to make things happen. In each place, the architecture of the problems in the place will be different, as will the solutions.

Collaboration: making more of what we have requires a culture of sharing resources. This in turn requires a culture of conversation with meaning, the processes of collaboration. Collaboration is effective, not easy to do. The challenge of doing it should not be the default reason not to, not to try in a place with the people there, to establish a particular way of collaborating to achieve the best that can be achieved. Starting small, building projects to deliver modest impacts but demonstrate practical ways collaboration can actually work matter.

Success: Jacqueline Tellinga presented an overview of the work of the City and citizens in developing a new community of participation at Almere. This project mixes a range of different forms of spatial change, from plot based self build, to co-operative development to traditional development. The forms vary, as do the processes but the intent and the outcome are similar; maximise cohesion opportunities, maximise opportunities for identity building and smart use of available resources, now and for the future. Within the discussion, Jacqueline laid out a narrative of where there was a need for prescriptive parameters and where there was a need for loose rules, given meaning and texture by the citizens. Success was about a clear focus on the outcome, and negotiation on the processes. Learning was embedded as a key element of making the project as a whole work

A summary of the presentations and discussions is available here

RUDI will be developing these themes as part of their Placemaking publication, which will be published later this year. Details of the publication are available here


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