With State of the Art as its first theme, Human Cities: Challenging the City Scale aims to set up a common ground in tackling the issue of how people challenge the urban scale and flow in Europe today.”
The Human Cities partnership is currently reviewing different case studies that contribute to rethinking and reactivating public space in contemporary European cities. With a bottom-up approach – projects initiated and run by the civic society groups – these case studies describe and explain how people organise themselves in specific territories, to question local issues and to see how ideas evolve (or not) out of these environments to influence the city on multiple levels.
A special attention is given to the processes and the key actors of these processes. Without them the bottom up urban initiatives are neither born nor survive and prosper in a longer term. Understanding their backgrounds and motivations is essential to the global comprehension of a project.
Various types of the activities that have a direct or indirect relation to the establishment of the urban public space were identified in the first stage of the State of the art review, e.g. food and other goods production and delivery, leisure, transportation, urban living, urban regeneration etc. The review shows that the initiatives may be a hybrid in between formal and informal, top-down and bottom-up, profit and not for profit and at different stages of evolution.
The role of design in each project is evaluated too. Design is interpreted in a rather broad terms and relates not only to physical design of the urban environments but also the social dimensions of urban life. The research goal is to identify the role of design in reinvention of urban public space, which are interpreted as “flow spaces”, spaces where interactions happen, where hierarchies such as public/private or digital/physical are overcome and added values of urban life are apparent.
In the second part of the State of the art review, while new cases are being collected, some initiatives will be researched into depth in order to understand better the (un)success factors and mechanisms of breaking-through initiatives. By doing so know-how will be generated and offered to existing or newly to emerge practices.
Coordination : Cité du design StEtienne – Politecnico di Milano – UIRS from Ljubljana.
Contributors : all our partners.