2012 Architecture & Planning in Times of Scarcity Reclaiming the Possibility of Making

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Architecture & Planning in Times of Scarcity Reclaiming the Possibility of Making
    (AESOP, 2012) Iossifova, Deljana
    UN-Habitat, represented by its Central European Office in cooperation AESOP in September 2010 organized the 1st European Urban Summer School (EUSS) for young planning professionals. The host was the Wrocław University of Technology, Poland. The topic of the EUSS was Heritage and Sustainability. Izabela Mironowicz was the head of the school while Krzysztof Mularczyk acted as UN Habitat Coordinator. The 2010 EUSS took as its starting point the fact that urbanisation is a global process, yet it has left a particular legacy in European cities. Students and tutors with diverse backgrounds congregated from all over Europe and beyond in a central European city to gain a better understanding of urban change. Reconciling heritage with development was the challenge to achieve a more sustainable urban future. ‘Sustainability’ was conceived here as a balance between historic legacy, regeneration and citywide urban transformation. Wroclaw, the host city generously provided the empirical setting to test these assumptions, to verify their validity through international comparisons, and to offer young professionals the opportunity to elaborate interventions towards a more sustainable urban future.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The european urban summer school (EUSS) and young planning professionals awards (YPPA)
    (SoftGrid in association with AESOP and IFHP, 2014) Mironowicz, Izabela; Martin, Derek
    In 2010, the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP) launched a new annual event: the European Urban Summer School (EUSS) for young planning professionals. AESOP wanted to bring together young professionals and experienced academics and practitioners across Europe to discuss spatial issues. AESOP’s aim was to facilitate a better trans-European understanding of planning issues, promote an exchange of ideas and foster a debate on the most important planning topics. These aims corresponded with AESOP objectives set out in the AESOP Charter. AESOP offers its teaching resources at EUSSs. Members of AESOP – European universities teaching planning – host the event. The EUSS is not a commercial venture. It is meant as a platform of debate and should be run on as low as possible fee for participants. Tutors do not get any fee for their work.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Insurgence! Reclaiming the possibility of making the city
    (SoftGrid in association with AESOP and IFHP, 2014) Iossifova, Deljana
    In September 2012, almost 100 young planning professionals, post-graduate students, established academics and experienced practitioners came together in London to develop new approaches to issues around scarcity in architecture, planning and design. The Third European Urban Summer School (EUSS) – Times of Scarcity: reclaiming the possibility of making – was hosted in London by the University of Westminster, School of Architecture and the Built Environment, in collaboration with the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP), the International Federation for Housing and Planning (IFHP), the European Council of Spatial Planners (ECTP-CEU) and the International Society for City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP). The main partner in facilitating the EUSS was the London team behind the research project Scarcity and Creativity in the Built Environment (SCIBE). To coincide with the third EUSS, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment announced the International Award for Young Planning Professionals to encourage ideas with innovation potential on the topic of ‘Adapting Cities to Scarcity: new ideas for action’. The award-winning entries are included in this publication.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The context of scarcity: a very brief introduction to bromley-by-bow
    (SoftGrid in association with AESOP and IFHP, 2014) Iossifova, Deljana
    Scarcity and Creativity in the Built Environment (SCIBE) is a 3-year collaborative research project with teams in London, Vienna, Reykjavik and Oslo. In London, the project looks at the potential of creativity to intervene in the processes that trigger, maintain and reproduce scarcity with a special focus on Bromley-by-Bow, east London, one of the UK’s most ‘deprived’ communities. Instead of inventing or appropriating pre-defined issues around scarcity, we designed our research to bring out what kinds of scarcities are experienced by people in ‘deprived’ areas, where, we assumed, scarcities of all sorts should certainly be present. Our aim was to develop a non-instrumental ‘design brief’ which should serve as the basis for work with selected designers (architects) and other creative design and planning professionals. In the hope to understand what scarcity means in the context of a ‘deprived’ east London ward, we photographed and observed, asked 105 residents to take part in a survey and more than 30 to contribute their own photographs and to tell the stories behind them.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Mind the gap: facts about scarcity? A confrontation of governmental and users’ perspectives of overcrowding in british housing
    (SoftGrid in association with AESOP and IFHP, 2014) Klein, Michael; Ascher, Barbara Elisabeth; Nunez Ferrera, Isis
    Scarcity can be understood as an attempt to state a condition of lack or a limit of availability of something. What and when we consider something to be scarce relates to large extents to the motivation and the respective standpoint from where the claim scarcity is raised. The contextual forces, which range from the material conditions and its use to the cultural practices, norms and values expressed by people living in those specific environments, can be considered a decisive factor for the differences from what one considers as scarce to the other. Ultimately, it is a matter for what purpose we raise the question about scarcity: from a historical distance, from the perspective of the directly affected, as a designer, policy maker or from a critical theoretical perspective. It is, however, as well a question of the limits referred to and a matter of distribution, i.e. who gets what share. In order to discuss the challenges of scarcity in the discourses in planning and architecture, we look at the specific case of overcrowding in housing. Overcrowding can be considered a specific, ‘actual’ scarcity, as opposed to the theoretic abstraction of the concept of scarcity. Indeed, we are aware that any form of scarcity is constructed. Our aim is to discuss a dualism which arises from the attempt of separating abstract concepts from praxis within the realm of planning. Because of the relational character of scarcity, the dualism of the abstract category and the everyday experience and practices also affects our understanding of overcrowding. What we consider scarce, does not only relate to the respective context, but, in its relational nature, it shifts and alters with the changing context, which raises the question of how to define or determine scarcity.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Scarcity in practice: Assemble and sugarhouse studios
    (SoftGrid in association with AESOP and IFHP, 2014)
    If scarcity is the disjunction between wants/ambitions and the resources at hand, our work has been a process of prioritizing things, or the process of finding alternative means to fulfil ambitions. It is worth saying that what brought us together to work independently and in an undefined/continuously evolving way [as Assemble, a design and architecture collective], was our previous experience working in offices. The scarcity could be described as the lack of integrated design, or an understanding of how a task relates to the overall project ambition; how a CAD drawing relates to the act of casting concrete. As our practice grows, more ‘scarcities’ creep up, such as financial resources in relation to growing ambition, our experience in relation to a desire to maintain a democratic management, etc... Sometimes the realization of the ‘scarcity’ in a project, or in a situation, is what frames subsequent problem solving. Ignoring the ‘scarcity’, i.e. not taking a step back, has always had a detrimental effect on the work – for example not working out the budget/sustainability of a thing; relying too much on the power of on-site instinct; or vice versa. Similarly allowing the scarcity to lead the design has produced unexpected results. For Cineroleum for example, the desire to recreate the luxury of the picture palace combined with the need to find the cheapest, most durable materials. Similarly much consideration was invested into the details of the foyer, as well as the programming of the films – from popcorn holders to staff uniforms, car noise friendly films, everything was important. Not to mention the importance of making profit on the bar, as a way of covering our overheads.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Strategic planning in london in an age of scarcity
    (SoftGrid in association with AESOP and IFHP, 2014) Bowie, Duncan
    As one of the leading ‘world cities’, the governance and planning of London generates considerable international interest. London’s hosting of the 2012 Olympics focused significant attention on the city, but it is important to study the development of London as a whole as well as the delivery of a single mega-event. In the last decade, London has changed dramatically, the most visible change being the London skyline, with a new host of high-rise buildings – with the recently completed Shard building being, at least for the time being, the highest building in Western Europe. But it is important to look beyond the most visible change and to understand both the successes and failures of London’s governance and spatial planning regimes; to understand the interaction of the recession, representing scarcity of public and private resources, and the scarcity of land imposed by historic but intentionally created spatial planning policies. In 2000, London chose its first directly elected Mayor. For the previous 14 years, London did not have its own directly elected administration and with the abolition of the Greater London Council in 1986, was directly managed by Central Government. The 33 lower tier authorities – the 32 London boroughs and the Corporation of the City of London continued to provide local services, but were not in practice strategic authorities. Central Government was responsible for strategic planning guidance and ran some investment programmes directly (for example the Housing Investment Programme through its agency, the Housing Corporation) or allocated capital and revenue resources to the boroughs. The borough-controlled London Planning Advisory Committee could advise the Government but had no statutory basis to publish plans. The establishment of the Mayoralty in 2000 created a new regional executive authority, together with an elected London assembly to act as scrutiny body. The Mayor became the strategic planning authority for London and was also given powers to intervene in specific new developments. The Mayor was also given control of London’s bus and underground network, though not of its surface rail network, and part control of the London Development Agency, the Government’s regional regeneration organisation.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Sustainable communities
    (SoftGrid in association with AESOP and IFHP, 2014) Proctor, Mat
    The planning and construction of ‘ideal’ urban forms in the modern era dates to the 19th century, and Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City concept. The advent of the environmental/sustainability agenda since the 1970s, and the imperative to reinvent many cities in a post-industrial age, has revived the debate, and it is within these parameters that the concept of ‘sustainable communities’ exists. Sustainability has been subject to multiple definitions - in general terms ‘sustainable development’ has meant pursuing growth economic strategies that ‘put greater value on environmental resources, extend the time horizons in which actors think and operate, and promote greater equity between different social groups and communities, primarily through new forms of democratic governance’ (Raco, 2005). Perhaps more specifically to urban planning and urban design, Owens & Cowell (2002) describe sustainable development and communities as the prioritising of 3 inter-related objectives in city design – environmental protection (reducing resource consumption, waste, and pollution); social development (equity and justice), and the pursuit of economic growth. In his polemic Cities for a Small Planet, the architect Lord Richard Rogers defines the ‘sustainable city’ as: A Just City where resources, education, and justice are fairly distributed, and in which all feel enfranchised; A Beautiful City, where physical surroundings fire the imagination; A Creative City, where people are encouraged to experiment, solve problems, and fulfil their potential; An Ecological City with minimal environmental impact and optimal resource efficiency; A City of Easy Contact, where the public realm is valued and information is freely exchanged, virtually and face-to-face; A Compact and Polycentric City, which respects surrounding countryside and focuses on neighbourhoods; A Diverse City, in which activities overlap to generate animation and inspiration.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Gentrification or local gain? Spatial development under austerity: the case of east london
    (SoftGrid in association with AESOP and IFHP, 2014) Ryser, Judith
    Context of the bromley-by-bow study area. Any long term scenario for future spatial development benefits from a long view into the past to discover the ‘archaeology of spatial memory’. Recovery from the Second World War with its devastating destruction is chosen to trace London’s regeneration strategies and efforts to rebalance London’s East and West. Patrick Abercrombie included rebalancing East and West in the 1944 London County Council (LCC) ‘Greater London Plan’, based on ‘social studies’ in the Charles Booth tradition,1 aimed to establish balanced local neighbourhoods2 and to decongest London into eight self-contained new towns beyond a newly established green belt to contain London’s growth. However, London’s population of 8.6 million in 1939 had shrunk by about half a million 3 and there was a great need to regenerate London’s destroyed fabric.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Changing contexts and visions for planning: the case of madrid central area
    (SoftGrid in association with AESOP and IFHP, 2014) Franchini, Teresa
    How to cope with the concept of scarcity as an issue for planning? What does it imply for a traditional planning system based on a set of instruments aimed at guiding the city in the long term? To what extent does a master plan have the capacity to deal with the issue of scarcity? How can these plans be successful - or not - in this attempt? In which way does the changing economic and social context influence the type of planning pushed forward by the authorities in charge of the matter? This article tries to give some answers to these questions by exploring the interplay which exists between the overall economic context, the dominant vision in planning, and the planning instruments produced for cities affected by changing circumstances, drawing on the master plans designed for Madrid during the last 30 years. The article is structured around these three key aspects, with the aim to extract some lessons from this experience. The laboratory used to explore these questions is the central district of the city. It is an urban realm to which all the approved planning instruments have given a special treatment to improve a traditionally deprived area, whatever their supportive vision.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Shrinkage is sexy: A new strategy to make a shrinking urban area the most vital part of town
    (SoftGrid in association with AESOP and IFHP, 2014) Kustermans, Clenn
    Shrinkage is globally considered as a negative phenomenon, and shrinking cities are seen as the opposite of growing, successful cities. Psychologically, there’s strong coherence between this consideration and the development of our human body and mind. In our lives, shrinkage is the precursor of dying. But when city quarters dealing with a gradually declining population and an emptying housing stock are declared as Free States, these urban areas could become the most vital part of the body, err town. Within Free States, unused space could be exploited for the fulfilment of individual and collective living desires. Create whatever you want! Because of declaring Free States and striking out several regulations, (local) governments and collective house-owners can focus their gained time and money on small scaled actions. Strict and rigorous interventions are sometimes necessary, especially when too many houses lack occupancy. Overall quality can be increased by effective, inexpensive and fast actions. The tristesse of the former over-regulated shrinking area can slowly disappear, and possibilities for a happy life will attract young people who tend to start their career as independents. In order to shape a socially sustainable space, the idea of all generations living together is implemented in a new concept of state-offered services. To achieve such a thing, keywords are trust, community, solidarity and action. By showing the example of the post-socialist city of Chemnitz in Eastern Germany, I try to filter general principles that can be applied in other shrinking urban areas in Europe. Chemnitz, once an important industrial centre and the socialist model city Karl-Marx-Stadt, has been struggling with population decline and urban decay since the 1980s. Especially the ‘Plattenbausiedlungen’, or tower block areas, are in need of alternative answers. The potentials of the empty DDR blocks and the public space are huge.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Costa de la Ruina: Neglected places at the Costa del Sol all the way from Malaga to Manilve
    (SoftGrid in association with AESOP and IFHP, 2014) Seyfarth, Sebastian
    This chapter deals with the topic of the current situation of hundreds of empty and abandoned construction sites and their relations to their environment. This phenomenon has its roots in the time of mass construction, which was followed by the global financial crises. Nowadays these places are neglected and avoided by local residents and city municipalities. In particular, this paper is going to refer to the example of the Costa del Sol area in the south of Spain as the main case study. Since the 1950th this area in southern Spain experienced a tremendous urban growth in providing settlements and infrastructure for Mass Tourism. Rapidly it became one of the most travelled holiday destinations for Europeans. Short term vacation tourism, as well as long term and constant residents from Spain and abroad, bought a 2nd or summer resident home at the coast. Hence the major part of the developments comprises residential buildings. Most of these developments especially inland, prioritised time efficiency of construction, not quality of the structures. The developments have almost no reference to the history or identity of that area. This creates the feeling of being in a copy-paste-mass-production-urbanisation, with fences and borders. There are isolated settlements, unrelated to their surrounding and even other neighbouring regions. The levelling of the topography to establish infrastructure for roads and houses caused big scale nature destruction and landscape sealing. These developments continued until the Spanish property bubble burst in 2008 due to the global economy and financial crisis. Since then plenty of ‘in progress’ buildings stopped in construction and still remain in that very situation as they came to halt four years ago. Some of the developments could continue but even these structures are empty today. Together with other vacant developments they are generating ghost towns as though nobody ever lived there. What is going to happen with that kind of abandoned and neglected urban obstacles, when there is no money to continue, to transform or to destruct? How can one interact with the residential building typology that appears along the coast and has become part of Costa del Sol’s identity?
  • ItemOpen Access
    Culture hungers: new appetites for contemporary cities
    (SoftGrid in association with AESOP and IFHP, 2014) Maioli, Serena
    Dysfunctional abundance. The city is an egg (Price, 1961). The ancient city, hemmed in the physical line of the walls and made up of an historical core, is a boiled egg: we are able to distinguish the borders and its density. During the centuries of industrialization and demographic boom, the city begins to develop itself beyond the walls, taking the form of a fried egg: the periphery is born. The city centre, up to now solid on the core, loses its magnetic force and infects itself with an urban magma which floods everything dissolving hierarchies: the modern city become scrambled.Despite Price’s model, our cities entered a new phase, one in which growth and the blending of centres and periphery brings about a new phenomenon of erosion and blurring: it causes the emptying of entire urban parts, towards a porous islands’ city model (Ungers, 1977). We are living in redundant spaces, unfinished or unplanned, revealing a stopped growing process: we are talking about vacant spaces or, more often, completed spaces with function but without sense. We can define those spaces ‘urban lacunas’; they are protagonists in the loss of meaning of the whole work which is the city. Is abandonment a symptom of crisis or the result of a natural selection? We cannot continue categorizing shrinkage as a contemporary wound or a sign of decline; rather, we have to admit it is the expression of latent social behaviours and economic trends which bring us to reconsider quantity and quality of the space. The emptying scenario is a topic in the debate among local community and hyper-community (political and economic), two opposite fronts both for aims and kind of space use.To understand the reasons of shrinkage we have to observe how people meet, how they eat, what they buy, how long they live in public space or in private: substantially, it’s time to study the culture space capable of synthesizing the identity of a bigger de-territorialized community.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Spatial assemblages:the production of space(s) beyond the imperative of growth
    (SoftGrid in association with AESOP and IFHP, 2014) Santos, Rui
    What sort of spatial practices may respond, in a systematic way, to the challenges of post-growth economies? Though stressing social and environmental concerns, politically committed spatial practices and their theoretical counterparts emerging since the 1960’s have not aimed at responding directly to such challenges. 1 In the light of the present, and of successive, financial and economic crisis, this may be, however, a relevant question for spatial disciplines, particularly for architecture and planning practices which have been lately involved in the production of ‘global commodities’. As debates on ‘shrinking cities’, growth imperatives and socio-environmental externalities of economic development gain public recognition, a radical revision of processes concerning the production of space(s) is being called upon to accommodate claims from ecological economics and political ecology. It could be argued, therefore, that spatial disciplines are ill-prepared for future challenges and that a new set of spatial practices must be convened and debated. But, in order to do so, one must previously clarify 1) what is meant by post-growth economies, 2) what are their founding assumptions and 3) how can they be translated into a set of urban policies consistent enough to inform spatial practices. Only then can we try to understand what sort of practices may be convened, what concepts can act as mediators between them and possible framing discourses, and finally argue on their expectable impacts.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Re-using outdated infrastructure: the case of guadalmedina riverbed
    (SoftGrid in association with AESOP and IFHP, 2014) Sempere, Ramon; Marrades Segovia, Chema
    In this paper we present an urban process that will foster the benefits of an outdated infrastructure through public use, which works as a catalyst for economic revitalization. Guadalmedina River, in Málaga (Spain) is a dried river that splits the city in two parts. Architects drew up plans to recover this area as a public space. Politicians convened hearings. Editorialists wrote impassioned commentaries. But everything they planned was too costly and nothing happened for decades. The open model of Guadalmedina public use as presented in this proposal is an example of new forms of urban intervention in a context characterized by difficulties in making major interventions involving heavy investment efforts. It belongs to the orbit of the new trends in planning intervention based on the creation of new spaces of social opportunity, high impact, high effectiveness and low budgets. It involves the mobilization of underutilized resources of the city, in this case the Guadalmedina and all its area of influence, urban intelligence and opportunities to generate new resources for economic development and social enjoyment.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Influence of globalization on cities: shopping malls in Czech Republic 1992-2012
    (SoftGrid in association with AESOP and IFHP, 2014) Háblová, Anna
    The information revolution and globalization has caused an overall awareness of the limited resources of the Earth. The basic social values are no longer only economic indicators such as efficiency, speed and mass production. There has been a transformation of social values and social paradigm and awareness of Scarcity as the fundamental economic problem of having seemingly unlimited human wants and needs in a world of limited resources. From the perspective of the new paradigm are shopping malls unsustainable and unacceptable. What helped to recognize Scarcity was interconnection of information technology around the world, which was followed by economic globalization. Globalization is still unfinished, spontaneous and uncontrolled process of increasingly intensive integration of the countries of the world in a single economic system, which occurs since the seventies of the twentieth century (Sýkora, 2000). Globalization affects all disciplines, including architecture and urbanism. For work with large areas occurs change in solving urban problems. It is not possible to take into account only the site itself. When working with a specific area we already begin to look elsewhere than just in the immediate neighbourhood of solved area. Power that is moving from public to private sector is the key to naming influence of globalization on cities. Everything connected with multinational companies relate to globalization: the need for companies to be seen (tall buildings, skyscrapers), the expansion of branches (office complexes), the expansion of products (shopping centres), the need for rapid movement of human capacities (transport infrastructure), spatial separation of representatives of companies from the poorer part of town (residential zones - gated communities), relocation of production to other parts of the world (brownfields).
  • ItemOpen Access
    Transurbanism : Towards a new transdisciplinary approach in urban planning
    (SoftGrid in association with AESOP and IFHP, 2014) Rizzo, Agatino; Galanakis, Michail
    The on-going financial crisis is having a negative impact on post-communist European countries of the Baltic Sea Region. In Estonia, for instance, recent data 1 related to annual population growth reveal a loss of 0.2% while at the same time Tallinn, the capital city, has gained 0.6%. Thus a double layer dynamic affects the country whereby Estonia loses population to wealthier European states and other countries, while Tallinn drains the remaining population from the countryside. Similar dynamics affect other post-communist Baltic States (the once labelled ‘Baltic Tigers’) so much so that while 30% of Estonian residents live in Tallinn, 32% of Latvian residents live in Riga, and 26% of Lithuanian residents live in Vilnius. Comparing this data with the northern sector of the Baltic Region (Finland and Sweden) we find that 11% of residents in Finland live in Helsinki and 9% of residents in Sweden live in Stockholm. However, in this paper we argue that while the urban population imbalances (i.e. urban primacy versus shrinking countryside) of shrinking Baltic states (i.e. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) put pressures on the land uses and social milieus of their capitals (e.g. Tallinn in Estonia) the same is true for Scandinavian capitals whereby rising international migration is putting pressure on their welfare states (see the case of Helsinki in Haila 2005: 20). Maimone (2004: 6) explains that while for cultural reasons the Russian-speaking minority in Estonia has been generally urbanised, Estonians, on the other hand, disperse in the countryside. The recent urban migration in Tallinn has thus increased the chances for social conflict between Estonians, independent from USSR since 1991, and their rivals Russians. The latter are perceived as intruders and never fully integrated in post-communist Estonia (Maimone 2004: 4). In 2007 a conflict between these two groups revolved over the issue of the relocation of a soviet memorial (the so called ‘Bronze Soldier’) from the city centre to the periphery of Tallinn. For weeks, tensions at the political and social level (Estonia vs. Russia and Estonians vs. Estonians of Russian origin) resulted in urban riots and demonstrations.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Total community retrofit
    (SoftGrid in association with AESOP and IFHP, 2014) The Institute for Sustainability
    Imagine this… it’s 2030 and local people are planning, designing, delivering, owning and managing a range of local projects, which are stimulated by the transition to a low carbon economy. There has been a tremendous growth in social enterprise, small businesses and jobs for local people as a result of delivering a more sustainable environment; from local people being trained to refurbish the homes of their friends and neighbours or encouraged to set up a new local logistics company delivering goods using bicycles and electric vehicles. This activity has been funded by a mix of traditional government and private investment and innovative local micro financing initiatives and social investment bonds. Underused and derelict buildings and land brought back into use have, amongst other things, led to an explosion of local food growing initiatives. New not-for-profit organisations have found a home in underused council buildings and a new business that ‘upcycles’ waste has found premises in a vacant private building. People are behaving more sustainably - they own or have a share in local energy generation assets and can see how saving energy benefits them financially as well as the local environment. The local council and housing association have teamed up to create a ‘community benefits’ funding pot, using a proportion of their Feed In Tariff and Renewable Heat Incentive revenues, which local people can bid into to support their favourite project. A local group made up of students, digital champions and industry computer programmers has been making their own sensors to measure everything from noise and park usage to when their vegetables need watering. The online Community Dashboard is a one-stop source for travel advice, local community activities and news. …and there has been a massive reduction in CO2 emissions and fuel poverty.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Software update for bromley-by-bow
    (SoftGrid in association with AESOP and IFHP, 2014) BjörnBracke; Dudek, Dominika; Basso, Matteo; Santosm Rui; Grammatikopoulos, Fotis
    Build resilient communities! Complete dependence on external capital carries the threat of disequilibrium: revenue ‘flows out’ of the region Community based development is likely to give rise to a self-sustained system with revenue staying in the region; Governmental institution/regulations should be cautious of business models which allow to transfer the revenue outside of districts Local leaders should press for profit re-investment in the region Policies should support the establishment of small scale cooperative housing with appropriate financing and regulatory mechanisms For instance...gamification Collective ‘green’ action provides benefits for neighbourhoods: More natural and pleasant living environment Common goals (to become sustainable!) empower people Possibility to generate savings (generating own energy, etc...) The main challenge in raising public awareness of environmental issues is to restore the understanding of how the use of space and resources is related to environmental and social consequences. Therefore we have to connect technical and behavioural aspects to social and ecological value chains. By using technological developments in the built environment we could provoke a shift towards ecological perception. In order to encourage people to adopt technological devices (e.g., ‘ecometers’) in an urban context, technological devices could be implemented through the concept of gamification. Gamification is the use of game mechanics and game design techniques in non-game contexts. Technological devices in combination with smartphone apps and social networks to connect citizens to institutions and (public) services result in hyper-connected environments that harness the network effects and increase the involvement and understanding of citizens.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Whose scarcity? Whose abundance? Issues in motivating (re-)making the city
    (SoftGrid in association with AESOP and IFHP, 2014) Meyer, Peter B.
    This essay, a reworking of the presentation made at the Third European Urban Summer School in September, 2012, addresses the policy and planning pitfalls associated with imposing externally-derived standards of scarcity (in the case of this example, scarcity of space). Whatever the recorded conditions of ‘objective’ scarcity existent in Bromley-upon-Bow or any other neighbourhood, it is necessary to address the issues associated with applying society-wide standards on a neighbourhood or community. The problems in such attribution of nominally objective standards arise on several levels, including: The ‘need’to address scarcity in meeting minimum physical standards for well-being, possibly most importantly with respect to conditions contributing to health conditions. The dangers in terms of exploitation of ‘scarce’ urban land of imposing external standards to define blight and thus provide entry for nonlocal investors to gentrify an area and displace its residents. (Another US case is illustrative here: the ‘scarcity’ – actually absence - of closet space in an Italian-American neighbourhood in Boston once created the legal basis for razing the homes, though the residents were all using large wardrobes, many imported by their families, for their clothing, rather than the closets required under more modern building codes.) The economic imperatives associated with the minimum qualifications requirements for some employment outside the neighbourhood and the implications the scarcity of such qualifications for local economic well-being. The barriers to cooperation and collaboration with community residents in making a more supportive neighbourhood that are raised by outsiders’ articulation of standards of scarcity that they do not share. (A highly likely scenario in Bromley-upon-Bow given Bangladeshis’ view of their needs for space and the UK standards for overcrowded housing.)