RECODE GAARDEN OST
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WHAT TENANTS WANT WELL-BEING ANALYSIS APRIL 2011
Executive summary by Clear Village for Chronos Asset Management & Etikstudio Ltd. Report date: June 2011
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WELL-BEING ANALYSIS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY & STRATEGY CONTENT
INTRODUCTION AIMS & OUTCOMES ANALYSIS METHODOLOGY WELL-BEING WHEEL SITUATION STRATEGY & SCENARIOS ROADMAP NEXT STEPS
This report is a summary of the well-being analysis undertaken by Clear Village in the Gaarden-Ost neighbourhood in Kiel.
APPENDICES I. Invitation brochure II. Interview questions grid III. Short poll
Through work sessions with CLEAR VILLAGE founder Thomas Ermacora, who had been to Gaarden-Ost previously, the findings were then developed into a scenario-driven strategic format which will serve as the foundation for the style guide that Etikstudio Ltd will produce for Chronos AM as part of the refurbishment project planned for the second half of 2011.
The report describes the methodology used to deepen understanding of local needs and issues. German speaking designer Alice Holmberg and economist Karsten Stampa engaged in a 4-day onsite design residency and conducted individual interviews with a wide variety of tenants, resulting in a pool of qualitative data.
The aims of the project are to increase asset value and contribute to an incremental neighbourhood upgrade. As will be described in this report, CLEAR VILLAGE believes that these goals can be achieved by focusing on Refurbishment, Maintenance and Regeneration by means of a four-pronged approach consisting of taking strategic action to upgrade the properties, involving the resident community in the change, planting the seeds for future development, and communicating the change outwards in order to attract desirable new tenant groups.
AIMS & OUTCOMES MAXIMISING THE OUTCOME BY CHOOSING METHODOLOGY & STRATEGISING INPUT
INCREASE RENT STABILISE ASSET VALUE AUGMENT TENANT SATISFACTION
SUPPORT FROM OTHER STAKEHOLDERS MUNICIPALITY, POLICE, INSTITUTIONS
The ultimate aim is to shape a pleasant and affordable rental option for Kieler inhabitants and thus stabilise the asset value of the properties. In working towards this goal, it is valuable to use a participatory model. Involving the resident community in all major project phases, starting with the strategy and decision-making phase, brings with it the following benefits: + Community buy-in. Since the community is involved in the planning process, there is a maximised prospect of support for and engagement with the overall project. + Sense of ownership. Community involvement has the spinoff effect of igniting a sense of ownership and motivating tenants to show care for the property and the area. + Mapping inherent possibilities. By engaging with the community, opportunities for development can be identified which are only obvious to those who have spent a substantial amount of time on the premises. + Understanding community identity. By gaining a deeper understanding of the community identity and spirit, challenges and opportunities can be identified which can feed into the decision-making process. + Identifying easy-win initiatives. By obtaining a list of easy-win initiatives, management is well positioned to take effective action that will lead to increased credibility and goodwill from residents.
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In short, applying a participatory model helps to ensure that both parties, the property owner and the resident community, do not work against each other but collaborate on achieving common goals, which in this case means the incremental upgrade of the properties and the neighbourhood.
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WELL-BEING ANALYSIS At the heart of CLEAR VILLAGEâ€™s methodology lies the idea of listening to the community. To this end, qualitative interviews are conducted with residents and stakeholders in the area, resulting in a pool of data which is then merged and cross-verified with quantitative statistical data. Design residency The design residency is a good starting point for a project which lies between the macro and micro levels. This is in fact where
most property development takes place and also where there is much opportunity to harness social innovation. The design residency as a project-catalyst means that one or more design analysts take up residence in the property for a period of time. Due to the nature of this particular project as well as the circumstances at Kieler-/AugustenstraĂ&#x;e, the methodology was specially tailored. Rather than opting for a single long period of residency, it was decided to have several shorter ones. During each of these, 2-3 analysts were constantly present and reaching out to residents.
duration of interviewees' interiviewees‘residency residency duration of
6 5 4 3 2 1 0 <1 year
Communications prior to design residency Before arriving in Gaarden Ost, a brochure was developed to describe the project, send out a signal of change from the property owner, and emphasize the importance of residents’ participation. The brochure was distributed to all residents of the Chronos AM managed objects in Kieler-/Augustenstraße. The brochure aimed not merely to inform, but also to incentivise residents to take part. Qualitative interviews during the design residency Through collaboration with the local Chronos AM representative, CLEAR VILLAGE took up its design residency in an empty apartment in the premises. This served as the anchor point for meetings with the residents; signage was posted both inside and outside the building and the door was kept open at all times. Further outreach took place by conducting interviews in the streets and open spaces as well as by knocking on doors and following referrals. The interview questionnaire followed the principle of the semistructured qualitative interview, which allows interviews to be carried out regardless of the interviewee’s commitment and availability and without challenging the collation and validity of the data.
+ see the brochure in appendix I. Invitation brochure + for full questionnaire, see appendix II. Interview questions grid
Interview participants In total 21 exploitable interviews were carried out, which represents approximately 10% of households in all Chronos AM managed objects in Kieler-/Augustenstraße. Interviews were conducted with: + many elderly tenants, most of whom represent the group of permanent or long-term residents. + young and middle-aged tenants, who for the main part have a shorter duration of residence. + half and half German nationals and immigrants to the country. + mainly unemployed or pensioners, but also employees. Thanks to the number of interviews and the diversity of the interviewees, the data that was gathered provides a representative and sufficient base from which to derive intelligence for the strategy and decision-making phase. Post-residency Upon departure from Gaarden Ost, the local Chronos representative and CLEAR VILLAGE agreed to provide residents with a further opportunity to contribute. For this purpose, a condensed version of the questionnaire was distributed to all households with a further month to respond. As an initial example of local participation and support, a particularly engaged resident offered the use of his mailbox for the initiative.
+ for the post-residency feedback form, go to appendix III. Short poll
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absolute energy consumption relative en ergy cons umption renew able e nergy sourc ing
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Kieler Str. / Augustenstr. Well-being Analysis
architecture & infrastructure
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er det e c f n l a e ,s toler ent m r e pow ing t em nt lic e o en p ym m o l & p ve el ro em ev l p e m m ri re cri fo lfa ire e s w de / P GD
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social dimension & community
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The degree to which the well-being parameters fulfil expectations is indicated by the ‘cake slice’ being more or less filled with colour: + 100% indicates excellent findings + 75% indicates general satisfaction and a good base, though with some room for improvement + 50% indicates an adequate degree of satisfaction, though there is significant room for improvement - 25% indicates that there is dissatisfaction and that immediate attention should be paid to improvement, where possible by the project partner.
The CLEAR VILLAGE community well-being wheel gathers statistical and qualitative information on various parameters (one thin ‘cake slice’ per parameter) influencing the community’s wellbeing. These are interdependent in practice, but for the purpose of analysis and strategy they can be categorised into the four main themes of: + natural environment + architecture & infrastructure + economy & governance + social dimension & community
MAIN FINDINGS The analysis shows that some parameters of the community’s well-being are strong, though they are scattered and mainly circumstantial or situational in nature. Yet in spite of this they constitute the foundation of any development initiatives such as refurbishing projects, as they would be very hard to initiate if not present. THE EXCELLENT FINDINGS ARE + The infrastructure, with residents showing high appreciation of the mobility, connectivity and traffic situation. + The natural environment and related services are also appreciated amongst tenants. + The education and healthcare systems also function very well. THE SCORE IS ADEQUATE FOR + Economy. Though the economic situation in Kiel is better than in surrounding areas in northern Germany, the income levels in the estates is significantly below average. + Similarly, though governance and participation opportunities are good in principle, there is a feeling of disenfranchisement amongst many tenants. + The community dimension is particularly interesting. There is a level of integration, diversity, tolerance and community identification which can be built on and which was cited by several tenants as an extremely attractive aspect of the area (and which could in time become a selling point to new target tenant groups). Yet there are also some striking weaknesses, with few opportunities to build more community spirit and a high fluctuation of (sometimes difficult) tenants.
IMMEDIATE ATTENTION NEEDS TO BE PAID TO + The architectural dimension, i.e. housing and related services, as neither the buildings nor the common spaces around them have been sufficiently attended to. + The service systems and infrastructures, as is manifested particularly strongly by the inadequate condition of waste management with rubbish piling out of bins, dumped in public areas, and attracting rats.
SUMMARY CLEAR VILLAGE believes that in spite of the unsurprising challenges and weaknesses that have been identified, there is a sufficient base on which to build a refurbishment. The infrastructure, public services and natural environment provide a solid foundation in which to anchor refurbishment. And additionally, the community dimension can be worked on and engaged so as to provide pro-active support. To make this happen, however, developments need to take place to the built environment and property services so that the property owner communicates a clear signal of change. BEYOND REFURBISHMENT Though the community at present is far away from sustainability standards and dreams of resilient neighbourhoods, it is nonetheless important to incorporate the topic of sustainability into the overall strategy in order to be able to attract new desired tenant groups in future (such as students). Many sustainability initiatives have benefits far beyond the green agenda and can directly impact the bottom line. Embarking on such initiatives would give a clear message that ‘things are changing’ in Gaarden Ost, be it by means of rainwater harvesting, grow-yourown garden, a community centre, renewable energy provision or well-functioning recycling systems. In short, though it is essential to gain the buy-in from the current community for the overall project, it is also important to sow the seeds for buy-in from future desired members of the community.
SITUATION RECODING GAARDEN OST 01. CLUSTER OF KEYWORDS
RECODING HELSINGBORG THEATER
Constellation of KEYWORDS expressed thoughts 05. & IDEA LIST Constellation of thoughts expressed
bulky waste not collected inform about waste seperation
too high fluctuation of tenants
hedges are untended
lawns are unkempt
good health services
sufficient schools & educational opportunities
AREA & NEIGHBOURHOOD waste areas are overfilled plenty of parks
leave a feeling of negligence
two yearly streetparties
insufficient snow clearing & gritting
COMMUNITY & IDENTITY high unemployment rate
diverse cultural backgrounds
small repair-jobs should happen fast
excellent transport links
proximity to city centre
office unavailable, slow and too little present
alcohol- & drug abuse
pigeon hatchery in attics neglected staircases attics cluttered up
it is not beautiful, but ok
water systems & metres need replacement
BUILDINGS & FLATS
AIM & DESIRES dismal façades
energy consumption measurement per flat
‘decent’ outside space
flower meadow sense of belonging
leaky doors & windows allowance to make own improvements
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The diagram visualises the feedback from the qualitative interviews and clusters it around the main topics discussed by interviewees: + Buildings & flats + Property services + Community & identity + Area & neighbourhood + Aims & desires
electricity systems & metres need replacement
THE GOOD & THE BAD The community is satisfied with the area and the neighbourhood in many respects. The proximity to the city centre is greatly valued, and the nearby parks, transport links, health services and educational opportunities are also perceived as excellent. At the same time, however, the community is weighed down by concerns about the neglect of property services and the buildings & flats. As one tenant phrased it: “We do not expect miracles around here, but if we could reinstate an overarching level of decency for our homes, that would be satisfactory to us.” What troubles tenants is that property services can often not be reached and do not take action. Small repair jobs often do not happen fast, waste areas are overfilled and attract rats, bulky waste is not collected and hedges are untended. As a result, the overriding impression is that of a state of negligence. This is also manifested in the buildings & flats, which have leaky roofs, leaky doors and windows, dismal facades, neglected staircases, and pigeons hatching in the attics. A DESIRE FOR CHANGE Not surprisingly, there is a consequent desire for change. Tenants would like to see improvements taking place around property services and the buildings & flats. Similarly, there is a desire to see enhancements made to outside spaces and to the community’s sense of belonging. Interestingly, several tenants expressed a desire to make improvements themselves (for instance by painting staircases), but reported that they often did not receive approval for this.
THE COMMUNITY AS AN AMBIVALENT FACTOR As mentioned earlier in this report, the topic of community & identity is particularly interesting, as there are both significant strengths and significant weaknesses in this respect. Generally speaking, the tenant community is divided into two categories, the “old” and the “new” residents. The “old” residents are mainly German nationals, many with a relation to the shipyard. There is a high number of pensioners in this category, many of whom have lived their entire lives and raised their children in the neighbourhood. The “new” residents, on the other hand, have a higher rate of fluctuation. Many of them are immigrants and/or long-term unemployed who have significant difficulties returning to the job market. This mix of tenants brings with it certain benefits. Several tenants mentioned that they value the diversity of cultural backgrounds and the open atmosphere in the estates. One interviewee summed it up by saying “it’s just like little Neukölln”, referring to the vibrant neighbourhood in Berlin. Yet at the same time there are significant challenges. Interviewees mentioned alcohol & drug abuse, language barriers, and difficult (antisocial) tenants. A community can of course absorb a certain number of difficult tenants, but this should not be the defining element of the place.
STRATEGY Based on the well-being analysis undertaken, CLEAR VILLAGE suggests that Chronos AM adopt the following four-pronged approach to the planned refurbishment as a route to regeneration: TAKE STRATEGIC ACTION The state of neglect of the property services and the buildings & flats needs to be addressed. This is essential both to justify rent increases and to re-establish trust between the property owner and the tenants. A full overview of actionable items is presented on the following page. CLEAR VILLAGE does not recommend that all items are acted upon at once. Rather, a small number of the most pressing issues can be carried out which will powerfully and immediately send out of signal of change. As a minimal start, the actions that CLEAR VILLAGE recommends for immediate execution are: + keeping pigeons out of the attics by fitting nets on the window holes; + improving property management services in terms of presence and frontline delivery; and + addressing the issues around the waste areas. ENGAGE THE COMMUNITY By means of the well-being analysis, the community has already been engaged in identifying issues as well as opportunities. This foundation needs to be built upon by communicating the outcomes back to the community and inviting the community to collaborate on further improvements. In other words: the community should be informed of the incremental actions that will be taken as a result of the well-being analysis and should be encouraged to take action on other desirable items. This will contribute greatly to community buy-in and a sense of ownership, and will also reduce costs for the property owner.
SOW SEEDS FOR THE FUTURE As well as addressing current issues and engaging the current community, the seeds for the future should be sown by taking actions which will be well received by future desired tenant groups (such as students). For this purpose, sustainability elements should be included in both interior refurbishment work and in changes to communal areas. And additionally, features such as wifi could be considered. The goal is not to transform the area to a cutting-edge resilient neighbourhood in the immediate future, but to indicate that the neighbourhood is moving in a desired direction. COMMUNICATE THE CHANGE As well as communicating the change back to the tenants, it should also be communicated to a wider audience including the municipality, relevant institutions and desired new tenant groups. By implementing the above three steps, the property owner makes a bold statement of change and indicates that return on investment has a direct relation to tenant well-being. Such a message will resonate powerfully with target audiences. This four-pronged approach will allow the property owner to: + REFURBISH: by setting into motion an incremental process which will restore the properties to an adequate level and send out a signal of change. + MAINTAIN: by improving service levels and engaging the community to feel more ownership for the neighbourhood and treat it with more respect. + REGENERATE: by strengthening community identity and spirit, fostering a culture of owner-tenant collaboration, moving in the direction of sustainability, and communicating the change outwards to relevant stakeholders and desired new tenants.
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As is illustrated on the following page, the property owner can take a modular approach to the roadmap and select which/ how many initiatives to embark upon depending for instance on budgetary considerations.
RECODING GAARDEN OST 02. PHASING INITIATIVES
Planning to ensure intiatives interact and crosspollinate
COMMUNICATION & OUTREACH
MAKE IT TRENDY + waste separation information in more languages + design, inform & implement new system for bulky waste
+ redesign communal cellars based on tenantsâ€™ needs + clearly signage intended use of communal areas & supervise
+ redesign waste collection areas
INTERIOR & EXTERIOR
+ planned communal facilities open for participation + allow & catalyse community events
+ neighbourhood safety and security plan
+ strategise reach to future tenants + evaluate tenant prospect investigations
+ benches & seating arrangements + eliminate disused sandpits + repair pavement
+ attend to green spaces
BREAK THE WALL FOR CHANGE
+ clear all bulky waste + drains and gutters + prevent pigeons in attics
+ permit front garden growing UPGRADE LIVING STANDARDS
+ take immediate action on smaller repair requests + hold rent increases for existing tenants
+ improve property management service presence & frontline delivery + supervise property manager
+ change energy measurement metres + individualise monitoring & billing of energy consumption
CLEAR VILLAGE WELL-BEING ANALYSIS
ROADMAP & SCENARIOS MAKE-OVER The minimal make-over would be to focus only on the interior refurbishment of the vacant apartments. Insofar as the budget allows, it is essential to refurbish the apartments to a high aesthetic and sustainable level as a signal of change in the direction of regeneration. Other elements that would enhance the make-over process are: + Communicating the change and reaching out to diverse tenant prospects, including connecting to the city level. This would be the first step of the overall communication campaign to signal that the neighbourhood has embarked on a process of refurbishing, maintaining and regenerating. + Providing facility/property services on site which would oversee the implementation of strategic incremental actions as previously described and address the many issues currently facing tenants. + Upgrading outside and underused spaces to overcome the current impression of neglect.
INSPIRATION TO THE COMMUNITY Whichever make-over modules are decided upon, it is essential to show them to the community as a sign that the owner is re-investing and that changes are afoot in the community. For this purpose, an opening exhibition could be organised upon completion of the make-over. Furthermore, the exhibition could serve as a launch of the wider owner-tenant partnership to initiate change. OPTIONAL CATALYST INITIATIVE A further consideration would be to convert an apartment unit or rent a nearby shop and transform it into a focal point for the community, which lacks such a central point at present. Different options that could be implemented are: + A community centre + A café-type public house + A zero-carbon café, which would send out the most powerful message of change of all and be of most interest to outside audiences
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In all cases, the venue would serve as a place where tenants meet and ‘build bridges’ (old and new tenants, native Germans and immigrants) and where the owner-tenant collaboration is furthered by meetings and events to bring further improvements to the neighbourhood, for instance by volunteer action.
CONTACT Thomas Ugo Ermacora Founder & Strategic Director, Clear Village firstname.lastname@example.org Alice Holmberg Operations & Development Director, Clear Village email@example.com Karsten Stampa Head of Research, Clear Village firstname.lastname@example.org