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COMMON SCENARIOS FOR TRANSVAAL URBEGO’S WORKSHOP - THE HAGUE 2013


Urbego Report Workshop 11th-14th February 2013 With the participation of: IFHP - International Federation for Housing and Planning Staedion Housing Association Gemeente Den Haag

Edited by: Anna Boisnic Giulia Maci Graphic design: Mara Pellizzari Š The Hague 2013 Contact: g.maci@ifhp.org


I WISH THIS WAS. COMMON SCENARIOS FOR TRANSVAAL


PART.01

About Urbego’s Workshop

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About Urbego

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I Wish This Was

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Why an Urbego Workshop?

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Urbego Hits The Hague

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The Hague International Working Group

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PART.02

Transvaal Workshop Results

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Introduction to Transvaal

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Public Spaces

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S-M-L Influential Housing

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Shifting Paradigms

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PART.03

Good Practices & References

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Community-Led Spaces, UK

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Street Delivery, RO

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Empowering Communities, IT

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‘Le 56’ Saint Blaise, FR

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ABOUT URBEGO’S WORKSHOP About Urbego I Wish This Was Why an Urbego Workshop? Urbego Hits The Hague The Hague International Working Group


ABOUT URBEGO

Young Planning Professionals’ Platform

by Giulia Maci, founder of Urbego


Almost one year ago a small group of members from The International Federation for Housing and Planning (IFHP) decided to create a platform for young planning professionals (<35 years old) within the framework of IFHP. Named Urbego, its mission is to develop new ways of thinking and common horizons. Urbego aims to inject new voices in the planning debate, to engage new generations as agents of change in the field of planning and create a platform for discussion and research on urban issues. Provoking reflection about the future role of planners in changing contexts is one of Urbegoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s main goals. The Urbego network is also an opportunity to share experiences and ideas among young planners and students, develop a common vision for the profession, create synergies and collaborate on specific development projects, and create a new intermediary body which has the capacity and the commitment to collaborate or partner with both private and public actors.


Common scenarios for Transvaal

WISH THIS WAS Within the framework of the IFHP Housing Conference 2013 in The Hague, Urbego, Staedion and The Hague Municipality organize a four-day workshop addressing a neighborhood case-study. by Matthew Newby

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11th-14th February 2013 In the lead-up to the IFHP Centenary congress in London, 25 international young professionals from urban planning, architecture and associated disciplines were invited to The Hague for a four-day workshop. The objective was to explore and identify new methods for the transformation of the Transvaal-North housing area. The tasks were to strategically assess the built and social environment of Transvaal, to share knowledge and experiences and to propose new and innovative solutions to meet the needs of local stakeholders and the community. At the beginning of the workshop the group did walking tours, were given background presentations by different stakeholders and got inspiration from individuals already employing innovative strategies in re-development elsewhere. After strategizing and collaborating, on the

fourth day of the workshop they presented their ideas at The Hague Housing Conference. With the February temperatures nearing zero and snow falling on The Hague City Hall, it was the aptly named â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ice palaceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; atrium. The workshop participants were divided and split into three groups to treat different subjects: public space, participation/governance, and housing. Following area analysis and knowledge-sharing, the presentation looked closely at the roles of local stakeholders and how closer partnerships working within the planning and development process could play an important role in shaping the areaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s future.

Blog post published on www.ihfp.org

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WHY AN URBEGO WORKSHOP

Our experience in The Hague

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by Ulrik Lassen The 2nd Urbego Workshop took place in the days before IFHP’s Housing conference in Den Haag. Under the theme “I Wish This Was – Common Scenarios for Transvaal”, 23 young professionals from 10+ countries met up to develop approaches about how Transvaal could be transformed into a more distinctive and vibrant neighborhood in Den Haag.

We wish to leave footprints

But how is it actually possible to come up with anything substantial in such a short time, with none of us knowing anything about the area before?

Intercultural sight

Working under pressure as a daily occurrence Today, we as young professionals are used to working under these circumstances, no matter if we are architects, urban planners, sociologists or economists. We work on the basis of the inputs we get from our firsthand impressions of what we see, and together with our diverse cultural backgrounds, it creates a whole lot of ideas and creativity after just a couple of hours’ work. This means that the biggest challenge for us is not to come up with ideas, but to choose those that should be developed, and to combine the best ones into one coherent scenario (or story) for the area we work in. Of course we do not expect to deliver a finished product in just 3 days, but what we can provide are visions that hopefully can and will give inspiration for the future work in the area.

I Wish This Was - Workshop Report

So when other people are amazed how much work can be done in such a short time, we would prefer to hear their reaction on the actual ideas that we have come up with. We want to leave something behind in the places where we work: at least a couple of good ideas that could be used later.

We do have a lot of ideas, but they should not be looked upon as analyses made by students (and treated as such), but as recommendations made by professional consultants. But instead of having one consultancy speaking with one tongue, our ideas shall and will always reflect the fact that we come from very different places all around the world. This is also the main reason I wanted to participate in a workshop like this, working with some of the best and most ambitious people of my generation from literally all over the world, observing and discussing differences and similarities in the way we picture what a city should be.

Blog post published on www.ihfp.org

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URBEGO HITS THE HAGUE The Urbego team, having its diaspora practically all over the world, assembled in The Hague for a workshop on urban renewal in the Transvaal neighborhood. After three days work, we presented our work at the IFHP Housing conference. Transvaal-Noord: Middle-aged ladies without helmets on mopeds, smoking rolled cigarettes and routinely holding plastic bags. Surinamese food shops where a regular customer talks about flying cockroaches until the shopowner tells him to shut up. Indian telephone shops with Miss India Holland posters. Children playing joyfully in the streets surrounding the school. A few blocks farther streets are fenced-off, houses are abandoned, windows are nailed-up with chipboard. Transvaal-Noord is the subject of urban renewal.

The Hague: a peculiar city by the sea

International organizations, government offices, embassies are inherent to The Hague. Hotels, big classy houses, cars of the corps diplomatique swirling between fast trams. Conservative cafes. Fancy people with slick hair and big mouths. Beggars with bowl-shaped hands. Rough and tough guys, working hard in small shops. A chilly breeze coming from the sea. And there we are, eating Argentinian steak, drinking Belgian beer and talking all kinds of English. Welcome to The Hague.

The Netherlands: making its crisis

Travelling to the Netherlands makes me always think: is this country changing, or am I changing? I like being there, I love the open culture, but after a few days I want to leave again. And when I am out of the country, I sometimes and somehow miss it. It is not hate-love. I still cannot define it. But anyhow. The first thing you will hear nowadays from a Dutchman is that “we are in crisis”. The dutiful national government is cutting costs to lower debts and it is liberalizing different systems to attract private investment. The private sector, however, does not (or cannot) react as eagerly as expected. It is like with trees: if you cut them 14

too thoroughly, they will not grow anymore. As a result of cost-cutting governance, the economy has stopped growing. In Belgium/Flanders on the other hand, there is hardly a changing sense of crisis (perhaps people have been aware of a crisis for many more years). The complex governmental system makes it hard to take resolute measures. But because of partly denying the existence of an overshadowing crisis, the economy is still growing. Referring to the tree metaphor: the tree will grow, but if you do not cut it regularly, it will not grow as fast and full as it potentially could. So both ways are not efficient. And there are many other approaches. I just introduced this topic, because to me the Dutch perception of crisis is crucial in understanding the situation in Transvaal-Noord and the current urban renewal projects. “It’s crisis, people! Watch out, I am being serious! We must do something! And we must do it now! If we don’t do anything it will grow worse. And who wants that?”

What we did in the URBEGO workshop: Transforming Transvaal Before visiting the neighbourhood, the city council and housing association made clear to us that TransvaalNoord is “the worst area in The Hague”. This reminded me of the European Urban Summer School 2012 in London, when we were invited to work in Bromley-by-Bow, “the most deprived area in the UK”. And like in London, I could not confirm, nor deny this statement of problem in Transvaal.And because of this dilemma, it was once again hard to propose physical interventions. But on the other hand, it opened a way to more structural thinking. Transvaal-Noord is an early twentieth-century expansion of The Hague, very close to the city centre. Over the past

I Wish This Was - Workshop Report


by Clenn Kustermans

few decades, the neighbourhood transformed from a working-class area into a non-working area. Since a few years ago, however, there is a tendency of middle-class residents (re)turning to the city. Like in other European urban areas, Transvaal-Noord slowly becomes popular again. It’s poor, multicultural and central. But there is one important distinction within these gentrifying areas. On the one hand there are examples of spontaneous (or bottom-up) gentrification: BerlinKreuzberg becomes popular among youngsters with an alternative lifestyle, and it slowly attracts other people and investments. On the other hand there are examples of planned (or top-down) gentrification: London’s speculative investment culture leads to the appearance of gated apartment blocks in poor, multicultural, well-connected areas all over the city. And in my eyes, the latter is applicable to Transvaal-Noord too. Within the wondrous world of statistics, everything is possible. Both in Bromley-by-Bow (London) as in Transvaal-Noord (The Hague) statistics are simply translated into reasons improvement is needed. Statistics are used to build inappropriate projects. More concrete: a high concentration of foreign and poor people levels the way for top-down gentrification. Social housing is actually a strong point of the Netherlands: about 30% of

I Wish This Was - Workshop Report

the housing stock is social. Although this factor, among others, makes the Netherlands a successful country, a concentration of social houses is locally often seen as a problem. “It is alright, but please, not in my backyard anymore!” Transvaal has potential to attract educated youngsters (middle-class), because of its poverty, cultural diversity and central location. To achieve a so-called “social mix”, the housing association builds monofunctional, sterile housing projects. Row houses with gardens instead of apartments. No shops, no companies. Boring streets with monotonous building forms. Rather annoying architectural details. Anti-urban tidiness. And, more frightening, the housing association builds gated communities (like in London). A recent housing project is gated “as a response to the wishes of the individual residents to have semi-private inner gardens”. According to the association, these gated projects are good examples of urban renewal and of “social mix”. And the newly built apartments architecturally refer to Transvaal’s multicultural character, “because there are oriental signs on the roofs”… Social mix? My arse. Money-making is the key. So why not say so? Plus, where are the poor supposed to go? Question unanswered. They are probably economically forced to leave the city, and they end up in peripheral zones like Rijswijk or satellite cities like ultimately depressing Zoetermeer.

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Shifting roles of housing association and city administration

The trends can be put in their context by looking at the shifting roles of the housing association and the city administration. Most housing associations in the Netherlands are financially under pressure. After being made independent entities in the 1990s, there is a strong tendency to combine urban renewal with selling social housing stock, breaking down social houses, building middle-class houses in poor areas and focusing on cash instead of capital. The system of maximum rental rates in the Netherlands does not seem to react to that, although abolishing these maximum rents would lead to an even more asocial situation. City administrations’ credo has become “reactive and facilitating” instead of “active and guiding”. The perceived shift in role seems to be a result of neoliberal capitalism and market-based thinking. And I dare question whether a city administration had ever been really active in guiding urban renewal. Reactive and facilitating can also be translated into “doing nothing”.

Proposal: it is nicer to be together rather than alone

During the four-day workshop in Transvaal-Noord we, young URBEGO planners and architects, worked on various themes within urban redevelopment: figuring out the identity of the area, making new development methods, improving public space, planning entrepreneurial space etc. Overall conclusion is that we, within these times of scarcity, want to focus on different parties making the city instead of just one big investor (housing association or another private investor). We also want to work on alternative development theories. Inner-city areas are not made for monofunctional, tidy housing zones. Especially in areas like Transvaal-Noord or Bromley-byBow, the local entrepreneurial spirit can be used to make improvements. Creating mixed neighbourhoods, both socially and economically, will make it more habitable in the end. Fostering local businesses by providing for example micro-funding or combined rental systems (both commercial as residential) could be an idea too.

can take place by different actors. The role of the city is not to be “reactive and facilitating”, but focused on community development. If there is a private investment, the city may expect social revenue. But to do so, the city still needs a spatial framework and a long-term vision (perhaps rather social than spatial, even). The urban planner could (or should) be more involved and active too. If he knows about the local situation (I mean really knows, so not just the statistics), if he gets out of his office voluntarily, if he uses the ideas of local people, if he translates the needs and obstacles of local shop-owners into spatial improvements… the place would become better. The planner is a catalyst (making the spark, getting the engine going) with a hands-on approach. A real form of local and community participation could be created. And if participation is real (and spontaneous) and in some extent durable, the place will improve automatically. It is about creating responsibility (and that is often the hard part in areas with a high amount of social rental houses).

A conclusion (one of many)

People work hard on places like Transvaal. And we, URBEGO, are perhaps just some wise-ass punks flying in from other countries criticizing everything that is being done.

But we are learning by experimenting. In The Hague we had a very intensive workshop – intellectually and physically. It has brought us a lot of new insights and ideas that we try to use in our daily work. And there might be many more and different conclusions. If you have any (especially contrary to ours!), please contact us. There is certainly more to come from URBEGO! See you in Paris, see you in Antwerp, see you somewhere else. URBEGO for real.

Our job: get out there

As urban planners, we do not solely believe in comprehensive planning anymore. In our eyes, it is about creating a spatial framework in which different actions 16

Blog post published on www.ihfp.org I Wish This Was - Workshop Report


The Hague International Working Group

WHO WE ARE Irina Angelova Sofia, BG

Expert Architect at The National Center for Regional Development and PhD student at The University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy, both located in Sofia, Bulgaria. www.irinkaangelova.com

Alicja Baranowska Gdansk, PL

Student of Spatial Planning and Development at The University of Gdansk, Poland.

Anna Boisnic The Hague, NL

International urban planner and permaculturalist with a MSc in Community and Regional Planning from The School of Environmental Design at Temple University, USA.

Seppe De Blust Antwerp, BE

Sociologist and urban planner currently working at the Antwerp-based planning office Stramien cvba. He has special interest in researching new spatial planning models in support of urban solidarity.

Pim de Leeuw Amersfoort, NL

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Currently in the final stages of a MSc in Urban Planning from The University of Utrecht, with a previous BSc in Human Geography and Human Planning, he is especially interested in the way people are involved in planning and transition processes.


Simona Dobrescu Bucharest, RO / London, UK

Economist and urban planner with experience in regeneration, the public realm and transportation schemes in Romania and in the UK. Passionate about developing solutions for the better use of public spaces and streets and an advocate for the benefits of good urban design.

Yana Golubeva Minsk, BY

Architect and urbanist at MLA+.

Mustafa Hasanov Groningen, NL

Urban planner & geographer with MSc in Environmental and Infrastructure Planning & MSc in Regional Studies with specialisation in Planning Policies & Intervention from The University of Gronignen in the Netherlands.

Renata Jardim Rio de Janeiro, BR

Master of Urban and Environmental Engineering at PUC-Rio and MSc from TU Braunschweig with degree in Architecture and Urbanism from The Federal University, Rio de Janeiro. Architect / urban planner from the Rio de Janeiro City Hall’s permanent staff.

Salma Khamis Cairo, EG

Architect with international experience in heritage conservation and urban development. Currently working for the German Archaeological Institute on the bi-national project ‘Aegaron’. PhD Candidate at TU Berlin working on dissertation about housing policies in Egypt.

Kerli Kirsimaa Jõgeva, EE / Ede, NL

Masters student in Urban Environmental Management, specializing on Land Use Planning at the University of Wageningen. Currently working on her Master’s thesis on the subject of adopted English planning institutions in the spatial planning system of its former colonial state of Malta.

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Clenn Kustermans Antwerp, BE

Spatial planner at OMGEVING and writer. www.clenn.nl

Ulrik Lassen Copenhagen, DK

Civil engineering student with a background in literary studies. Working on urban water management and climate adaptation at Rambøll and as an assistant teacher at the Technical University of Denmark.

Alessandra Lualdi Milan, IT

Urban planner graduated from Politecnico di Milano, working in the private sector, participating in the preparation of local management plans in rural northern Italy and in the Lake Maggiore region.

Giulia Maci

Bologna, IT / Rotterdam, NL

Architect and Urban planner; Project Manager, IFHP; Research Assistant, Erasmus University, Rotterdam ; Coordinator of the Urbego platform.

Ramon Marrades Sempere Valencia, ES

Urban economist & social entrepreneur. www.ramonmarrades.com

Matthew Newby London, UK

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Urban Planner with the Olympic Borough of Newham with a MA in Planning and BA (Hons) in Property Development & Planning from UWE Bristol. Specialising in spatial planning, affordable housing development and international planning. www.theflaneur1985.tumblr.com


Mara Pellizzari

Trieste, IT / Amsterdam, NL

Architect, web&graphic designer, working since 2007 with local institutions and non-profit organizations on collectively self-built and selfrefurbished affordable housing. www.marapellizzari.eu

Thomas Reinwald Sørensen Copenhagen, DK

Bachelor’s student at the Land Management and Surveying program at Aalborg University.

Manoe Ruhé

‘s-Hertogenbosch, NL

Urban designer and owner of Studio Urban Sprinkle: design, research and planning for urban spaces. www.urbansprinkle.com

Alexandru Seltea Lund, SE

Architect, currently studying urban design at Lund University.

Aina Soler Barcelona, ES

Graduate student doing Masters in Architecture in Barcelona, Spain.

Djaiwd Tahery Rotterdam, NL

Graduate student in Urbanism, Faculty of Architecture, Delft University of Technology. 21


Mara Pellizzari

Trieste IT / Amsterdam NL

Architect and graphic designer, working since 2007 with local institutions and non-profit organizations on self-help build and self-help refurbished affordable housing. www.marapellizzari.eu

Thomas Reinwald Sørensen Copenhagen DK

Bachelor’s student at the Land Management and Surveying program at Aalborg University

Manoe Ruhé

‘s-Hertogenbosch, NL

Urban designer and owner at Studio Urban Sprinkle: design, research and planning for urban spaces. www.urbansprinkle.com

Alexandru Seltea Lund SE

Architect, currently studying urban design at Lund University.

Aina Soler Barcelona ES

Student of Master of Architecture in Barcelona, Spain.

Djaiwd Tahery Rotterdam NL

Graduate student in Urbanism, Faculty of Architecture, Delft University of Technology


TRANSVAAL WORKSHOP RESULTS Introduction to Transvaal Public Spaces S-M-L Influential Housing Shifting Paradigms


Introduction

to TRANSVAAL Text by Mustafa Hasanov and Anna Boisnic

Development of Transvaal

Transvaal is a subdistrict located in the southwest of The Hague’s Center District between Loosduinsekade, Monstersestraat, Heemstraat, Hoefkade, Dierenselaan, Zuiderpark and De La Reyweg. The name Transvaal links to the Dutch presence on the African continent and is derived from the struggle of the Boers against the British during the Second Boer War in South Africa (1899 – 1902). Once standing on the land was Castle Westerbeek (c.1430), the Engelenburg estate (first mentioned in 1570) and otherwise farms located between ditches and canals. Transvaal’s streets were planned in 1895 when The Hague experienced industrial expansion beginning in 1890 and lasting through 1935. The first buildings constructed were between the De La Reyweg, the Steynlaan and Loosduinsekade and housing was characterized by mostly low-quality, monotonous construction since it was built by speculators for low and middle class workers. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Paul Kruger Avenue and side streets were laid out. Following the Housing Act of 1901, the government worked to improve the quality and architecture of the housing stock. From 1914-1930 housing construction went south of the Scheeperstraat to the Hoefkade. Haagse Mart (The Hague Market) was moved to between Hobbemaplein and Hoefkade from the Prinsegracht in 1938 due to traffic concerns and is now considered to be the largest market in the Netherlands. In the post-war years small retailers largely occupied the neighbourhood and the area was mixed mainly with Dutch Reformers and Catholics. After the 1970s due to various social and economic policies and affordable rental prices, the neighbourhood started to attract Surinamese, Turkish, Italian, Moroccan, and Antillean immigrants. In 2012, 74.9% of the population identifies as “non-Dutch” in Transvaal Noord, as opposed to 50.4% in the whole of The Hague. 25.1% of the population in Transvaal North is Turkish, 20.9% is from a mixture of developing countries, 20.5% are Surinamese, 15.9% are Moroccan, and 11.3% identify as Dutch. The first urban renewal operation in the district occurred during the 1980s, and focused on physical renovations of run-down buildings and spaces. Some buildings were torn down and re-constructed, while others received renovations, some of which were just superficial face lifts. Some buildings were left with bad moisture problems, for example. The small gardens that used to be in front of the dwellings gave way to broader streets allowing for parking and a wider road. According to current administrators at Staedion, low involvement and satisfaction of the tenants were recorded. Transvaal is currently facing great social and economic transformations and though housing is relatively inexpensive, it is often low-quality and in need of maintenance. Lowwages, high unemployment and the arrival of low-skilled and unskilled foreign job-seekers are key problems. According to 2009 data, 67.1% of Transvaal Noord residents are low24


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FROM A MONOLOGUE TO AN URBAN PLAY

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I Wish This Was - Workshop Report


income, as opposed to 49.2% of all residents in The Hague. 3.7% of residents in Transvaal Noord earn high incomes, while 17.2% earn high incomes overall within the City.

The Role of Staedion in Transvaal

Staedion is a Hague-area housing corporation with a staff of more than 400 people operating separately from the municipal government of The Hague. The largest housing corporation in The Hague with assets totalling about 1.5 billion euros in market value (2007), Staedion is also among the 10 largest housing corporations in the Netherlands out of more than 500 corporations. It owns a total of nearly 36,900 units (2011) in the Hague region and operates with major influence in Transvaal since it owns around 50% of all housing units. Staedion was created in 1999 after a merger of local housing associations including a Protestant Christian Housing Association, General Housing Association and the Christian Heritage Housing Association. The Hague municipal government once funded revitalization programs that went to Transvaal and other local districts. Faced with the current economic crisis and austerity measures being implemented in the form of budget cuts, these funds have run short. Municipal money is now being funnelled to more visible projects, such as the boardwalk in Scheveningen. This emphasizes the fact that Staedion currently remains the most important actor in the sub-district of Transvaal. Staedion rents out its units and offers a subsidy for lowincome renters. The layout of the streets in areas like I Wish This Was - Workshop Report

Transvaal is characterized by monotonous residential development with long streets that offer few ruptures like side streets, causing stagnated activity and a lack of interest. Policy has been to demolish outdated buildings and rebuild blocks of housing en masse, while working to keep historical and architectural features when possible during renovations. An objective of Staedion has been to de-centralise low-income housing by rebuilding more spacious lots in order to shift the socio-economic demographics in Transvaal. This strategy requires the displacement of local residents during the construction process. Staedion has engaged in programs to revitalize the appearance of businesses on Paul Kruger Avenue and has created large public spaces in recent years. Currently they are developing a multi-culural leisure center in Transvaal, consisting of mainly commercial development. New construction by Staedion has dwindled however in the last few years in the Hague region with numbers dropping from 729 in 2008 to only 229 units under construction in 2011.

Text sources: denhaag.nl dehaagsemarkt.nl staedion.nl DHIC DPZ CBS RIO

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PUBLIC SPACES Text by Simona Dobrescu

buildings private spaces public spaces green public spaces play facilities

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I Wish This Was - Workshop Report


Reflection of Community

Baseline Analysis

Existing public space

During the 4-day workshop, a group of young planning professionals were assigned the task of critically analyzing the public space of Transvaal Noord and developing a strategy or approach for future delivery of public spaces in the area. In Transvaal Noord the delivery of new housing is well underway and in some occasions it has been linked to the delivery of adjacent public spaces. It was found that these relatively new public places were not very different from the old ones in terms of target users and design solutions and were missing important features that would have made them viable long term. The aim of the housing association and the municipality to increase the desirability and attractiveness of Transvaal Noord for new residents is unlikely to be supported by the delivery of repetitive and monotonous solutions for the public space. Therefore the group has focused on developing a new approach that would contribute to achieving these aims. A short observational exercise was undertaken together with a few interviews of the local residents, small businesses and passersby. Despite interviewing people of different ages and with different levels of interests in the area, there were recurrent themes in people’s responses and an overarching opinion of the existing public space:

• There is lack of greenery in Transvaal Noord and

Recently delivered public space

I Wish This Was - Workshop Report

people prefer to use parks or playgrounds outside the neighbourhood; • The spaces are unattractive in terms of choice of materials and features. Concrete is used in abundance and there are no real attraction points that would spark the interest, attract people and encourage them to dwell in the space; • The provision is restricted to a very limited age group mainly small children under 14 years of age with very little to do for youngsters or the elderly; • There isn’t a culture of spending time outside in the public space. Meetings with friends take place indoors. When gatherings happen such as a football matches indoor pitches are hired elsewhere. • The public spaces are hidden from view and therefore have very few users from outside the area. The users from the neighbourhood do not feel secure using the spaces at all times of the day and it was also mentioned that the spaces encourage antisocial behaviour among youngsters. This is also

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accentuated by the fact that the public spaces are located in-between apartment blocks, hidden in the block structure, being therefore uninviting and deterring people from using it. Although the opinions about the existing public space were generally negative because of the location of the spaces and the willingness of the housing association to improve the public space in the area there is a great opportunity to adopt a new approach to public space delivery. The streets and pavements are wide, there is a high provision of public space and because Transvaal Noord is a relatively small neighbourhood it is accessible to the majority of residents and passersby.

Development Strategy

The principle behind the Urbego approach is to develop a partnership model in parallel to the physical reconstruction of the public space in order to trigger a sense of ownership and responsibility among existing and future residents. The aim is to deliver public space that not only responds to the residentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; needs but also contributes to creating a new image for the neighbourhood and attracts interest from residents and the business community. The strategy is based on the simple concept of creating a platform (both physical and social) that supports the cooperation and development of all stakeholders, including the housing association, the residents, and the municipality. The strategy has two tiers. At the micro level it intends to transform the monotonous grey and unattractive spaces into adaptable places where users, individuals or groups, can find their own corner, shape it for the activity they want and bring life into the area through different activities all year-round. At a macro scale it is important to establish the connectivity of the neighbourhood with the rest of The Hague, open up pedestrian and cyclist desire lines and reintroduce on the map of The Hague some of the destinations in Transvaal such as the Market and Krugerlaan Street. This wider strategy is aimed at bringing additional circulation to the area by providing high-quality attractive pedestrian and cyclist thoroughfares that will contribute towards a better image of the neighbourhood.

Design Considerations

These two approaches were exemplified on three chosen locations in Transvaal Noord where potential design solutions have been proposed. The first place of interest is bordered my Smitstraat to

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the north and Kockstraat to the south, right at the heart of Transvaal Noord. At present this area does not function as one space but as a sequence of spaces, segregated and unattractive. The central space is located right next to the school and kindergarten which makes it also the most used out of the three and also the focal point of the remodeling approach proposed by Urbego.

The design principle behind the approach is simple and was expressed as â&#x20AC;&#x153;unity in the line, unique in partsâ&#x20AC;?.

The main elements of the newly created space are clear sightlines between the three spaces in order to offer users alternatives for using the space. Each part of the space will be dedicated primarily for school children but to also cater for informal meetings between parents. The space already functions as a good meeting place for parents and especially mothers picking up their children from school. The design suggestion also includes elements that were considered vital in revitalizing the public space in Transvaal such as the introduction of greenery and a more open environment that allows for natural surveillance and direct sightlines.

The second space that was looked at for a design solution is the current playground on Joubertplantsoen.

The site visit and interviews have revealed that the place is fairly well-used by all age groups as elderly find seating on the side and children and youngsters use the central facilities. Nevertheless all these age categories do not use the space simultaneously since elderly are slightly intimidated and bothered by the noisy youngsters and the small children also avoid to use the space for the same reason. This type of age separation for the use of the same public space is detrimental for the community and also reduces considerably the number of activities that can happen in the space. As a consequence the design idea is to create an actual physical platform for the residents similar to those used for temporary venues to allow for adaptability and greater flexibility of the space for all age groups at all times. This can be achieved through an interesting use of materials, colours and the introduction of outdoor activities such as cycle training, temporary exhibitions, outdoor sports tournaments, society games mainly for the elderly and pop up retail kiosks.

The third space is very important for the macrolevel strategy for Transvaal Noord in terms of connectivity and improving thoroughfare. To the east of Steijnlaan, The Hague city centre is within I Wish This Was - Workshop Report


I Wish This Was - Workshop Report

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DE VERADEMING PARK DEN HAAG CITY CENTRE

DISTRICT CORRIDOR

Connectivity map - Transvaal Noord popular commercial asset potential green route

ZUIDER PARK

potential pedestrian & cycling route important road nodes

20 minutes walking distance. At the moment this direct route has been interrupted by the tram tracks as well as a parking lot at the junction with Herman Costerstraat.

The desire line towards the city centre is potentially very strong and could create considerably more opportunities for walking, cycling as well as shopping. Because the route already has a good green core this could be extended first to allow for more informal activities such as picnics and society games for elderly residents. This could be complemented by the introduction of some design elements to attract interest in the area, some opportunities for formal seating could be added, as well as 32

children play spots. This green corridor is intended not just as a thoroughfare but also as a magnet to attract additional pedestrian and commercial activity. To complement the delivery of the green corridor it is recommended that retail activity at the ground floor is encouraged in order to take full advantage of the opportunities created by the new space. The street could be a natural extension of the retail facilities on Paul Krugerlaan.

Management of the Public Space

In terms of the actual design, delivery and management of the public space, Urbego proposes a formula that has I Wish This Was - Workshop Report


How it is

How it could be


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proven successful in other European countries such as the UK. The management of the space can be transferred to local residents, charities or a consortium of organizations representing all various stakeholders in the area. This type of transfer is difficult and resource-intensive, especially at the initial stages where consultation and engagement exercises have to be developed, nevertheless it is believed to be an optimum approach for a holistic solution for the Transvaal reconstruction. This approach also brings numerous collateral advantages such as community involvement and ownership of public space that in the long run will impact on the value of the properties, perception of the area and residentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; satisfaction. The housing association, the municipality, the local residents and business owners have to continuously work together to create public spaces and streets that are not only attractive and pleasant for residents but also for visitors.

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S L

SMALL M MEDIUM LARGE Influential housing

Text by Matthew Newby

Staedion Housing Association has a history of strong commitment to the Transvaal area with the delivery of new housing. Various areas are in need of regeneration, though Staedion’s standardized housing misses opportunities for the community to have a stronger voice with regards to the future of the area. Design and types of housing play an important role on the human perception of an area. The responsibility of housing providers should not only be to deliver housing strategically to an area in order to meet demand, but what is delivered should contribute positively to the area through housing tenure, community dialogue and design. The question is how can the process be improved in the case of Staedion? ‘Influential Housing’ can positively impact the future of the Transvaal-Noord area because this process can ensure that current residents and local stakeholders work together to improve dialogue and community engagement, while meeting future housing demand via a mix of housing typology and flexible living arrangements. The principle objective of Influential Housing is to create a housing process that facilitates and considers the value and ideas of existing communities and local stakeholders to positively influence the future of a place. The Influential Housing idea is built on small, medium, and large influences alongside a level of flexibility for home ownership. To initially start small, the proposal focuses at the micro level on the smaller communal bonds and would favour the communities within Tranvaal’s housing blocks. 36

The grassroots influence would in turn gradually influence a larger area. Besides improving processes and facilitating the reshaping of new housing delivery, this gradual approach considers the values and ideas of existing communities by meeting their needs, to progressively influence communities at a wider area. With the objective of giving the local residents a voice through dialogue and engagement, shared community spaces would be a key component of the small influence. Additionally, in order to ensure the attraction of new residents to the area and consequently a desired demographic mixture, two small-scale solutions could be proposed: to offer flexible living arrangements through housing design and to provide Transvaal with mixedhousing typologies and new small-scale residential facilities. The initial focus is on redesigning the housing block and its uses through the provision of new residential shared amenities and facilities. This is a way to strengthen communal culture and social dynamics within the community. Furthermore it would be relatively cheap and easy to implement, whilst maximizing the communal influence. The use would require minimal space and could include common playgrounds and spaces for children, shared gardens, outdoor meeting areas and launderettes, for example. This reinforced sense of community and influence would radiate to a medium scale of influence, reaching the wider neighbouring housing areas. The I Wish This Was - Workshop Report


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S

M

[SMALL scale influence]

[MEDIUM scale influence]

Starting small and spreading influences

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L [LARGE scale influence]

To create a process that facilitates and considers the values and ideas of existing communities to influence the future of Trasvaal

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S Shared amenieties & facilitiies within the housing block Develops communal culture within the housing block Cheap and easy to implement Minimal space and maximum communal influence

M Shared amenieties & facilities within the surrounding block Develops communal culture within wider neighbouring housing Stiumulates ground-level neighbourhood initiatives Requires greater number of people and commitment Brings together ambitions and actors (stronger influence over area) 40

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L Builds from cultures developed from S and M Multiple actors representing individual housing areas Provides opportunity for Transvaal to be influenced by its residents Innovates resident-focused community development

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influence of providing shared amenities and facilities with surrounding blocks, would cover larger spaces within the community but include a greater number of people, reinforcing commitment and engagement. The shared spaces would aim to stimulate ground level neighbourhood initiatives and encourage new ambitions and actors, providing a stronger influence over the area. Some of the possibilities offered in this phase would be the physical restructuring of self-build houses and collective initiatives, the creation of shared spaces for young professionals and new meeting points for the elderly for sharing skills. The large-scale influence would build from the merits of small and medium-scale influences, bringing together both the social and physical influences of the area. With stronger communal bonds, the impacts of small, medium and large influences would inspire local residents to focus on community development and offer an opportunity for

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Transvaal to be proactive in both is social and physical future. With multiple actors involved and representing different local stakeholders, the influence would actively respond to the future demands of the area. The accomplishment of this phase would include the larger communitiesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; initiatives and more broad-scale events creating a stronger dialogue and bringing local residents and stakeholders together. Developing a model that brings together both partnership-building along with physical housing delivery is key. The Influential Housing idea aims to ensure that local stakeholders meet their own objectives at varying levels and that dialogue within the area is built to positively shape and provide for the future of the residential areas and the uses of land within the Transvaal area.

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SHIFTING PARADIGMS What is “Community”?

Communities are much more than mere groups of people within set geographical boundaries. Communities represent people voluntarily bonded together by lifestyle, interests, hobbies, economic activity or religion who share the pursuit of common goals, concerns, values or interests. A community is a place where individuals engage in quality communication, speaking and listening to one another openly and honestly. Communities seek to be inclusive and represent a place where people learn, grow and develop into their best potential. Community-building is a process that is always creating, evolving and changing. Networks of communities form a strong civic society and create a robust democracy. Biologically speaking, a community is a group of interacting living organisms sharing a populated environment, a sense of the word which also extends to the human condition.

Community Survey

We spoke to individuals in Transvaal to understand how residents and workers feel about the neighborhood and its dynamics. Because the presence of housing alone does not automatically make a place a “community,” we wanted to find indicators for “community” from the people themselves. In detail, we wanted to find out if people are planning on staying long term in Transvaal, how strong bonds are there, and if there is a sense of

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Text by Anna Boisnic

Transvaal: Participation and Community-Building place, which can reflect levels of “community”. After speaking to about 20 individuals living or working in Transvaal, we found that Transvaal’s best attributes include Haagse Mart (The Hague Market) and local shopping, accessibility to The Hague center, the renovated public spaces and people’s own personal family ties and neighborhood bonds. People are planning on residing in Transvaal for the next 10 years or more, which is good for the stability of the community. Therefore, we found that community is strong in some respects in Transvaal and takes the form of family bonds and friendships across cultural lines and strong local economic activity. Things people did not like that could be identified as weaknesses include the lack of parks, cafés and playgrounds, dirty streets without landscaping, perceptions of crime and insecurity, the negative reputation of Transvaal and otherwise unemployment. The presence of crime, weak public spaces, and high unemployment are indicators pointing towards the need for community to be strengthened. Based on these interviews and our field visit, we identified pillars for future action. We found that strengths to build upon include Transvaal’s great ethnic diversity and integration, as well as local business with its diverse offerings of multi-cultural items. In fact, the Hague Market is the biggest in the Netherlands and is complementary to local business.

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We are not living segregated. I am Surinami and I have many Moroccan friends. Cornelia, age 52

I study here but I live in Central Hague. They should build more playgrounds, we are missing spaces where to spend our free time. Caroline, age 16

Staedion in Transvaal

The current strategy of Staedion, who owns and manages about half of the housing in Transvaal, is based on tearing down old buildings or renovating buildings. By consolidating small apartments during this process, Staedion is creating larger apartments aimed at attracting higher socio-economic individuals to come and live in Transvaal. This strategy that depends on displacing original residents risks disempowering and marginalizing the current population.Staedion could somewhat alter its role, and begin to consider itself more of a â&#x20AC;&#x153;community development corporationâ&#x20AC;? (CDC). CDCs are not-for-profit organizations providing programs, services and other activities that promote and support community development. They are involved with economic development, education, community organizing and real estate development (affordable housing). Community development builds the capacity of people to work in their common interest in order to create healthy communities. This could be done by transferring more responsibility to locals and by working more closely with the population. Based on our

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I have been living here all my life! Now I am on my way to the market. I like the variety of products you can find there. Marta, age 68

definition of community, we found that there are strong foundations for community in Transvaal but aspects could be strengthened and cooperation and coordination could be improved. Community-building can focus on these action areas: increasing security, creating more fulfilling public areas, making local businesses more robust, reducing unemployment and otherwise increasing the wellbeing and “resilience” of Transvaal into the future.

Leveraging Business in Transvaal

Since business is at the core of Transvaal’s identity, local authorities could work to influence and enhance this strength to improve some residents’ perceived weaknesses in Transvaal. Based on our interviews, residents would like to live and work both in Transvaal, and focusing more on the economic development of the neighborhood could be the key to increased stability in Transvaal. Perhaps community programs based on micro-financing through loans, grants, technical assistance and other business incubators could both diversify business offerings and build existing business, helping deal with the unemployment in Transvaal. There is potential for increased economic

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activity surrounding public areas, which we found were often overly residential in character. Special programs could be started in Transvaal, such as food workshops for people to come to learn how to prepare “food of the world,” language training centers could be established, or even legal-advice businesses for foreigners or other specialized services. Workforce training could be improved. In addition, perhaps there are opportunities for Transvaal to re-brand itself with a marketing campaign, addressing the negative reputation that the neighborhood has. Based on feedback from both our community survey and our field visit, we feel it would be appropriate for Staedion to implement an integrated policy combining housing, workshop and commercial spaces. Perhaps “mixed-use” development, including new activity such as retail, restaurants, cafés and workshops could be better integrated into the cityscape, effectively breaking up some of the residential blocks and providing more activities for residents and visitors. In addition, having more public spaces and more activity in various areas would lead to more eyes on the streets, and consequently, less crime. Also, selling off some of its housing stock in order to introduce some “self-build” housing options could also help to break up some of the block housing in Transvaal, diversify the neighborhood’s architecture, and create that sense of ownership and responsibility that can lack in social housing projects due to its somewhat transitory nature.

Public participation: governance by the people

Incorporating the full participation of local inhabitants in the decisions local authorities make is essential to building community in Transvaal. This requires genuinely listening to, informing, and including the community in the decision-making process, which is a looping process, without end. Most importantly, citizens should be steering decisions, so that recommendations from the public are followed by action by local authorities. Through a community development process, many community concerns could be addressed because finding solutions requires a thorough and real understanding of the problems at hand.

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In addition to implementation of these processes and the support of business initiatives as listed above, Staedion also could help aid the incubation of new nonprofits, aimed at improving the situation of residents. By bringing in speakers with relevant experience to give public talks, all kinds of positive ideas can be spread around the community. Staedion could also financially support the development of housing cooperatives or encourage other types of economic cooperatives, like group purchasing in bulk for food items. Youth and leadership development, sustainable development advocacy, and locally-owned business advocacy could be addressed and promoted.

Conclusion

The role of the public authorities should be to make sure that groups of people do not feel disenfranchised, social integration is supported, and peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s concerns can be met with innovation. Avenues for participation should be explored so that citizens are motivated to contribute to the development of Transvaal. Through community development, action is taken to help people recognize and develop their ability and potential to organize in order to respond to common needs and problems. Using Staedionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s assets, tools can be developed in order to further these goals. Through workshops, forums, the invitation of guest speakers, the development of partnerships, the creation of working groups, and the support of community leaders through training exercises, for example, Transvaal could emerge as a true emblem for multi-cultural community in The Hague.

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TRANSVAAL

the Place in The Hague

Global City by the Sea Space for small business

Cultural meeting point

Flexible public space

For everybody and just for you 50


Flexible housing options

Public space for all ages Green Multi... Multi... Multi....= Exciting!! 51


GOOD PRACTICES & REFERENCES Community-Led Spaces, UK Street Delivery, RO Empowering Communities, IT ‘Le 56’ Saint Blaise, FR


Community-Led Spaces The UK cases of Croydon & BOST Text by Simona Dobrescu Lately in the UK a series of community-led space initiatives has emerged, being driven by the necessity for closer engagement between the public authorities and the users of public spaces in order to tackle shortages in funding and resources. Such projects are recognised to bring a series of benefits for both municipalities and local community groups. Nevertheless there are also a series of obstacles and risks involved with such a process and clearly identifying these at the beginning of the process is key in assuring a successful transfer of public space responsibilities and viability over the long term.

Croydon Transfer of Surplus Public Assets from the Council to Community Groups, Croydon, UK

This is an example of large-scale transfer of assets from under the management and sometimes ownership of a local municipality to local community groups, interested charities and organisations. The use of this strategy in Croydon was agreed upon in 2007 and looked at transferring both buildings and public spaces. The main transfer of public spaces took place on social housing estates. As part of the transfer process the municipality agreed to pay for feasibility studies for each individual asset that was being transferred to establish potential for community management, potential sources of funding and additional investment required. The community groups that would take over public spaces would be offered support from the local voluntary services organisations such as Croydon Voluntary Action (CVA).

The majority of public spaces are in social housing areas, where there is low usage as well as few resources for capital improvements. A well-thought-out transfer of assets from the municipality or the housing association would mean that users of the space would also be responsible for its maintenance and functionality. Make sure to: - Test in advance the willingness of community groups to take over the spaces and calculate risks; - Enrol additional partners that can offer knowledge and resources to train local communities; these can be charities and NGOâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s as well as businesses and consultancy companies that might be willing to offer their expertise for free or at low-cost; - Transfer responsibilities gradually to the community and monitor progress against set targets as well as local satisfaction with the public spaces; - Be prepared to have dedicated members inside the municipality to deal with the transfer, including legal or ownership issues with the land as well as additional advice on funding sources, management and organisation; - Avoid jargon when involving communities and explain all in a simple and plain way to build trust and credibility; Help the group to develop capacity for fundraising in the early stages of the transfer as it will ensure greater viability of the project; - Encourage members to truly commit to the project as the setbacks can be difficult to surmount.

Lessons for Transvaal The Croydon example is very similar in nature with the situation in Transvaal. 54

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Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST), London This is an example of how a local charity with support from local residents has taken the initiative to adopt a public garden (Red Cross Garden) that had become rundown and underused. BOST took the initiative to lease the site from the local municipality and raise funds for its modernisation and management. Gardening activities are now carried out by local volunteers. The management and coordination of the project are funded mainly by Southwark Council and Sainsbury Family Charitable Trust. Since 2000 BOST has taken over 9 other public spaces in Southwark and also facilitates the use of temporary spaces. Lessons for Transvaal The BOST example demonstrates how the transfer of public space management can be done through a specialised charitable organisation as an alternative if local residents are slow to engage. Gradually the local community can be involved and it can start taking over the space from the charity as capacity builds to deal with certain aspects of the management process. Make sure to: - Focus fundraising efforts on the economic and social impacts of the public space management programme such as inclusion of marginalised communities, skillbuilding, community cohesion, training opportunities etc; - Use visual tools to communicate with people, site visits and practical activities such as gardening to increase cohesion and achieve more involvement; - Add an income-making element to the space to make it more likely to succeed long term. In Transvaal there are many local businesses that could get involved as well as other organisations that could pay a small fee for renting space within the neighbourhood such as temporary art galleries, artist studios, pop-up restaurants etc; - Nurture constant involvement and offer consistent support to the communities especially in the early stages of the transfer. Useful links: http://www.croydon.gov.uk/ http://www.bost.org.uk/ http://www.unionstreetorchard.org.uk/

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Street Delivery Temporary Community-Led Spaces in Romania

Text by Simona Dobrescu

“Close the street to the cars and open it to the people”

This is an example of how a business organisation together with a professional body has taken the initiative to temporarily manage a public space with the support of a municipality. For three days a year since 2006 one street in central Bucharest becomes pedestrianized, providing space for artists, performers, businesses and passers-by to take over and enjoy the space. Begun by a local business ”Carturesti Library” and the Romanian Organisation of Architects, the goal of this initiative is to sponsor and promote a new masterplan for the city centre that improves public space. The initiative is supported by the local municipality, who allows for the traffic closure, but is mainly funded and organised by charities and volunteers, many of them students who live and study at the two major universities located within minutes-walk from the street. The event has grown bigger each year and is now also happening in Timisoara, another Romanian city. This project proves that a privately-led initiative with facilitation by the municipality can take shape and grow in time to become a major event that is embraced and expanded by the users themselves. 58

Lessons for Transvaal The success of this 6-year-old event shows that commitment is key when transferring the management of public spaces, even when they are transferred for short periods of time. Make sure to: - Engage enthusiastic members of the community or organisations with an interest in the area, which will ensure a solid starting base to build upon in the future; - Give space for creative industries, the arts, and encourage the involvement of young people and entrepreneurs so that the event is up-beat with great publicity to support and promote the project; - Have a good promotion strategy as it is key to raising awareness, generating interest and could eventually serve as a platform for the funding of various activities related to public space.

Useful links: http://www.streetdelivery.ro/street-delivery/galerie-foto

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RO

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Text by Mara Pellizzari

Empowering Communities Collectively self-built and self-refurbished affordable houses in Italy Autocostruzione e autorecupero associato (Self-Building and Refurbishing in Collectives) is a term that refers to a popular program in Italy started in 2000, aimed at providing high-quality affordable houses for middle-income families through collective, physical building by future inhabitants. The program currently counts more than 25 construction sites in 7 different regions with homes built for more than 400 families. ‘Autocostruzione’ or ‘self-construction’ means literally

building or refurbishing houses through the work of the future inhabitants who are usually acting together legally in the form of a cooperative. This methodology unites people of different age, origins and social backgrounds who become builders, carpenters, plumbers and electricians in their free time under the careful guidance of experts and with the support of other community players. This scheme makes it possible to achieve the dream of owning a low cost, high-quality home.

Piangipane, Ravenna (IT) - 24 houses realized

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IT A few words about the current situation in Italy

Self-Building and Refurbishing in Collectives is a direct consequence of the national housing situation with government’s restricted investments and involvement in social housing, high maintenance costs of public assets and access to social housing limited to families with very low incomes. These issues are rapidly worsening due to economic instability, also causing higher prices for property, real estate speculation, and corruption in the field of construction. Those with incomes hardly higher than that required to obtain a social house but not sufficient for asking even a small mortgage are in a most precarious situation. Public intervention is often planned with a partial and inadequate vision of the housing reality, and robust development programs do not exist. On the bright side, this difficult housing situation is becoming the concrete opportunity for developing innovative strategies and more sustainable urban practices that are oriented to involve citizens and to create social values.

A balanced performance of private and public actors

Self-Building and Refurbishing is a joint effort made possible by public and private actors, usually managed by a guiding organization such as a non-profit or a housing association. This player manages the complete process, proposing the project and acting as mediator, facilitating the communication between all the subjects involved, and promoting the self-built and self-refurbished methodology. Project design is developed and a technical team of architects follows and works with the group of self-builders since the beginning. The process is shared with the future inhabitants, who are empowered to influence design since decision-making based on “consensus” or “near-consensus” is used. From the early stages of concept design, particular care is taken to optimize technical solutions. Since the self-builder has

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limited professional knowledge, technical drawings have to be simple and easily understandable to anyone at the building site. Construction materials also should be safe, light, and energy-efficient.

Social cohesion and personal growth

Based on growing numbers of this type of project completed in Italy, Self-Building and Refurbishing is a possible solution to housing uncertainty and difficulty. Not only are estimated savings in the costs of construction or renovation around 50%, but this methodology has a very strong impact on the collective growth of the population, helping to integrate minorities and allowing citizens to participate in the process of urban development. Self-Building and Refurbishing in Collectives promotes: . Social integration and self- development . Technical training and know-how . Increased opportunities for employment . Strengthening of social groups, cooperation In the larger picture, group liability and the manual skills acquired allow people to contribute to the growth of their own urban environment. Quality of life, living conditions, property maintenance in the long-term, shared responsibility, social integration and safety are addressed by the residents themselves. Working together on common goals strengthens the community and builds more consciousness. Social entrepreneurship is promoted.

Useful links: http://www.autocostruzione.net/ http://www.aliseicoop.it/buona-prassi-autocostruzione/

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‘Le 56’ Saint Blaise

Community Participation Text by Giulia Maci

Ecological & Cultural Space Managed by the Inhabitants of Saint Blaise, Paris Project description:

Initiated in 2006 near the Porte de Montreuil in Paris’ 20th arrondissement (district), “The 56” is an inclusive space, welcoming the initiatives of people and associations from within and outside of Saint Blaise. “The 56” projet (named after the street number) is an example of how an urban interstice can be transformed into a collectively selfmanaged space and demonstrates how it is possible to overcome the traditional division between designers and users by bringing together local government structures, local organisations, inhabitants of the area and a professional association that runs training programmes in eco-construction. In parallel with the construction of the physical space, social and cultural relationships between the users and various project actors have evolved. The project focuses on the meaning of border in urban 62

spaces. Neighborhood walls are not boundaries anymore but become a means for increased interaction. Instead of separating people and things, they supply space for multiplying exchange and connections. Another important focus of the project is the environment: autonomy in energy with a minimal ecological footprint, a compost facility, recycling. These activities are totally selfmanaged by the local inhabitants and volunteers sharing responsibilities, expertise and resources.

Process:

The project space was an ancient passage in the center of St Blaise, abandoned for several years until 2005 when the Mayor of Paris invited the Atelier d’Architecture Autogérée (workshop for self-managed architecture) team to explore potential new uses for the 200m2 space. After I Wish This Was - Workshop Report


FR

several months of surveying and multiplying contacts with local stakeholders such as residents, neighborhood associations, and schools, AAA defined a programme for the space according to the needs and suggestions collected. Spontaneous or organized activities like gardening, tea parties or barbecues started to occur and brought new life into the passage. Together with the other project partners, APIJ-bat, an association specialized in eco-construction, organized training courses over 6 months resulting in an office to manage garden affairs and other architecture made of recycled materials, composting toilettes, rainwater collectors, a green roof, systems for recycling and solar panels. At the same time micro-projects such as greenhouse tunnels, â&#x20AC;&#x153;neighborhood wallsâ&#x20AC;? and collective gardens were built with the participation of residents,

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students and young volunteers. Debates, seminars and meetings among inhabitants were organized: the construction site had itself become the center of social and cultural activity. Today forty people have access to the space and use it regularly for gardening, organic vegetable distribution, performances, exhibitions, debates, workshops, screenings, concerts, seminars â&#x20AC;Ś and the space is always open to new proposals and activities. This project proves that even the most marginal places can be transformed into productive spaces that bring together the community.

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Sources of Images Photos and drawings in Part 01 and 02 have been taken and made by the participants during the 4-day workshop in The Hague. A special thanks goes out to Alex Seltea for his beautiful shots. Community- Led Spaces - UK http://www.london-se1.co.uk/news/view/5987 https://www.facebook.com/BanksideOpenSpacesTrust Street Delivery – RO http://www.streetdelivery.ro/street-delivery/galerie-foto Empowering communities - IT Photos: http://www.autocostruzione.net/ Drawing: Mara Pellizzari for MaDEarchitettura ‘The 56’ Saint Blaise - FR http://56stblaiseactivites.wordpress.com/ http://www.ryerson.ca/carrotcity/board_pages/community/56_rue-st-blaise.html http://www.urbantactics.org/

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This publication has been made possible thanks to contributions by the Municipality of The Hague, Staedion and IFHP Editor: Anna Boisnic Giulia Maci

Graphic designer: Mara Pellizzari

Texts by: Anna Boisnic Simona Dobrescu Mustafa Hasanov Clenn Kustermans Ulrik Lassen Giulia Maci Matthew Newby

Workshop Participants: Irina Angelova Alicja Baranowska Anna Boisnic Seppe De Blust Pim de Leeuw Simona Dobrescu Yana Golubeva Mustafa Hasanov Renata Jardim Salma Khamis Kerli Kirsimaa Clenn Kustermans Ulrik Lassen Alessandra Lualdi Giulia Maci Ramon Marrades Sempere Matthew Newby Mara Pellizzari Thomas Reinwald Sørensen Manoe RuhÊ Alexandru Seltea Aina Soler Djaiwd Tahery

Mara Pellizzari

Contact: g.maci@ifhp.org

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Urbego Report 01//2013 Workshop 11th-14th February 2013 With the participation of: IFHP - International Federation for Housing and Planning Staedion Housing Association Gemeente Den Haag

Urbego's Report - The Hague 2013  
Urbego's Report - The Hague 2013  

'I wish this was. Common Scenario for Transvaal' is the second Urbego's report on the workshop organised in The Hague in February 2013 with...

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