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Newsletter N°5 april 2014



The USER project sets out to create public spaces that provide opportunities for social interaction, conviviality and social cohesion, and which foster active citizenship in the public sphere. Non-discrimination in access to public space, and the ability of different groups with different needs to share the use of public spaces, are crucial in our eyes. Public spaces are where the city’s inhabitants can live together. Therefore, the changes we are aiming for in USER will entail several changes, which are expected to go beyond technical and management issues. We aim to support institutional and political changes. In USER, we have to consider public spaces as the common ground where civic responsibility and our collective sense of what might be called “publicness” are developed and expressed. USER municipalities are working to adjust their action in public spaces to this goal. Since the USER project’s inception, we have achieved interesting steps in knowledge-sharing between partners. The round of plenary thematic seminars is now finished. We have had the opportunity to share

experiences about more convivial, safer, better-maintained public spaces. Now we have to consolidate it and, above all, we should make this rich knowledge easier to transfer to the local practices of each USER city. Regarding workshops, the first round held in November was a test: cities were directly in charge of organising experience sharing within their subgroups. It was a positive beginning, which can be improved on now that the added value of the USER workshops is clear for cities. Workshops are not just about telling stories and listening to other partners’ stories. Each subgroup of three cities needs to set up a common framework with clear, shared references that can guide partners on what they want to share and to learn, and how they are going to do it. Cities should also take advantage of these workshops to debate issues, stakes, and innovative prac-

tices beyond their pilot sites. Rich experiences about public spaces elsewhere in these cities should be incorporated as input in the USER learning process. Last but not least, the local action plans are being drafted. At this stage, we can see that a USER local action plan is at once a strategic plan that defines the targets, vision and values guiding the proposed actions; a clear action plan to improve the uses, design and management of our public spaces located in the pilot site; examination, learning and cooperation with local stakeholders on public spaces; a test of new ways to improve and create better public spaces.

Fernando Barreiro lead expert of the USER project

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the European USER project - Newsletter N째5

what's new in USER ? The last thematic seminar held in Lisbon The city of Lisbon hosted the USER network on 27 and 28 February 2014. This third thematic seminar in the USER project focused on managing public spaces. How do the ways a public space is used shape what is required of its management? How does the quality of a public space's management influence the way people use the area? How can we clarify the management responsibilities of the various structures involved in public space? What internal structure will allow municipalities to most effectively meet users' needs in terms of public space management?

Together we examined and discussed the concept of public space management. Although it is commonly associated with waste management, it became clear that public space management involves a far wider range of tasks and directly appeals to users' feeling of belonging to a city's public spaces.

Instead of calling in an outside expert to answer these questions, we preferred to encourage the cities themselves to generate the knowledge they need. Experience proved us right: given the very productive discussions that took place, it is clear that the USER cities have a lot to contribute!

A more detailed account of our study and discussions can be found page 4!

We also talked a lot about local situations and practices, because it became apparent that, despite the different contexts, all of the municipalities were confronted with management problems.

Lisbon seminar

Lisbon seminar : site visit

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the European USER project - Newsletter N째5

Mid-term project review The USER project began in April 2013. We are now half-way through the project - a good time to review the progress made over the past year. The knowledge we have gained from the cities' shared experience and the seminar discussions has given us a significant body of ideas with which to work. However the seminars, which we always find too short, also leave us with a sense of frustration, since we lack the time for an exhaustive, in-depth study of the questions raised! We also need to ensure that

the knowledge accumulated is effectively shared by each of the cities, by making it clearer and easier to use. The process involved in constructing local action plans seems clear and each city has begun working on its plans with its local support group. The lead expert provides individualised support on request. The majority of the cities have clearly defined the USER project's objective and purpose at local level. Now we need to make sure that the local action plans are developed and

refined, and made sufficiently operational and realistic for the cities to be able to rapidly act on them at the end of the USER project. As far as the USER partnership is concerned, the cities know each other well now and their discussions are increasingly productive and targeted. And of course, once the seminar working sessions are finished, we always enjoy the more informal time together!

Convivial events during USER seminars

Next steps: preparing the final deliverables and constructing the local action plans The USER project will enter its final phase in the coming months, which will consist in transnational knowledge-building and finalising the local action plans for each city. The purpose of an URBACT project is to compile experience, studies and even messages for use by European cities. Accordingly the network will spend the next few months organising the knowledge exchanged, and defining the main messages, tools and methods that we would like to

share at European level. At the same time, the cities will rally their local support group to transform all the initiatives on which they have worked since the project's inception into a local action plan. This is an important and sizeable task, since the local action plan is meant to be the city's roadmap for solving the usage problems identified at the pilot site.

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the European USER project - Newsletter N°5

What the USER network teaches us How public spaces are used and managed When we think "public space management", what usually comes to mind is household waste management and keeping the public space looking attractive (treating damage, graffiti, etc.). Our discussions at the Lisbon seminar helped us put these essential management activities back into a broader context. The main message to come out of the discussions was: "Management should be planned and organised to meet users' needs. But users themselves should be able to feel responsible for the public spaces they use".

Tailoring management to the way public spaces are used The partners stressed the importance of involving users in the everyday maintenance of the public spaces they use. To foster this involvement, the public space must be sufficiently attractive for users to identify with the place and develop a feeling of belonging that will make them feel more responsible for the way this public space is used. Users also have an important role to play in structuring management activities. Local authorities need to listen to the users - all of the users. Users will help them set priorities and spot problems; they will give their opinion on the way public space is used, and help pinpoint the problems that might arise in managing a future urban project. This is essential for management operations to be organised in such a way as to address the specific needs of each public space and the way it is used: "one-size-fits-all" management solutions are seldom effective because they are simply not suitable.

urban management – a multidisciplinary task

Designing a manageable urban form Management is often seen as unrelated to the urban project, and simply added on at the end. On the contrary, though, it should be taken into consideration from the preliminary planning phases right through to well after a public space has been delivered. This would prevent planners from designing urban forms that are difficult to manage (because of technical difficulties or misuse). It would encourage planners to clarify each party's responsibilities by deliberately addressing the often complex problem of who owns public spaces. For efficient longterm management, all of the urban project's stakeholders must take this factor into consideration.

And know who manages what! This raises a question that is often at the crux of the problems encountered by USER cities, namely how to organise the management partnership and clarify each partner's responsibilities. Municipalities are often seen as the primary body responsible for managing public spaces. But municipalities' internal organisation is often too segmented to be able to effectively meet the need, with the technical staff and the urban planning staff not working hand-in-hand, for example. Another difficulty is that many other stakeholders are involved, or should be involved, in managing and maintaining public spaces (e.g. other public bodies, private owners, etc.), and often this partnership is not clearly defined. It would appear to be vital, therefore, to more effectively coordinate these stakeholders, clarify each party's responsibilities and agree on a clear decision-making process, so that public spaces are well managed and therefore well used. Lastly, the question of the lack of financial resources for providing effective, long-term management was inevitably raised. However, as we have seen, management costs could be substantially optimised or even reduced if the choices made in the matter (regarding urban planning and the technical operations) are appropriate for the requirements, and if the partnership and technical organisation is structured in a way that can efficiently carry out the chosen operations.

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the European USER project - Newsletter N°5

events Second workshop session The USER network is continuing its discussion sessions in subgroups of three cities. The second round of workshops will be held in April-May:

› 24 and 25 April Malaga (the "old, culturally-significant city centres" group).

› 5 and 6 May Dresden ("public spaces to be connected up with the rest of the city" group).

› 12, 13 and 14 May Grenoble-Alpes Métropole ("social housing districts" group).

Workshop Malaga

After the first workshop, when the teams got to know each other better, this second workshop should be an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the local partnership structured around these projects. It will also give the cities a chance to exchange opinions and advice on the process of drawing up their local action plans.

Knowledge-building seminar USER cities would like to convey to the rest of Europe: a key The city of Cracow will host the USER network's next plenary seminar on 2 and 3 July. The seminar will be devoted to capitalising on the knowledge generated by the network to date. The seminar will be devoted to agreeing on the content of the USER project's final deliverables, i.e. defining the main messages that the goal!

Cracow’s pilot site, Azory

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the European USER project - Newsletter N°5

User in Lisboa O Grupo de Suporte Local do projecto USER Lisboa (LSG.LX) é já um fórum de cidadania activa, na discussão dos equipamentos nesta zona da cidade. Paula Marques, vereadora da Habitação e Desenvolvimento Local do município, participou nos trabalhos e encerrou o seminário numa sessão que decorreu na Escola António Arroio, um dos parceiros do projeto. O território de actuação local do Projecto USER em Lisboa é constituído pelos Bairros Cooperativos Ex-SAAL do Bairro Horizonte (BIP/ZIP 47) e do Bairro Coop. do Beato (BIP/ ZIP 60), que se traduzem em cerca de 140 habitações num número de moradores superior a mil moradores

Melhor gestão do espaço público foi o tema que juntou em Lisboa, nos dias 27 e 28 de fevereiro, representantes europeus da Rede USER num seminário com o tema "Better Managed Public Spaces", promovido pela Câmara de Lisboa, no âmbito deste projeto comunitário que procura trabalhar novas formas de planeamento e gestão da cidade. Foram apresentadas e debatidas diversas boas prácticas em espaço público nos Bairros e Zonas de Intervenção Prioritárias da cidade de Lisboa, tais como policiamento comunitário, requalificação através de bolsas de moradores, campanhas publicitarias de sensibilização local e hortas comunitárias.

vimento Social, Projecto e Obras, Património, Unidades de Intervenção Territorial, Agência Ambiental E-Nova, entre outros). Estão também já em curso os contactos para o envolvimento de parceiros chave do meio académico e da administração central (a Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, o Instituto de Geografia e Ordenamento do Território, a Faculdade de Arquitectura de Lisboa, o Instituto de Habitação e Reabilitação Urbana e o Laboratório Nacional Engenharia Civil).

O próximo passo previsto para o LSG.LX, é a concretização de um diagnóstico participativo local para apoiar a construção de Programa de Ação Local (LAP) que defina uma estratégia comum para os territórios adjacentes destes Bairros Cooperativos Ex-SAAL das Juntas de Freguesia do Beato e Penha de França. Serão integrados nesta programação as iniciativas já realizadas ou curso, tal como os projectos do Programa BIP/ZIP e as recentes adjudicação de empreitadas municipais de substituição de coberturas de fibrocimento das Cooperativas do Beato, que por conterem amianto constituem uma ameaça para a saúde e ambiente. O LSG.LX é já uma realidade local no modelo de cogestão territorial, articulando numa lógica “bottom up” a energia local com a resposta dos diversos serviços e empresas municipais (Ambiente, Planeamento, Urbanismo, Habitação, Desenvol-

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the European USER project - Newsletter N°5

Grenoble-Alpes Métropole (Lead Partner): Claire PREDAL, +33 56 58 51 73 Fernando BARREIRO: (Lead Expert), + 34 93 201 54 74 Copenhagen: Sia BOESEN, +45 326 302 90 Dresden: Bruno BULS +49 35 14 88 35 09

cracow: Natalia BIERNAT +48 692 185 566

Malaga: Begona OLIVA +34 951 928 833

Lisbon: Miguel BRITO +35 213 227 360

Pescara: Cinzia LIBERATORE +39 339 62 677 05

Lublin: Monika KLOS +48 814 662 850

Riga: Nika KOTOVICA +37 167 181 424

DIR : Grenoble-alpes métropole - graphic design : - april 2014


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USER - Newsletter 05 lisbon  

The USER is an URBACT project sets out to create public spaces that provide opportunities for social interaction, conviviality and social co...

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