Co-creative tactical urbanism

Co-creative tactical urbanism is quite a topic to address over breakfast – Our latest ‘Rise and Shine’ session considered the benefits of collaborative community and temporary design.

Prior to joining Planit-IE, Urban Designer Ana Santini, acted as a workshop facilitator for a series of temporary projects and in the early stages of long-term phased schemes in Denmark. Her work on transitional projects often acted as a bridge from one stage of land use to another, experimenting and creating prototypes with everyday material to create temporary structures that elicit a reaction. Such projects may be an urgent response, have the purpose of empowering a community or simply be a cost-effective solution!

A Vision for Blågård, Copenhagen

The Blågård area of Copenhagen was historically known as the ‘Black Square’ – whilst the former slum was redeveloped in the 1970s, today it is one of the most multicultural and dense areas of the Danish capital.

A community project for a vision for the neighbourhood was won through competition, predominantly due to an elaborative process of engaging the Council, stakeholders and residents, using different tools and themed workshops. Initial ice-breaker exercises, such as the consecutive answering of “Why are you here?” questions helped the participants get to know each other and made them consider why they wished to take part in collaborative design. Neighbourhood walks, quick experiments in 1:1 building, kids’ participatory play and a lighting workshop all formed part of the programme. After each workshop, resulting thoughts were laid down on paper, and discussions led to a presentation that concluded what needed to change.

Local carpenters created a totem which gave the community the opportunity to share their ideas and comments. The totem stayed on one of the public squares for several weeks without being vandalised, inviting people to add and explore ideas.

The project culminated in an Intensive Week, where three consecutive building workshops created temporary prototypes of identified interventions on the chosen sites. The final outcome of the project was a Vision document and Idea Catalogue which identified key strategic actions, which would be used as a means of attracting funding for these interventions.

Life before the City – A City for Life

Køge is a small coastal fishing town that wanted to redevelop its harbour. A team lead by architects Vandkunsten produced a masterplan for a Client formed as a partnership between the Council and a private fund. The Council wanted the first stage of the project to be a series of interventions that would reintroduce this part of the town to its residents and visitors, activating it in the years before construction began. But it would also serve as a place for experimentation, sustainability, culture and business promotion.

This lead to the involvement of ‘Urban Play’, a course at the University of Copenhagen that looked at temporary play installations. Projects included bench building, a floating sauna you had to pull yourself towards, creation of a “snail staircase”, installation of beach swings and a cultural hub for events, BBQs, gatherings and picnics.

These transitory initiatives led on to a series of more structured temporary projects.

Temporary and meanwhile community-based design projects are often a humanistic bridge between a community and change. They anchor a project in its area, often being built by locals using local materials and considering its unique physical and intangible features.

Transparency, accessibility (both physically and in terms of language barriers) and visibility are important aspects of engagement within a multicultural community. Playful temporary projects can enable creative experimentation, broaden participants’ horizons and facilitate a sense of ownership, empowerment and belonging – Ana concluded that people yearn to be part of something, and their immediate community is a good place to start if that sense is not already there.

In future sessions we will share examples of community engagement, and artist-led participation within Planit-IE projects, whilst considering how best to incorporate and maximise the benefits of such initiatives in our ongoing work.