Open and evolvable process
All throughout this process, we insist on involving the youth so as to give courage to younger voices in trying-out and testing their ideas in a creative social environment. We believe that this is key to inspiring young generations to invest in their environment and design a better urban future for themselves and others.
To reiterate, we operate on the basis of:
1. Exploration- engaging local stakeholders and communities, identifying emerging scenarios, behaviors and challenges.
2. Co-creation- bringing together diverse disciplines, and engaging local knowledge and stakeholders in defining new scenarios, concepts and proposals.
3. Experimentation- developing prototypes or scenarios to test, while collecting evidence and reactions to their implementation.
4. Evaluation- assessing the impact of new ideas and concepts, and defining planning and policy strategies informed by the evidence of the experimentation and co-creation processes.
The Urbego approach stems from four specific projects that we have developed and tested in different cities around the world over the past two years.
All of our projects and activities reflect a cyclical, reflexive process of exploration, co-creation, experimentation and evaluation. We believe that an effective approach to ‘wicked’ urban problems demands a thorough exploration of the problem, the actors involved and relevant stakeholders, a clear understanding of the local policies and interests at play. For this reason we insist on inspecting the field (and therefore working in situ) and establishing strong connections with the local communities, universities and research institutes, the city authorities and the private sector.
We take into consideration path dependency and acknowledge the importance of the local context in developing strategies and actions; in other words, we are sensitive to the uniqueness of each case and are therefore adamant on facilitating dialogue among relevant actors so as to develop a co-creation strategy. We strongly advocate for the involvement of the local community in developing viable and effective solutions to the problems at hand.
City authorities ought to refrain from including the local community in planning processes as passive actors, or observed subjects, but be encouraged to engage with and inspire the local community in developing joint visions. One reason for this is that the local community often has creative and innovative ideas for tackling issues- this potential must be harnessed; the other is that this is the sures way to understand the wants and needs of the local community, thereby significantly reducing the negative side-effects of public and private projects such as oscillating land rents and displacement, access to housing and other amenities.
Testing and experimentation is an important part of the project development process. For this reason we insist on running a pilot workshop, evaluating the results, tweaking our actions when necessary, and only then applying the project on a larger scale. Evaluation is also key. Only after a thorough evaluation of our project or activity do we engage with policymakers and discuss the implications of turning a strategy into a wider (or targeted, but more permanent) planning policy.
We do, however, encourage policymakers to consider the Urbego approach as a simple tool that yields significant results in terms of developing relevant, viable and inclusive strategies to their urban problems. We encourage investors and other stakeholders to do the same, most especially to modify their actions so as to place primary focus on the local community.