Cities in Transition
The complex challenges of our time demand innovative solutions and above all, a new way of working. The city of the future does not originate from a blueprint on a designer’s table or the executive’s office. Our cities are in transition. Urgent matters like climate change, increasing poverty and inequality, housing or food supply demand an approach characterised by experiments and integrated collaboration, rooted in ownership and participation of the city’s users.
A network of City Makers
City Makers are the pioneers exploring, shaping and defining this new way of working. They are the active citizens that enhance livability and create communities in their own neighbourhood, setting up cooperatives, starting communal gardens, and organising self- sustaining energy facilities. They are the architects and developers starting their design process by building a community and developing buildings and areas in collaboration with end users. They are the civil servants and political decision makers who base their policies on participative decision-making, transparency, open data, and so on, based upon trust in the strength of their partners in the city. They are the alliances of residents, entrepreneurs, civil society organisations, municipalities, and knowledge institutions, sharing circular ambitions and working together in closing loops of water, energy, raw and waste materials.
Pioneering City Makers often work on a small scale, which does not apply to the impact of their work. You can find City Makers anywhere. They constitute a movement capable of shaking up society and redefining existing systems. It is a movement manifesting itself throughout Europe and causing a change in cities. A movement connected through shared ambitions and principles but characterised by a diversity of initiatives adapting to different socio-economical contexts and needs. New Europe – Cities in Transition wants City Makers to connect, inspire, and learn from one another and work together in increasing support by the public and on a political level.
City Embassies – our local representatives
Over the last 3 years we have worked on finding and connecting local partners who believe that social innovation emerges from an inventive coalition between top-down institutions and private initiatives. These local partners, our City Embassies, all contribute to our open platform that focuses on exchanging and sharing knowledge and experiences between City Makers. They believe the complex issues of our time should not be addressed in a merely centralised or top-down manner, but locally, with shared ownership as the leading principle. Our City Embassies demonstrate that this potential for new methods and mechanisms of participation and co-creation emerges from active, enterprising citizens and their (small-scale) initiatives, and that it stimulates research and experiment, the exchange of experiences and practical knowledge in their local network.
The role of our City Embassies
Our City Embassies are our first connection to the local City Makers movement in each of the capital cities of the European Union. They keep us informed about the most recent developments and noteworthy initiatives with whom they cooperate. They offer the network a unique insight in to their cities and they dynamics between citizens, government, the corporate, academic and civic world. We at Pakhuis de Zwijger are lucky to collaborate with such active, well-informed and community-minded partners – our network would not be the same without them. Over the past years, our local partners organised and participated in our field trips throughout Europe, the international Joint Venture meet-up in 2015, the City Makers pre-summit on 4 and 5 February in 2016 and the City Makers Summit on 27-30 May, 2016. Find out who our City Embassies are and how they contribute to the liveability of their cities and neighbourhoods!