Autumn cleanup – outdoor event in the Azory housing estate

On Sunday 9th of November, in the square beside the Parish Church was held an outdoor event, organized as part of the USER project.

The theme of the event was autumn cleanup and a fair of redundancies consisting in the exchange of unnecessary items that may be useful to other neighbors. Children could take part in the art workshops, during which they made dolls from materials found during the autumn orders.

In addition, the event was an occassion to get the residents’ opinion on the projects included in the Local Acion Plan. The residents had a possibility to introduce new solutions for the housing estate or propose their own ideas for improving the quality of life in the Azory.

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Feedback from URBACT Summer University!

The Summer university has been hold in Dublin, from August 28th to 30th. There some 300 people were gathered to learn, discuss, network – 300 people involved in URBACT and coming out from 150 cities and 26 countries!

From USER, 8 persons were there: 3 persons from Copenhagen (Sia and her 2 LSG members), 2 from Lublin (Monika and Daniel Grzeszczuk), Ilze from Riga, Claire from Grenoble-Alpes Métropole and Fernando Barreiro took part in the event.

The USU was composed by « URBACT talks » in plenary sessions (external experts making a presentation on a specific subject, among whom was Camilla Van Deurs, who took part in Copenhagen seminar Conference), master classes to deepen a topic (integrated approach, Roma Ghettos…), as, on top of that, by « LSG at work » working groups.

All participants were grouped in fictive LSG in order to solve the case of Allium city, a city encountering important socio-urban problems. In 3 days, we had to elaborate together an action plan thanks to URBACT methods such as etc. Most of USER members where in the group working on the topic « shared public spaces » – which is coherent !
LAB session - preparation for the "best LAP" contest!LSG@work outputs

 

Here are some USER partner’s feedbacks about USU :

Allium City has problems like average city in Europe. Many of participants found in Allium their own cities – The City of Lublin has the same problems. It was a wonderful experience to know the opinions of other people – experts in the city planning and management. What was really surprising was that many of us have found similar solutions to Allium’s public spaces problems, but the ways to achieve the goal in many cases was different. It was an amazing experience.
I’ve been impressed by the organization of Summer University, the exchange of experiences and I wish to participate in next URBACT international meetings to broaden my knowledge and learn about experiences of other cities.

Monika Klos, Lublin

I would compare URBACT Summer University to the box full of sweets: everyone can take what he/she need or like the best. For me that was:

– Morning plenary sessions with inspiring and interesting presentations. The most inspiring presentations were of the Mayor of Udine and architect Camilla Van Deurs – both of them let me believe that every single place in the city can be alive when there are people who care about it and activities that attract and allow to interact.

Experience sharing and possibility to meet different people from whole Europe.

-Practical experience for work with local support group using Programme’s methodology.

LAB „Shared public spaces” was led by Bela Kezy, conversant and funny lecturer,and it was well organized. I got more clear view on how Programme/Project would like us to work with our local support group as well as learned a set of methods we should use. In our ULSG groups we simulated a process of LSG meeting and put in use ‘Problem tree’, ‘Solution tree’, built our possible Stakeholders list and created Action plan’s table using Opera method. Although I lacked some practical and deeper? knowledge about the topic we were working on and found it too theoretical I think it was a good experience and knowledge for us to put in use and redesign/adapt for our work with the local support group.

My main conclusion after URBACT Summer university is that Riga has not experienced wholesome and so intensive stakeholders’ involvement yet. It is vital to involve all stakeholders as well as users of public spaces in the early stages of planning proceses and we have to rememeber that all our efforts and work to create more lively, convivial and interesting public places must be directed for needs of people using the public spaces especially those which are important for local community.

Ilze Rudzate, Riga

Krakow sub-group getting ready for workshop

Congratulation to the Krakow team!

According to Fernando’s roadmap for workshop preparation, they have lead an internal work to identify the most relevant topic they would like to share with the 2 host cities – and they now propose them to open the discussion in order to choose one focus topic together.

In this proposal document: Workshop Proposal Document_Krakow, Krakow describes its main preoccupations regarding Azory’s neighbourhood, which are:

– Accessibility.

Communication with the rest of the city, bad access to public spaces due to a bad maintenance, accessibility for disabled people, social exclusion / safety, “dead spaces”, perception of public / private / semi-private limits.

Activity.

Azory’s users found during the LSG that there is enough recreational public areas – but most of them are redundant, poorly equiped and badly maintained. There are no spaces dedicated for specific activities (except children playgrounds). There are no bike road, no jogging, no rollerskating lanes… There are hardly any sportsgrounds, no picnic areas, etc. The lack of proper management and equipment is the reason why public spaces in Azory are harly ever used, or misused.

Place identity

The place identity is a very important issue in Azory’s case. This is a very well known and distinctive area, but it is mostly because of being infamous. There is a dramatic difference between how the neighbourhood is perceived from the inside, and by the cities inhabitants. Surprisingly from the data collected during the LSG meeting and studying the housing property market, the value of apartments is relatively high, and there are no problems with selling or renting an apartment.

Comfort

The comfort issue in public space should be self-understandable. In Azory case, public space users got accustomed to the poverty image of the neighborhood – and their expectations diminished. It is essential to show poeple that a good quality of public space is important to create good living conditions.

Meetings

The place to post about our next or past meetings! Organizational matters as well as background questions will find their place here.