News from Krakow: LSG activities state of progress

Azory neighbourhood Local Support Group was officially constituted on the 15th of April as the result of activities of the first step of the roadmap describing local level actions plan. Right now we are working on the tasks connected with the second step of the roadmap which is “identifying and observing urban uses in public spaces focusing in dysfunctions, changes and conflict”. It is understandable that the Local Support Group is an open body which allows us to encourage to invite some new members in search of valuable information. Initially we got in contact with the President of the District Council who is a very supportive person in search of valuable LSG parties. USER team was present at the “Future City Game” workshop organized for the Azory citizens in order to launch social activities to improve the standards of life of the inhabitants. It was a very helpful experience. Among the main themes of the workshop assignments there were a few referring to public spaces issues that we will address in our next LSG meeting. We managed to identify people valuable and willing to take part in the USER program, who are interested in raising the Azory public space qualities.

Right now according to the 2nd step of local level roadmap we are working intensely on preparation of the LSG meeting which is going to be held on 29th of June. We are in the process of gathering LSG members, working on posters advertising LSG workshop using the opportunity to present the USER project during the “Future City Game” Workshop that took place on 5-6 of June and we are preparing the posters for the local event of Azory picnic (local fair) which is taking place this weekend – 15.06.2013. Our scope of action also covers the preparation of the presentations and workshop assignments for members of the LSG in cooperation with the (Urban Planning Bureau of the Municipality of Krakow – one of the municipal unit), Institute of Sociology, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Chair of Housing Environment, Faculty of Architecture, Cracow University of Technology.

More information about the agenda of this upcoming event and about Krakow’s LSG activities planning till 2015 here: Report Krakow_140613

News from Dresden: amazing youth involvement to help preventing floodings

Bruno send us news from Dresden City…

As you may have heard, several regions in Middle Europe are currently being hit by serious flooding. 
The Elbe river has reached its peak level in Dresden right now (6 june 2013, 10 a.m.). 

Our USER area has been spared by the flooding, apart from precautionary measures like emptying basements and ground floors.   
We recognize that tremendous flood protection provisions have been undertaken in our city since the last flooding event in 2002. 
However, several colleagues of ours have had their houses flooded in other parts  of the city. And many cities in Austria, Bavaria, Bohemia, Saxony, Silesia and other regions have suffered far more severe damages. (Additionally, we must not forget those dramatic events that have occurred in other parts of the world …) 


With respect to our USER approach, there is at least one conclusion: Young people, who usually don’t feel attracted by associations, political parties and other rather traditional forms of socialising anymore are willing to give a helping hand by tens of thousands. This has been reported repeatedly, but every new confirmation of this new tendency to helpfulness and self-organization is overwhelming. 



New from Riga LSG: Kick-off meeting on June, 7th

We are progressing well with the organization of our first core LSG meeting. Brief report on the current progress achieved:

By now our core LSG members (15 institutions) have confirmed their participation in the Project. Their delegates will be present at the meeting held this Friday the 7th of June. Our wider LSG members are still registering for the wider LSG meeting planned to be held next week…

We have prepared an information folder for our LSG members. It includes basic Project information – notes on USER approach, USER methodology, planned activities… and it also includes “portfolios” of our suggested public spaces we are planning to analyze during the meeting.

LSG_Information Folder

This info has been sent out to our core LSG members together with the request for a “homework” for every single LSG member – to come up with at least one idea about alternative public spaces within the Historic Centre of Riga which would be worth to evaluate as potential sites for a Pilot-project experimentations. Core LSG members have to come back with their proposals before the meeting – so we still have time to prepare more “portfolios” for new sites, if needed.

During the meeting we are planning to organize two brainstorms – one on quality features of the “ideal” public space and other – on potential threads or “conflicts” to the public space. Outcomes will be consolidated prior to going further with evaluation of our cases.

We are planning to have more detailed evaluation of 3-4 potential sites during the next – wider LSG meeting held on June 14th. We are planning to divide our wider LSG in groups, have one round-table for each site so people go around for moderated discussion at every round table… the method is still under development.

News from Grenoble LSG: Supporting uses on new public spaces

Pilot site “Iles-de-Mars / Olympiades district”

(City of Pont de Claix)


Urban regeneration in a social-housing neighbourhood. After a strong consultation process with inhabitants, the municipality has launched works to open a pedestrian path between 2 blocks of buildings, that were initially separated by closed sport grounds. Inhabitants of the 2 blocks were separated and therefore creating social relationship within the whole neighbourhood was difficult. Moreover, a public pavilion was installed next to the sports ground, and was exclusively appropriated by young people for sometimes illegal activities (deal).

The new public space will physically and visually open the space, create a new pedestrian path, new playgrounds, new sport ground, and will create as well urban gardens and a new pavilion.

Members of the “core” ULSG: municipality (social affairs and urban planning departments), and the 2 social landlords who own the 2 blocks of the district.


The LSG has decided to work on supporting the new uses that will be created by the new public space. This support is needed at each step of the project:

  • During the works, in order to involve people in this change occurring to their neighbourhood, to explain the expected uses of each part of the new public space, and to create a collective awareness around this major change.

  • After the works, to help people to use the new public space, to monitor those uses so as no problem of “bad” and unexpected use occurs, and to be able to make some slight changes to the public space so as it functions well.

For this purpose, a “uses support group” has been launched, with the core LSG and local NGOs, institutions, involved inhabitants. Its goal is to coordinate all the activities implemented with inhabitants on site, to make them coherent for reaching the above mentioned goals. This group shall set up and implement a strategy to support the uses in the long term.

The first activity of the group has been to organize a convivial event during the official inauguration of the works, on May, 13th. Its goal was to make it a red-letter day in the life of the neighbourhood. This event gathered inhabitants of the 2 blocks, NGOs, local politicians.

Plan IDM

Pilot site “Renaudie District”

(City of Saint Martin d’Hères)


Renaudie neighbourhood has a very complex architectural shape, that nowadays is the source of important dysfunctions. Indeed it’s a quite isolated district, with a lot of superimposed covered paths, hidden patios, private gardens or patios badly separated from the public spaces… The population is mostly disadvantaged and there is a lot of security issues (deal, car fires, feeling of insecurity…).

After a strong consultation with inhabitants, the municipality has launched a wide study to identify the uses and the main problems of this district, to get an idea of the priority interventions to be done. At the same time, works will soon been launched on a square with no or bad uses. The works will consist in better separating the private patios and the public space, to improve the readability of the site, in order to make it more attractive for re-boosting the shops around, and to reduce the feeling of insecurity.

The members of the core ULSG are the municipality and the social landlords (who own the main part of Renaudie’s housings).


Like in the other pilot site, the LSG will work on how to support the new uses created by the new layout of the square.

It will also work on the topic of ownership. Indeed in Renaudie the limit between public or private ownership is not clear on the public space, at it has consequences on its uses. For instance the private patios, being badly separated from the public space, are used to throw up garbage and no inhabitant rest on them. Or, some private squares are used by all inhabitants. Or again, the teams in charge of waste collection on public spaces are forced to pick them up on private spaces as well, as the limits are not clear between those spaces.


Urban area LSG

Experience-sharing and dissemination


The core ULSG is constituted of 6 persons, mostly the one involved in the 2 above mentioned projects and Grenoble Alpes Métropole.

At the urban area scale, an experience-sharing network on social and urban policies is animated by a public organization, “Centre de ressource GUSP”.

The core ULSG will feed the activities of this structure on USER topic by:

  • giving ideas of working sessions, of small projects in relation with USER topic,

  • disseminating the activities of the 2 pilot sites during the working sessions

  • disseminating experiences of the transnational meetings during the working sessions.

The first of these working sessions will be held at the end of September, on the topic “how to watch the new uses occurring on a newly created public space?”

During this session, a team of Grenoble Municipality will present its experience on monitoring the uses created by a new layout of a space between housing blocks. The 2 USER sites will also describe their activities on this topic, and some other sites (to be identified) will also share their experiences. A researcher (maybe a sociologist) will give the audience an academical background on the issue as well.

The targeted audience is wide: municipalities (and all the different departments involved in urban policy topic inside), social landlords, inhabitants associations, other NGOs…

The aim of such a working session is to create a common knowledge between the professionals involved on public spaces within the agglomeration.

Another idea shall be worked on during the project. It is to build collectively a self-assessment tool to monitor the uses on a newly created public space. It could help cities to take a step back after a creation or a rearrangement of a public space, in order to identify the dysfunction and design corrective actions if needed.

News from Lublin ULSG! Students dream their new public spaces…

Some new about the main ULSG activities lead by Lublin until the beginning of May…

Up to the 6th of May research were provided by Marie Curie University in connection to users of one of the squares (Kochanowski Square).

The results shows that users (e.g. workers of library, children and pupils and their parents of school and kindergarden, students of psychology and pedagogics and others): have concerns about the usefulness of the square (eg, no benches, lack of greenery and flowers) but in the other hand they don’t imagine bigger changes of the square. A lot of students want to open the door of university on the square side.
Students of Catholic University (spatial planning) are preparing some ephemeral activity.

At Rybny Square they want to seed sunflowers in “abandoned greenery flowerbed”– see the picture below.

Lublin_Rybny flowerbed
During that day student will engage users to seed sunflowers (to make they will care of the flowers) and children also giving them crayons and paper to draw pictures.

At Wolnosci Square they wanted to paint colored squares (meter/meter) to show that one square is divided by road onto two pieces but it still remain one square in itself.

Lublin_Wolnosci Square

At Kochanowski Square they want to put pillows to sit on grass and close to Kochanowski monument, and give people apples with printed green leaves with the epigrams of Kochanowski (like eg. “Guest, sit under my leaves, and rest yourself! There will be no sun you here, I promise you, Although there are any apples, but you will fill there As the most productive strain in Hesperyski orchard.)

Lublin_Kochanowski S
At this photo you can also see the close door of Marie Curie University. The proposed change is to open that door for student who could rest on this square (not only on Saturday 25 of May but everyday)

At Fara Square they want to seed real grass like onto this picture, to show that there were a church here before and where was the main nave and baptistery.

Lublin_Fara S
All ephemeral form answered on users needs (lack of greenery, benches, “friendless”  etc).

During that day we want to observe USER and answer questions and issues from the “road map”.
The answers will be made by students (who carry on the ephemeral activities) and by LSG members (the next meeting will be the “study visit” to observe the squares when its ephemeral improved and compare with the observation from the others “normal” days).

The other added value is that the district council of Old Town has got money for new benches at Rybny Square, and the students who investigate users before helping the local councillors to choose location and projects of these sits.


This category is dedicated to information about your ULSG activities and LAP elaboration. You may find information you can use at local level, but you can as well take the initiative to share with partners the progress of your ULSG’s works!