How we approach an urban transformation challenge strongly depends on how the ownership in the area is distributed. If you own the land and real estate yourself or perhaps with three or four big parties, you can set up a relatively comprehensible consortium and process to work towards your future vision.
However, today we see a lot of urban areas in need of transformation that have a very complex and dispersed ownership situation. Just think about the large monofunctional office districts scattered around our cities worldwide. In areas like these, we’re easily talking about fifty to a hundred different owners, in all sizes and shapes. There are so many different actors, perspectives and interests we have to not only deal with passively but engage actively in order to achieve any tangible results. In these areas there is a lot less control over the exact outcomes and timelines of the urban transformation.
You can only achieve sustainable goals here, if you profoundly acknowledge the urban complexity and unpredictability and manage to embed that in the core of your processes and your team, structurally working with your environment and being sensitive and responsive to what is happening around you.
This is what we call collaborative urban development – and this is what Transformcity developed a unique methodology for. Our methodology is very lean and takes the complex and unpredictable urban situation as a starting point and builds on that incrementally, while engaging more and more different stakeholders as collaboration partners. In a way you work in constant loops of observing and analysing, then envisioning and back-casting and then actively designing, prototyping, engaging, testing and adjusting based on real practical results and feedback. With every loop, you can increase the scale and impact and progress towards your big goals.
Meanwhile you communicate your progress with the local community and the outside world and grow an increasingly strong collective and fan base with a shared sense of ownership – and the combined decision-making, execution and investment power needed to keep the area attractive, liveable and sustainable also in the future.