Future DiverCities – ecological strategies in urban cultural regeneration

Future DiverCities, a new project funded by the European Commission’s Creative Europe programme, in which LAMA is a partner, has recently started.

Future Divercities aims to involve organisations from the arts and cultural sector in imagining culturally-based regeneration processes of urban voids.

13 European partners, led by La Friche La Belle de Mai in Marseille, will work simultaneously for four years in the cities of Berlin, Zagreb, Split, Kuopio, Marseille and Florence, as well as in three European capitals of culture: Timişoara, Elefsina (2023) and Liepaja (2027) in rethinking urban spaces through artistic and cultural interventions, adopting an ecological perspective: nature, citizens, urban structures and infrastructures as part of a single system capable of promoting the environmental sustainability of cities. Future DiverCities focuses on the methods and language of art: through artistic production, the aim is to raise awareness, engage citizens, associations, and the public sector in rethinking disused spaces, so that they can be rehabilitated and recognized as valuable resources.

Why Future DiverCities?

Future DiverCities comes from the need to rethink cultural-based regeneration paths starting from the existing and ‘forgotten’ spaces of cities and peri-urban areas. The intent is to create generative fractures of culture and art production that unhinge urban space with the intention of looking at urban voids in a new way, as spaces that can offer opportunities for citizen participation and inclusion, stemming the processes of gentrification, becoming places where artistic experimentation stimulates urban experimentation, that is, the way we use and think about cities.

The project will address key issues and challenges of contemporary cities: the management of common goods and public spaces, the promotion of biodiversity and a renewed relationship between people and nature in urban contexts, the reuse of urban voids based on an inclusive and participatory approach, catalysed by the possibilities offered by cultural and artistic interventions.

What do we propose?

The project experimented with new types of cultural interventions in the 8 pilot cities with the aim of promoting the ecological value of empty urban spaces, going beyond raising awareness and activating participation and appropriation dynamics by citizens. The project will bring together local coalitions of citizens, artists, local authorities, local inhabitants and potential users of the spaces affected by the project interventions.

The project is also an opportunity to activate a space for self-reflection on the role of art in urban regeneration. The projects developed locally will in fact be test-beds for action-research paths aimed at developing methods to qualify the social and ecological impact of creative and cultural interventions in urban space, systematising strategies, tools and approaches adopted in the 8 cities involved.

Project participants and promoters themselves will be affected by some of the changes brought about by the project: not just the 13 partner organisations, but the local networks that collaborate with them to conceptualize and experiment with cultural production as well: the organizations will take part in a training course on issues such as urban ecology, commons, and the impermanence of urban spaces and functions.

What does LAMA do?

LAMA has a double role in the project: facilitating the exchange among the eight cities of methods and instruments of collective intelligence – which make it possible to develop a common approach among such different contexts – and directly developing an intervention in Florence, with the intention of working on green areas and spaces, planning opportunities for the use and re-appropriation of these places by the citizenship, making possible activities of involvement and activation of spaces through the language of contemporary art.

More about the partnership

The partners involved are: La Friche as leader and Seconde Nature from Marseille (FR), ANTI Festival from Kuopio (FI), KONTEJNER from Zagreb and Split (HR), LAMA Impresa Sociale from Florence (IT), Public Art Lab from Berlin (DE), BIOS and European Creative Hubs Network-ECHN from Athens (GR), the “Culture Department” of the Municipality of Liepaja (LV) and PLAI from Timişoara (RO). The project also benefits from the experience of INNOCAMP PL from Poland (Ashoka network), LAMA Impresa Sociale, Savonia University from Finland and Trajna from Slovenia (Krater project).

Next steps

It’s possible to follow the development of the project on the dedicated website. During the first year (2023) La Friche will develop a mapping tool and protocol for the territories, taking into account not only the actors to be involved, but also the spaces affected by the artistic processes to be developed within the project. In 2023, numerous meetings and discussions will take place with users and inhabitants on the creative potential and possibilities of the spaces concerned. For updates on our next actions, it’s possible to follow Future DiverCities on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Vimeo.

Related Post