Overcoming Silos in Urban Regeneration Projects: Holistic Neighbourhood Design
This scenario has been developed on the basis of a real world case.
Imagine a city consisting of ecologically sustainable urban neighbourhoods that are inclusive for its residents and resilient against climate change.
How can we create these neighbourhoods?
Creating truly sustainable, holistic neighbourhoods is often hindered by compartmentalized administrations and specialized, inconsistent policies. ‘Breaking down silos’ could mean, for example, that different departments of a municipality work together and with different local stakeholders for comprehensive sustainability projects and taking a variety of issues (e.g biodiversity, health, inclusivity, climate) into consideration at once (Q12). Additional change is needed in how specific topics are addressed: reducing the energy consumption in a neighbourhood might not just call for the technical improvement of buildings, but may also involve dedicated campaigns for changing energy related behaviour of residents (Q2).
What are some key aspects for this to work?
When pushing sustainable district and neighbourhood developments in your own city, being truly enthusiastic about the projects can be hugely important to get others on board. Individual project champions can play a very important role here (Q13). An area that has a bad reputation, where there is an already an urge for something to be done might be a good area to start a sustainable neighbourhood campaign (Q13). This can apply to neighbourhoods with diverse issues, such as high rates of unemployment, low involvement in politics, or even something as specific as susceptibility to flooding (Q17 & Q25). A typical story of such a sustainable neighbourhood campaign could start with the municipality as an initiator (Q10). If this is to be an integrated effort, however, the municipality would have to involve different local stakeholders, e.g the municipal housing company, local schools, and most importantly local residents (Q12).
And then, everything is fine?
Developments that try to tackle issues in single sectors (like, mobility or energy) will most likely take a long time to be implemented and could lead to a decline in public interest over the course of the project (Q24). Shifting responsibilities and making residents more responsible over the duration of the project might help with such issues (Q25). If projects aim to address different justice related issues, especially procedural justice, it would be crucial to carefully design participation processes. Such projects should engage residents and incorporate their needs and wishes (Q24 & Q25).
Where do we go from here?
A sustainable neighbourhood will only exist if residents feel they are integral parts of it. Trying to push best practices onto the neighbourhood will most likely not work if residents do not understand why these developments are necessary or if they are opposed to proposed ideas (Q31). Still, organizing workshops that convey experiences from other areas might spark ideas for your own neighbourhood (Q26). As a municipality, taking up a perspective that provides guidance in what could be done to improve situations might sometimes be more feasible than telling residents what has to be done (Q34). Embracing such an open perspective as well as overcoming compartmentalized policies might be key in creating sustainable and resilient neighbourhoods.
How could this reality be created in your city? What obstacles would have to be overcome?
Do you want to learn more about this scenario?
Take a look at the detailed description of Holistic neighbourhood development Augustenborg that has inspired this scenario. This project focuses on the work of Ekostaden Augustenborg, a holistic neighbourhood development programme including various social, ecological, and economical interventions in the Augustenborg district in Malmö, Sweden.
This scenario relates to some enabling governance arrangements:
- Make space for adaptation and experimentation: An experimental approach was crucial for this intervention to flourish; not being too uptight and learning from mistakes. This allowed for a lot of adaptivity in the project.
This scenario fits under the approaches:
It addresses some drivers of injustice:
- Material and livelihood inequalities.
- Uneven environmental health and pollution patterns.
- Weak(ened) civil society
What do you think about this scenario? Was it helpful to you? Do you find our approach problematic? Send us an email to Philipp Spaeth.