architecture : strategy and design

141013 / the origin of spaces - KICK-OFF MEETING!

The Origin of Spaces - Kick-Off Meeting
15, 16, 17 October, Darwin-Ecosystem Bordeaux.

The entrepreneurial association 'Les Darwiniens' in Bordeaux, in collaboration with Dunja Vokuvic and Capture Arts in London, and 4 multidisciplinary clusters in Europe, have been granted a european Erasmus+ fund of 450K euros for a three year action-research. The partners are the borough of Lewisham in London with Capture Arts consultants, the LX Factory in Lisbon, The Zawp Project in Bilbao and the community center ROJC in Pula.
I am glad for having had the chance to add my bit in writing the research proposal, and very gratified to see it take off. The project is :


The goal of this project is to exchange and share the knowledge and competencies of these five 'thirdplaces' (ref. Ray Oldenburg, "The Great Good Place", 1989, cs.) so as to elaborate a toolbox for the creation and development of multidisciplinary 'thirdplaces' that can generate economical, ecological, social and cultural values : How do we create these spaces where innovation and incubation emerge as an answer to a world in transition?.

The five themes we will be working on are : - the organisation of multidiciplinary coworking, - the application of principles of ecological transition, - implementing a participatory governance of owners, users and stakeholders, - incubating social entrepreneurship, - fostering public-private partnerships for the development of 'thirdplaces'.

A brief introduction of the work at hand :

Antonio Machado - Campos de Castilla - 1912
"... Caminante, son tus huellas el camino, y nada más; caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar. Al andar se hace camino, y al volver la vista atrás se ve la senda que nunca se ha de volver a pisar. ...?

It is dawning on many of us that the current pace and direction of society is difficult to keep up for very long. When in the post-world-war period the pursuit of (individual) achievement seemed the key force of collective development, now the nature of the achievement is very much at the heart of our concerns. Sharing and respecting the environment, be it social, capital or natural, must now regain a central position in community management. Simultaneously the means available for this common task are more and more distributed. More than ever must one ask what one can do for the community, rather than what the community can do for us.

If this project can establish the relevance of the multidisciplinary approach to global sustainability, it will be succesful. All participants, and all of their partners, will be dealing with our subject hands on. This means, once again, to break out of conventional silos so that professionals with different expertise can share insights and work side by side for the common goal.

Once the individual participants of the project recognise the shared motivation, the matter can be improved, embodied and disseminated - through the work in progress and the distribution of the results. Everyone will have the occasion to relay the subject in new links with organisations and city councils on local level, bringing together the actors within a common framework. The nature of 'change management' will need the implication of key stake-holders on a regional level. Developping and distributing tested contents will convince captains of governance and industry to support the agents of the new models. The rich and diverse context of european culture will be a favourable background for innovating community-management with the resilience of a hybrid multi-faceted approach. When we come out with a 'best-practice'-based toolbox, developed on field work, we will be ready to share the expertise, and promote this complementary and crucial frame of innovation.