Pakhuis de Zwijger’s project New Europe – Cities in Transition was funded with the support of the European Union under the Programme “Europe for Citizens“, measure 2.2: “Network of Towns”.
A total of 5 activities were carried out as part of New Europe – Cities in Transition under the Europe for Citizens programme.
- The Metropolitan Field Trip Lisbon that took place in Lisbon, Portugal on 12-15 March, 2015
- The Metropolitan Field Trip London that took place in London, United Kingdom on 11-14 June, 2015
- The Metropolitan Field Trip Berlin that ook place in Berlin, Germany on 8-11 October, 2015
- The City Makers Summit that took place in Amsterdam, The Netherlands on 27-30 May, 2016
- The Metropolitan Field Trip Bucharest that took place in Bucharest, Romania on 6-9 June, 2016
All the activities that were realised with funding of the Europe for Citizens programme are listed and described below. In addition, Pakhuis de Zwijger was able to expand the network and its activities by connecting all 28 capital cities, and organize 6 more Metropolitan Field Trips and two City Maker Pre-summits on 25 June, 2015 and on 4 and 5 February, 2016. Furthermore, Pakhuis de Zwijger organised the New Europe City Makers Summit with participants from 150 European cities instead of just the 5 cities of the partners within the Europe for Citizens collaboration.
New Europe – Cities in Transition
The New Europe – Cities in Transition network and online platform www.citiesintransition.eu has grown into a Europe wide network, connecting the 28 capital cities of the European Union, through partner organisations / local platforms that hold the title City Embassy and connect City Makers in their cities and internationally. With the help of the Europe for Citizens grant we have managed to develop activities that frequently bring together partner organizations from the cities Berlin, Bucharest, London, Lisbon and Amsterdam. This frequency and recurrence of the activities allowed for the development of a sustainable base for the New Europe – Cities in Transition network.
We have not only achieved our initial plans, but have grown beyond our own expectations. Without the help of the Europe for Citizens grant we would not have been able to plant the seeds for a sustainable and ever expanding European network, with which we are working on the continuation of the platform and many future activities.
Metropolitan Field Trip Lisbon, 12-15 March, 2015
- 2 participants from the city of Bucharest, Romania
- 2 participants from the city of London, United Kingdom
- 2 participants from the city of Berlin, Germany
- 3 participants from the city of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- 1 participant from the city of The Hague, The Netherlands
- 1 participant from the city of Utrecht, The Netherlands
- 1 participant from the city of Rotterdam, The Netherlands
- an extra 42 invited participants joined the conference together with more than 150 local partners, organisers, City Makers and other involved persons from the city of Lisbon, Portugal
Community building as a form of resilience
The economic crisis has brought, especially in recent years, serious difficulties for the Portuguese society. Basic needs such as food, housing, health or education are being jeopardised, and people do not have any other choice than to rely on each other, and organize themselves. This has given rise to communitarian initiatives, whose main objectives are to address the existing social gaps. Whereas the city may face high unemployment rates, disproportionate costs for livelihood and the consequential increasing wariness towards local politics, a vital community of active citizens is trying to make a change.
Local partner Academia Cidadã (The Citizenship Academy) believes that where politics are sometimes difficult to change, much can be done to empower citizens to take matters into their own hands. Their main goal is to boost active citizenship and promote growth and development with principles of social, economic and environmental sustainability.
With a broad perspective on transition and social innovation in urban development we studied Lisbon as a city and a metropolis. We met local City Makers, professional peers, residents, entrepreneurs, to study the small-scale, often informal urban interventions. During a four-day programme full of on-site visits to inspiring initiatives and community organisations, industrial heritage sites and co-working spaces, cultural events and a conference for Lisbon City Makers, we aimed: to understand how building and organising community improves the conditions of everyone’s lives to learn and analyze innovative tools for building and organizing community. What is the meaning of active citizenship and community participation in addressing poverty and exclusion? How do citizens’ initiatives enhance solidarity among people, give them a voice, empower them, and therefore make them more resilient? These and many more questions were addressed during the Metropolitan Field Trip to Lisbon!
Metropolitan Field Trip London, 11-14 June, 2015
- 2 participants from Bucharest, Romania
- 3 participants from Lisbon, Portugal
- 2 participants from Berlin, Germany
- 3 participants from Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- 1 participant from Wageningen, The Netherlands
- 1 participant from Brussels, Belgium
- an extra 38 invited participants joined the conference together with more than 130 local partners, organisers, City Makers and other involved persons from London
Highlighting the economic potential of community-led enterprises and the limits of a city in transition
Together with Locality, the London based national network of ambitious and enterprising community-led organisations working together to help neighbourhoods thrive, we studied the transition of this European financial capital. The London Metropolitan Field Trip aimed to demonstrate the limits of a city in transition. Where tensions of ensuring a well-functioning and affordable city are felt on a daily basis and the public, private and voluntary sector all play a role. The role of the voluntary sector has become more substantial over the last years, but is actually rooted in a long tradition of community-led and owned enterprises in London and beyond. This renewed focus on the responsibility and potential for the voluntary sector is flanked by government attempts to facilitate the movement and alternative structures to traditional economic structures.
Urban transition in London is characterized by community-owned and led enterprises whose main objective is to improve the social, economic and environmental conditions in their community and are very successful in doing so. Alongside this movement you will find alternative structures that harness the collective power of the public to either go beyond the monetary economy or traditional funders. One of the government acts that England is perhaps most known for in Europe is the 2011 Localism Act, promoting community asset ownership, community managed local services, community-led development and neighbourhood planning.
With a broad perspective on transition and social innovation in urban development we studied London as a city and a metropolis. We met with local City Makers, professional peers, residents, entrepreneurs, and study the small-scale, often informal urban interventions.
Metropolitan Field Trip Berlin, 8-11 October, 2015
- 2 participants from Bucharest, Romania
- 2 participants from Lisbon, Portugal
- 2 participants from London, United Kingdom
- 1 participant from Newcastle, United Kingdom
- 1 participant from Southampton, United Kingdom
- 8 participants from Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- 2 participants from Tilburg, The Netherlands
- 1 participant from Zaanstad, The Netherlands
- 2 participants from Maastricht, The Netherlands
- 1 participant from Zwolle, The Netherlands
- 1 participant from New York City, United States of America
- an extra 59 invited participants joined the conference together with more than 150 local partners, organisers, City Makers and other involved persons from Berlin
An in-depth insight in the cooperative models of urban development in Europe’s creative capital
Local partner Mörchenpark e.V. aimed to demonstrate that Berlin’s turn of the century bankruptcy spurred a rise in local civic initiatives unlike any other European city. This outburst of creativity quickly granted Berlin with the sounding label of the Creative Capital of Europe. However, soon this delivered the desired effect of returning investment and a thriving tourism industry, with hipsters flocking the notorious club scene. In popular gentrifying districts such as Kreuzberg and Neukölln housing prices are on the rise, with the risk of displacing the artists and immigrant communities that contributed to its attractiveness in the first place. In the midst of the real estate boom that Berlin faces today, creative entrepreneurs are implementing cooperative models of urban development. They generate turnovers that allow them to compete with the big guys, but strive to build a radically different city, that is more inclusive, sustainable and creative. Holzmarkt, the 18.000 m2 urban village on the Spree waterfront, is perhaps one of the best examples of the cooperative area development that is taking place in Berlin. Mörchenpark e.V. , one of the founders of Holzmarkt, hosted the participants of the four-day Metropolitan Field Trip to show us around to meet Berlin’s City Makers, the creative entrepreneurs as well as policy makers.
With a broad perspective on transition and social innovation in urban development we will study Berlin as a city and a metropolis. We met with local City Makers, professional peers, residents, entrepreneurs, and studied the small-scale, often informal urban interventions. The field trip organizers hosted the City Makers ‘Players of Change’ Conference on 10 October as part of the programme, with keynotes, panel discussions and workshops. It served as a platform for unusual urban projects from Berlin who discussed their ideas, plans and obstacles in several pitch camps with experts, city officials as well as creatives to get inspiration and build networks.
Metropolitan Field Trip Bucharest, 6-9 June, 2016
The full programme of the Metropolitan Field Trip Lisbon are available on citiesintranstion.eu. The field trip involved around 200 citizens, including:
- 4 participants from Bucharest, Romania
- 2 participants from Lisbon, Portugal
- 1 participant from London, United Kingdom
- 1 participant from Bristol, United Kingdom
- 9 participants from Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- 2 participants from The Hague, The Netherlands
- 2 participants from Berlin, Germany
- 1 participant from Antwerp, Belgium
- 1 participant from Calgary, Canada
- 1 participant from Milan, Italy
- an extra 20 invited participants joined the conference together with more than 160 local partners, organisers, City Makers and other involved persons from Bucharest and the Embassy of the Netherlands
Transition and oasis in the South
Local partners Zeppelin and Eurodite aimed to give an insight into the local consequences of the dramatically changed political landscape in Bucharest. The national elections in November 2014 led to mass protests that led to the resignation of the Prime Minister of Romania, Victor Ponta. Not only Bucharest’s political landscape is changing, reflected in many people beginning to take responsibility and action for a better city. The number of urban interventions and events that take place throughout the city become more visible every year. During the Metropolitan Field Trip Bucharest we explored the developments that take place in the southern part of the city: new initiatives, cultural and social businesses, transformed industrial spaces and protected species in a green delta on an abandoned and forgotten land. ‘Bucharest South’ traditionally has a more negative image than the prosperous and better developed northern part of the city. On the field trip we visited some of these urban initiatives that create value for the neighbourhood. We were introduced to initiatives that reveal that the south side of the city is being discovered and explored by creative minds and young entrepreneurs. With a broad perspective on transition and social innovation in urban development we studied Bucharest as a city and a metropolis. We met with local City Makers, professional peers, residents, entrepreneurs, and study the small-scale, often informal urban interventions. As part of the programme, local partners Zeppelin and Eurodite organized a networking event for the Creative industries and a permormance of In Search of Europe, by Lucas de Man.
New Europe City Makers Summit in Amsterdam, 27-30 May, 2016
The City Makers Summit involved 600 citizens from 150 cities in the Netherlands, Europe and beyond, including:
- 4 participants from Berlin, Germany supported by the Europe for Citizens programme
- 3 participants from Bucharest, Romania supported by the Europe for Citizens programme
- 2 participants from Lisbon, Portugal supported by the Europe for Citizens programme
- 2 participants from London, United Kingdom supported by the Europe for Citizens programme
- an additional 30 invited City Makers from all 28 EU member states, representing their capital city in our New Europe – Cities in Transition Network
- an additional 492 registered participants from EU member states, whereof 199 send by the eligible partners
- an additional 71 registered participants from non-EU member states, Asia, South-America and North America
The full programme and reports of the City Makers Summit are available on citiesintranstion.eu. and dezwijger.nl and a full list of participants is included in our report “Who attended the City Makers Summit?“. Additionally, City Makers from Zwolle, Rotterdam, Eindhoven, Utrecht, Lelystad, Zaanstad, Den Haag, Maastricht and Amsterdam in the Netherlands hosted the participants as they explored the City Makers movement throughout the country.
We Meet. We Connect. We Learn. We Act.
City Makers united for four days full of inspiration, unlocking know-how and setting agendas on May 27-30. The City Makers Summit pooled the knowledge from more than 600 City Makers from a 150 cities of all EU member states (and beyond), and demonstrated innovative ways of creating more liveable, thriving, resilient and inclusive cities.
City Expeditions in 8 cities the Netherlands showcased emerging initiatives focusing on urban farming, social design, the redevelopment of industrial heritage, co-housing, the makers movement, social entrepreneurship, inclusion of refugees, collaborative area development, community enterprises, the circular economy, and so on. Best practices and models of collaboration with multiple stakeholders were explored and fed into the City Makers Agenda.
While the EU member states concluded upon the Urban Agenda for the EU with the Pact of Amsterdam, City Makers payed their contribution, shared inspiration and know-how, presented their input and work towards further co-creation to the ministers on May 30, enhancing the (Im)pact of Amsterdam. The Dutch Presidency of the EU, the first half of 2016, brought representatives of all thinkable governments, institutions and companies from across Europe to The Netherlands and particularly to Amsterdam. Meetings were scattered throughout the city, but especially the Maritime Museum and the new Europe-building on the old Navy grounds were places of encounter. To give the bottom-up urban innovators, the City Maker, a voice in this story there was the New Europe City Makers Summit (27-30 May).
After the Pre-Summit (4 and 5 February), the Summit was the most important moment of meeting for City Makers from all over Europe. 600 of them came from 150 cities to Amsterdam for these four days. Each of the four days had its own theme. Day 1 was all about meeting up again, day 2 to get more connected. Thereafter, the focus of day three was learning from each other and the fourth and final day was all about the actions that arise from this.
Magazine + (Im)pact of Amsterdam
Throughout the project we have published several editions of New Amsterdam Magazine with a special section for New Europe – Cities in Transition to report about the project along the way: New Amsterdam #6, New Amsterdam #7 and New Amsterdam #8. In May 2016 – during the City Makers Summit – the results were published as the ‘City Makers Agenda’. This agenda was a double magazine New Amsterdam #9 / New Europe #1, which contained all the input from the City Makers throughout Europe, and was presented to the informal ministers meeting about the Urban Agenda for the EU on May 30 in Amsterdam. It was accepted as an annex to the policy document and put in the conference bag of all participants. The magazine contains the City Makers Agenda, the cumulative result of exploration and connection of European City Makers, that was presented at ministerial meeting: The (Im)pact of Amsterdam.