Urban design is founded on the mantra of “designing cities for people”. At Arki-lab, we want to take this a step further. We design cities with people. One of the main goals of the founding architects, Jeanette and Rasmus Frisk, is to develop cities with a sustainable approach, not only physically but also socially.
One of our most crucial tasks is to identify the scope and scale of an involvement process; who needs to be involved and what tools should we use to empower citizens in the best way possible – even those who can be harder to reach.
Over the past year, we have been working in a small town in Zealand to make public spaces more attractive and vibrant – especially to young people. The young people were given the task of creating a number of temporary installations around the city. The studies sparked discussions and drew attention to existing conflicts relating to the segregation between different user groups in the city. Hence, the process was designed to create a common language about the future developments. Based on the same mindset, in an Australian project, we gathered together young and older participants around the interactive board game, arki-nopoly, in order to create a better foundation for planning an intergenerational residential area.
It is our experience that alternative engagement tools and feedback mechanisms help create the common language, ensuring that we can translate the collected local knowledge accurately into the design process. This is essential because collaboration not only results in a better, more inclusive city design, but also contributes to a culture of democratic participation and strengthens social cohesion.