BEGIN Partners convene in Hamburg to devise narratives and engage stakeholders in BGI projects

18 April 2018 - Published by Ellen Kelder

BEGIN partners will meet this month in Hamburg (25 – 26 April) to progress City2City learning and leverage community engagement for BGI in communities. Participants include members from BEGIN’s 10 participating cities and 6 social innovation and BGI scientific partners.

Supplementary to the partner meeting, scientific partners Erasmus University Rotterdam and Royal College of Art will host a one-day workshop for BEGIN city partners interested in learning more about co-creation. Co-creation means successful community consultation, which is key to achieving long-term buy-in of BGI. Consultation with community can mean, for instance, that community members develop a sense of ownership with a local BGI project (such as a renovated park with nature-based solutions to drainage for heavy rains), and assist with maintenance of the scheme, enhance communication with council members, and encourage ‘champions’ for the project within the community.

This workshop will present a case study with a BGI intervention and have participants act as members of the public in a mock consultation, as to demonstrate the opportunities and limitations of consultation. Each city will then map their stakeholders and assess their readiness to co-maintain and co-own their BEGIN project with the public.

During the partner meeting, cities will reflect on their lessons learned so far through the City2City learning program and discuss the next steps for meeting again. An important aspect of this discussion will be for cities to reflect on which specific lessons acquired from their City2City learning group they were able to bring back to their council and make an impact on their work. For instance, in a recent City2City learning session with Ghent, Antwerp, Bradford, and Dordrecht, Ghent shared the concept of a temporary project that they’ve been able to implement in their city called ‘Living Streets.’

Every summer for multiple months, they close down certain streets in Ghent to bring together local residents around food, music, green spaces, and cultural activities. City partner Bradford reflected on this project with their vision in Bradford. In Bradford, they use temporary summer festivals as a way to engage with citizens that are typically inaccessible – and therefore enhance multi-stakeholder engagement. Swapping experiences such as these are characteristic to transnational City2City learning – all under the objective applying what works in one context to a cross-border one.

Social innovation partner will Royal College of Art will put on two workshops in Hamburg. The first concerns Hamburg’s BEGIN pilot which focuses on identifying varied public perspectives and how to leverage these in developing stories to pitch to the public. The second will be concerning BEGIN city partner ‘narratives’ or ‘stories’ to their projects, by looking at creative ways to start conversations with the public. The partner meeting will finish with a tour of the world-renowned HafenCity – famous for its urban regeneration, coastal flood protection, and UNESCO World Heritage Site within it – Speicherstadt.  

The partner meeting will take place over the course of two days at the Baucontainer Landungsbrücken and the GLS in Hamburg. We are looking forward to seeing all the progress BEGIN partners have made and learning about how to engage key stakeholders in BGI projects across the NSR.