/Making cities in the age of uncertainty
The way we regenerate cities must be rethought deeply. We sadly know the paradox of urban regeneration: this is often evident in our cityscapes and the multiple scars witnessed by unfinished neighbourhoods, brand-new buildings standing empty, soulless districts and dynamics of displacement often labelled as ‘gentrification’. Yet, at the time of multiple crises and great uncertainties, the paradox of urban regeneration risks becoming the more tangible evidence of structural failures in our ways to plan and make cities for the future.
We need new urban regeneration models and tools to keep pace with complexity, rapid change, and emerging needs in our neighbourhoods and communities. Urban regeneration is not only about cities’ hardware - buildings and infrastructure. Now more than ever, urban regeneration is a fundamental reboot of the urban software - the social, economic and cultural fabric that makes cities thrive, persist and mitigate against present and future shared risks.
Prototyping participatory urban futures
Temporary or meanwhile spaces are on the rise across Europe. Vacant buildings, plots and unused spaces are more and more used as temporary sites for co-creative experimentation, unlocking a multitude of innovative cultural, social and entrepreneurial activities. Often, these initiatives are key to build shared public value and rewire the social, cultural and economic fabrics of the areas under regeneration. In many cases, they are well positioned to become permanent fixtures of the local landscape, acting as prototypes for future.
We call these temporary initiatives ‘meanwhile spaces’.
T-Factor’s mission is to boost radical new approaches to urban regeneration, focussing on the key role that meanwhile spaces can play in unleashing inclusive, sustainable and thriving urban areas. We argue that the time factor in urban regeneration can become a strategic asset when it is used as a means of collective place prototyping and learning in light of stable uses and functions. It’s a win-win situation for all stakeholders - governments, developers, academia, business, grassroots communities and citizens.
In the project, we work across different regeneration initiatives in Europe and beyond, developing an international platform of meanwhile city-making support, mentoring and knowledge exchange. Leveraging international collaboration, we aim to build a full portfolio of tested innovations embracing design, organisation, management, governance, funding and regulatory aspects of meanwhile spaces.
In T-Factor, we work across both early stage and advanced regeneration initiatives in Europe and beyond:
• 6 early stage initiatives - T-Factor’s pilots - host the design and development of place-based programmes of meanwhile city-making, harnessing culture and creative collaboration to create urban hubs of innovation, inclusion and entrepreneurship.
• 8 frontrunner initiatives - T-Factor Advance Cases - work as our primary source of inspiration and learning, feeding international knowledge and practice exchange.
6 local pilots
6 early stage regeneration sites in 6 European cities (T-Factor’s Pilots), committed to create innovative cultural and creative urban hubs.
8 advanced cases
8 advanced cases of regeneration across Europe and beyond providing knowledge, expertise and learnings about meanwhile strategies and approaches.
Between EU and extra-EU countries.
Billion investment in the pilot sites.
Stakeholders engaged at pilot sites.
25 partners spanning cities, universities, businesses and grassroot organizations developing a global community of practice for meanwhile spaces in urban regeneration.