A participatory urban development approach

UrbanSpaces fosters the development of vibrant neighborhoods, districts, and cities. It consists of a framework, a set of canvases, and a workshop approach. Inspiring residents, entrepreneurs, and organisations to collaborate on their future.



Why UrbanSpaces?

Developing a district or neighborhood is a challenging task. It appears that a community can only be successfully developed by involving residents, organisations, and entrepreneurs together at the same time. The difference will be made through using an effective approach. UrbanSpaces provides such an approach.



What is UrbanSpaces?

UrbanSpaces consists of a framework, canvases and a workshop format. A set of tools for shaping fruitful neighborhood conversations. Sharing different points of view results in a communal understanding of the current situation of a neighborhood. Which serves as a foundation for identifying interventions or providing in-depth insight into the impact of a change initiative or investment.


Photography by Rik Berbé



How does UrbanSpaces work?

A meaningful conversation takes shape during a two-hour interactive session with residents, housing corporations, municipalities, investors, and other neighborhood stakeholders. The neighborhood is physically constructed on the canvases during the session. Every essential element in the neighborhood has a place. 

Each element's level of development is reviewed with one another. Interventions are defined and insights are shared. It is also possible to see the impact of a potential change project or investment. It is serious play in which the dialogue is initiated and facilitated professionally.

Are you thinking about introducing UrbanSpaces in your city or neighborhood? Please contact me if you require any other information.


What are the results?

The results of as session are clearly summarised to guide the neighborhood's future development. Insights are easier to communicate than traditional urban plans. Quickly, too, because all participants were present. Results are:

  • A shared understanding of a neighborhood's current situation based on 16 essential elements.
  • Based on the scores for each element, the session provides insight into the neighborhood's strengths and weaknesses.
  • A top five list of interventions for neighborhood development and co-creation.
  • Because all participants are present at a session, there is effective communication and support.
  • Optional: a shared understanding of the impact of a proposed change and/or investment in a neighborhood (houses, schools, mobility, nature, etc).

About UrbanSpaces

UrbanSpaces is a collaborative effort between UrbanSpaces and the Municipality of Nijmegen in the Netherlands. This approach is built upon extensive research on participatory urban development. Through field testing, we have successfully implemented the approach, leading to the initiation of several impactful initiatives.

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