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SAMKUL-Samfunnsutviklingens kulturell

Futurum: A network for neighbourhood transformation

Awarded: NOK 0.27 mill.

Futurum?s aim is to develop a network for and with those dealing on a day-to-day basis with sustainable neighbourhood transformations. Providing a meeting place for citizens, planning authorities and scholars working with sustainable transitions in the built environment. Encouraging knowledge to be produced in the context of its application. Futurum takes zero emission neighbourhood visions for sustainable urban development as the starting point for work with participatory methods. The intention is to combine reflection over the role of current planning and participation tools and methods, with municipal visions for a sustainable future and the development and testing new tools for urban planners. The network will highlight scenarios for future solutions to radical CO2 reductions. The project asks ?Given the complex social and cultural situation on a neighbourhood level. How can neighbourhoods achieve CO2 reductions and at the same time secure community participation??

A main aim of the Futurum network was to establish a broad international transdisciplinary community. This has been achieved, we have strengthened existing networks within Trondheim, Bodø and Stavanger municipalities in Norway and established contact with Goteborg, Växsjö and Linköping municipalities in Sweden. The transdisciplinary academic network that existed within the core team at NTNU has been broadened and strengthened, to include actors from Chalmers, Linköping and KTH universities in Sweden and Cardiff university in the UK. This network will support plans for a research application that will be sent to the research council in May 2020. The seminars and fieldtrip have been used actively to disseminate ideas and aims associated with the Futurum project and other research that the core network was engaged in. This was a win-win situation for the project.

Radical reductions in CO2 emissions are currently high on the political agenda within the EU and the Norwegian parliament, this is increasingly reflected in urban planning visions. Within urban societies, transformation of practices by municipal planning authorities, one that includes inhabitants, is a major urban challenge. It is, therefore clear that in urban environments a shift from business as usual and “more of the same” to a complex and demanding societal and cultural transition is necessary. Futurum’s aim is to develop a network for and with those dealing on a day-to-day basis with sustainable neighbourhood transformations. Environmental sustainability and climate change mean that planning organisations and planners are dealing with new technologies and new sets of knowledge (Davoudi et al. 2009). In addition, a key recognition , is that during community planning it is no longer enough to deal with planning professionals and organisations. There are many different voices across public and private sectors within a community that also need to be heard if it is going to be possible to plan an effective action (Rydin 2012). Urban planners and private developers can no longer be excused for reinforcing notions of “colorblind” or “race-neutral” urbanism (Valle 2018). In addition to ethnic voices, characteristics such as age (elderly, children and young adults) and gender mean there are numerous voices within a community that have difficulty being heard, and who have few relevant fora where they can meet, discuss and generally play an active role in planning developments and transformations of the physical and social environment. It is our conviction that many of the existing tools and methods for user participation need to be re-evaluated, re-designed or even replaced in order to secure the necessary legitimacy for change within the community and to support of societal changes implied by radical emission reduction targets.

Funding scheme:

SAMKUL-Samfunnsutviklingens kulturell