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Emergent Urbanism, or ‘bottom-up planning’ (from City of Sound)

14 February 2010 | Posted in: Media

Studio

*”the Renew Newcastle project enabled small businesses, artists, entrepreneurs and various creatives to find a temporary home in these largely unoccupied city centre spaces. By liaising with the building owners, the project found a way of offering super-short-term leases at peppercorn rents in all kinds of pretty vacant spaces. They overlaid a free wi-fi network, enabling basic connectivity, and offered a few other basic amenities. The smart trick of the rolling 30-day lease gave start-ups a contract they could afford to get into, and landlords a secure way of getting them out of it should a better offer arise. Simple.

The project has been achieved without any meaningful funding at all (though funding came later). As a result, the almost derelict city centre is being used again, and the spaces are rapidly being reconfigured, becoming increasingly active, safe, productive.

I can think of few more positive examples of how to quickly make a genuine difference in cities I.e. not just at the surface layers of urban design, as important as that is, or festivals, or marketing, but at the very core of economic, cultural and social sustainability, with all the ensuring knock-on effects for repairing urban fabric and civic confidence. This is why cities exist, after all, and for Marcus and his colleagues to have addressed this aspect directly, with literally no funding, is thoroughly inspirational.”* – City of Sound blog.