Chapter 7 The Use of Digital Technologies in Improving the Quality of Life: ICT-Supported Placemaking in Urban Neighbourhoods

In: Placemaking in Practice Volume 1
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Matej Nikšič Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia Ljubljana Slovenia

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Cor Wagenaar Department History of Art, Architecture + Landscapes, University of Groningen Groningen The Netherlands

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Gilles Gesquiere University Lyon, LIRIS, UMR CNRS 5205 Lyon France

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Kinga Kimic Department of Landscape Architecture, Institute of Environmental Engineering, Warsaw University of Life Sciences Warsaw Poland

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Open Access

Abstract

This chapter focuses on the use of digital technologies in urban regeneration processes at the scale of the neighbourhood. Between 1950 and 1980, hundreds of neighbourhoods were built all over Europe, and the planning principles underlying them were also used in urban regeneration projects of rundown historical areas. With few exceptions, the planned urban neighbourhoods started to face social and economic problems a few decades after their construction. They became the scene of reconstruction and revitalization processes that usually take the scale of the original neighbourhood as their starting point. Contemporary regeneration approaches proposed for those areas are not limited to the physical and functional improvements; they put much attention to the existing communities, their needs, and aspirations. Cooperation between professionals and residents has become of paramount importance. The increased complexity of the neighbourhood-improvement programmes demands an interdisciplinary approach that addresses urgent issues, such as the ageing population, (un)healthy living environments, climate-change adaptation, etc. Where different professions get engaged with the residents, speaking a common language is crucial from the initial phase of setting the grounds. One of the major obstacles planners in neighbourhood regeneration processes encounter is how to connect citizen knowledge to their professional expertise. Interactions and visualizations based on information and communications technology (ICT) can help to create a common language, offering a realistic impression of the desired results of interventions and their impact on safety, health and well-being. This chapter offers insights into the case studies from Groningen, Ljubljana and Lyon.

1 ICT-based Approaches to Improve the Quality of Life through Placemaking

Community-based placemaking has become a growing global movement based on citizens’ involvement in improving the places where they live. It is a way of collaboration in which all possible actors come together to breathe new life into a living environment (Dargan, 2009; CoDesign Studio, 2018). Local citizens are invited to participate in these revitalization processes. For local governments, the involvement of citizen organizations and businesses is indispensable for understanding the needs of communities. Approaches based on information and communications technology (ICT) promise to contribute new methods to intensify the interaction between citizens, local governments and planners.

The use of ICT has spread extensively over recent decades and it has had a huge impact on everyday life. Despite some negative effects – for instance, the excessive lengths of time spent in the virtual world, a consequence of the omnipresence of the (mobile) internet (Katz et al., 2001) – the use of ICT may also bring social benefits. In recent years, scholars highlight how these technologies promise access to a higher quality of life (Nevado-Peña et al., 2019; Oh, 2020) including creating and developing so-called good places – places that incite social interactions and may induce inhabitants to start thinking about ways to improve their neighbourhoods. The use of ICT can uncover hidden local talent, ideas and capacities (CoDesign Studio, 2018). It is important to support and encourage common activities and place creation and inspire local groups of people to undertake the get-involved and do-it-yourself approach.

This chapter focuses on digital placemaking strategies at the level of the neighbourhood. The neighbourhood frames people’s every lives – it is where they find their homes as well as the shops they frequent, the schools they attend and the parks they enjoy. Neighbourhoods that have been planned and built in one go – notably those dating from the 1950s and 1960s–often share a common fate (though there are some notable exceptions): they represented a huge improvement in the living conditions of the people who first moved there, but within a few decades witnessed social decline, vandalism and criminal behaviour. That was the starting point of revitalization strategies that, since the 1970s, have continuously expanded their scope and ambition. These strategies now also inspire similar improvement campaigns in neighbourhoods from different periods. As the missions of urban planning all over Europe have moved towards urban regeneration and the improvements of existing urban structures, the concept of a neighbourhood has evolved too – it is more broadly related to any demarcated urban area with a recognizable community and distinct architectural and urban qualities, regardless of its period of origin or initial urban planning concept.

In that context, cooperation between residents and professionals has become of paramount importance even if the idea of designing cities for people dates back a long time (Walljasper, 2007) and was later expanded by other visionaries and practitioners (Gehl, 2011). At the same time, the increased complexity of neighbourhood improvement programmes demands the implementation of new tools. The question here is, How ICT can incorporate and further develop the array of methods and experiences accumulated throughout the years? Generally, ICT may be seen as an intermediate object for mediation (Ampanavos & Markaki, 2014). Social affection for a place can be successfully created using ICT by shaping physical elements in space and thus supporting the possibilities of carrying out various activities both individually and together (Kimic et al., 2019) as a form of the improvement of diverse elements of social infrastructure (Joshi et al., 2013). An effective way focuses on many forms of an active engagement with the environment where people interact with each other and with the space (Abdel-Aziz et al. 2016; Nikšič, 2021; Akbar & Edelenbos, 2021). Another important asset of the implementation of ICT in urban regeneration is its ability to help foresee the possible futures by visualizing them.

2 ICT and the Improvement of Neighbourhoods: A Variety of Tools for the Variety of Contexts and the Issues Encountered

This section presents three concrete case studies related to ICT-supported transformative placemaking in three different types of neighbourhoods – in relation to improving health-related conditions, citizens empowerment and the environmental performance of rising neighbourhoods. With the explorative research it offers new insights into the application of ICT in urban regeneration in different geographical contexts in Europe and in different urban contexts – two housing neighbourhoods of different densities that were originally conceptualized from scratch to accommodate the new living standards in the urban periphery, and one that has a more historic origin, is more centrally positioned and has developed mainly as a business district. All three cases have ICT embedded into the core of the recent regeneration endeavours and show that there are both pros and cons to the implementation of ICTs in community-led placemaking.

2.1 Paddepoel in Groningen, the Netherlands

Paddepoel (see fig. 7.1) is a post-war housing estate in the city of Groningen which has approximately 230,000 inhabitants. Immensely popular among students all over the world, they make up no less than 25% of the population, which explains why the average age is also the lowest in the country. Today, almost 11,000 people live in Paddepoel. The density of Paddepoel is only a quarter of that of the inner city.

Figure 7.1
Figure 7.1

A map localization of Paddepoel, a neighbourhood with several visible sub-units

Source: OpenStreetMap

Paddepoel began to show signs of social deterioration in the course of the 1980s. The average income there is substantially lower than the average in Groningen over all. Public health statistics show that Paddepoel lags behind other areas in this respect too – 49% of the inhabitants suffer from being overweight, more than twice the number we find in the inner city.

In 2018, the Expertise Centre Architecture + Urbanism + Health of the University of Groningen initiated “Urban Design for Improving Public Health in Groningen (UDIHiG)”, a project that explores the efficiency of urban interventions as a tool to enhance public health. Urban interventions not only determine the shape of cities but also the way they are used and how they impact behaviours and lifestyles. These, in turn, directly impact public health. For example, low densities, car dependency and spatial fragmentation caused by main traffic roads severely limit the possibilities for walking and cycling. Active modes of mobility have been identified as exceptionally effective tools to improve one’s health and add more healthy years to one’s life.

Working in a post-war neighbourhood like Paddepoel requires an analysis of the generic urban model, the specific way this model was applied in this particular case and what we call a “neighbourhood biography” – the story of the people moving there, how they live their lives there and why they eventually move somewhere else – and the way this impacted the physical and spatial environment. The starting point of the project was a thorough urban analysis of the current situation (see fig. 7.2). The first studies were initiated by the city of Groningen, after which De Zwarte Hond, a design agency for architecture, urban planning and strategy, took over. The survey focuses on the typologies of the housing stock, the amount of greenery in Paddepoel and mobility issues.

Figure 7.2
Figure 7.2

One of the analytical maps provided to address public health

Source: authors’ elaboration

The next phases began with in-depth research on the interaction between the urban layout on the one hand and lifestyles on the other. Most of the available research focuses on the effects of mobility (walking and cycling have positive effects), greenery (either for passive enjoyment or for active use) and social interaction in public space (as a recipe against loneliness). Finally, there is the issue of healthy food (post-war neighbourhoods having been stigmatized as “health deserts”). This last element is a crucial but often underrated source of information as the body of knowledge accumulated in architecture and urbanism relating to people’s health motives has played a crucial role in the development of urban models and strategies. Based on the above-mentioned inputs, the municipality of Groningen and De Zwarte Hond produced plans for urban interventions. In all of them, placemaking policies as well as the use of digital tools play an important role. Without the latter, the full potential of placemaking about public health would not have been possible. In this case study, placemaking focuses on a very basic, but probably the most crucial of all, human qualities: health. This issue consists of biological and psychological aspects that escape the world of reasoning and culture, into a man-made, carefully designed habitat that is fully charged with interpretations on practicality, views on social structures, ideologies – in other words: qualities that are characteristically cultural assets. It focused on identifiable and, to some extent, quantifiable data about the performance of the urban environment in promoting public health. There is more than enough evidence that shows how the design of a neighbourhood can be beneficial, but also detrimental, to its inhabitants. The present situation is the starting point; instead of analysing the precise way the Paddepoel inhabitants use and experience their neighbourhood, the case study revolves around lifestyle and behavioural changes caused by urban interventions. The actors do not attempt to produce a zero impact, but rather to move the changes caused by planned urban interventions in a positive direction.

A fundamental decision revolves around another practical barrier: the interventions proposed by the urbanists exist only on paper. It is not realistic to reconstruct parts of the neighbourhood, and it is impossible to realize three plans for the same site (for each of the selected sites, the planners suggest a modest one, a more realistic one, and a utopian, futuristic vision). Whether or not the interventions will work will, ultimately, be decided by the inhabitants of Paddepoel, so their role is essential. Therefore, ensuring their involvement – a process akin to co-creation – is one of the principal problems this case study needed to solve. The template of urban plans – maps, often with reference images – is a major obstacle to understanding for laymen. So, one of the principal challenges of the project was how to present these plans to the inhabitants. The planning proposals were translated into virtual reality (VR) presentations, allowing the inhabitants to experience the new situation in three-dimensional, highly realistic visual imagery. The inhabitants of Paddepoel were invited to participate in VR sessions that allowed them to stroll around in the envisioned new area. After experiencing what it would be like to live in a redesigned neighbourhood, they were asked to fill in questionnaires with the assistance of team members; this feedback provided information on the potential impact of the new urban layout on their lifestyles.

2.2 Russian Tsar in Ljubljana, Slovenia

The official name of this neighbourhood in Ljubljana, the capital and largest city of Slovenia with about 280,000 inhabitants, is Bežigrajska soseska 7 (BS7) (see fig. 7.3, left). It is popularly known as Soseska Ruski Car (Russian Tsar neighbourhood) and is located in the northern outskirts of the city. It was constructed in the 1970s based on a competition entry that proposed homes for 3,500 residents. The winning team organized the neighbourhood around streets – at the time, this represented a break with modern urban planning, which had discarded the street as an obsolete historical phenomenon. Making streets implies that they are lined with buildings – instead of distributing them as stand-alone structures in a greenfield, the designers envisaged rows of blocks of flats that are attached and form three main streets. The most important one runs in an east-west direction and connects the main local bus station at Dunajska cesta and the local train station. In the centre of the neighbourhood a park was designed, and at the southern perimeter facilities for sport and recreation. It was characteristic of neighbourhoods in this period that they contained everything needed for daily life: a supermarket, a kindergarten, schools, a bank and a library. A colour scheme based on earth tones is one of the neighbourhood’s remarkable design features too (see fig. 7.3, right). As the neighbourhood was built at the very edge of the city, a pristine open landscape was at its doorstep.

Figure 7.3
Figure 7.3

Top, a localization of the Russian Tsar neighbourhood in Ljubljana. Bottom, a distinctive design makes Russian Tsar one of the best-known large housing estates in Ljubljana

Source: OpenStreetMap; UIRS, photo by Nina Goršič

All these characteristics originally made Russian Tsar a popular living area. It attracted a mix of social groups, including members of the working classes, civil servants and people from the cultural sector. The Slovenian public got to know it since it was the setting of a very popular youth film.1

In the early years of the millennium, it became clear that the neighbourhood had become obsolete in many ways. The infrastructure needed maintenance, an upgrade of the façades to improve energy efficiency was long overdue, and after the collapse of the socialist regime in the early 1990s, the privatization processes threatened to jeopardize the integrity of the network of public amenities. A comprehensive urban regeneration and management plan was badly needed. One of the major concerns was the lost sense of community, which negatively impacted the character of the public spaces. New economic realities caused a change in the daily life patterns of the inhabitants: long work and school hours, digitalization and motorization robbed them of the spare time they used to spend in public open spaces. Instead of places for social interaction, they now merely serve as transition and traffic spaces between various destinations.

The Human Cities project, which operates under the patronage of the EU Creative Europe programme (Franc et al., 2018), allowed the testing of new approaches for participatory urban regeneration. One of them was the development of an innovative tool to bring to light the notions and perceptions of the people who knew the neighbourhood best: its residents. Based on the assumption that no matter how interdisciplinary the urban regeneration team of professionals was, without the active participation of residents from the very beginning successful regeneration would be impossible. The project explored ways to involve them. The main aim was to include as many residents as possible.

When the regeneration process started, nobody thought of using a digital tool. In the first phase, more traditional approaches were used, such as a resident-led neighbourhood walking tour, round-table discussions, neighbourhood picnics and workshops. This should help to include the community in planning the possible futures of their neighbourhood and contributing their ideas to the regeneration processes. After some time, it became clear that certain groups of residents could not be reached in this way. That triggered the decision to develop an online tool that would attract those residents who, thus far, had avoided and even refused to join. The digital tool, Photostory of our Neighbourhood (PON), was developed by the Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia team (Nikšič et al., 2018). It was an online portal where residents could upload any number of photos and give them short captions, as well as provide basic personal information and identify where the photo was taken. The photos were organized in five thematic sections: Most pleasant place in my neighbourhood, Professions in my neighbourhood, My neighbour, Borders of my neighbourhood, and Shared values in my neighbourhood. It was felt that this tool would encourage the residents to focus on the positive aspects of the housing estate and support the urban regeneration strategy. The main intention of PON was to open the residents’ eyes to the positive sides of Russian Tsar and make them aware of the potential of their neighbourhood (fig. 7.4).

Figure 7.4
Figure 7.4

A citizen taking part in crowdsourced photo-analysing

Source: UIRS, photo by Blaž Jamšek

Within a few weeks, more than 170 photos with captions were collected (see fig. 7.5), some of them from other neighbourhoods as well – which proved how appealing the tool is. PON provided new insights into the dynamics of the neighbourhood. The entries of PON were exhibited in public spaces in Russian Tsar, which encouraged debates among the residents and between residents and professionals and officials. PON unleashed a debate on social media that further enhanced the awareness of the need for urban regeneration.

Figure 7.5
Figure 7.5

An exhibited entry of the PON exhibition in Ljubljana

Source: UIRS

2.3 Part-Dieu in Lyon, France

Part-Dieu is a centrally located neighbourhood in Lyon (fig. 7.6). It has been subject to thorough transformations for the last hundred years. Where there were barracks for the French military constructed in 1844, now a business centre, a train station, an opera house, etc., can be found. The district in its current configuration was developed in the 1960s and 1970s. Raw concrete elevated to the rank of sculptural art makes up a large part of this business district. Its massive shapes dominate the centre of the third-biggest city of France of about half a million residents. Originally designed to encourage the construction of housing estates, the arrival of the train station transformed Part-Dieu into a business centre and exchange hub. Planned to accommodate 35,000 users per day, the Part-Dieu station now sees more than 120,000 passengers pass through it every day. Urban renewal projects from the 1950s and 1960s prioritized the use of cars, but today the district is used by a mix of 500,000 pedestrians, motorists, railway passengers and residents. Although high-rise building programmes are still planned, contemporary discussions revolve around ideas to make Part-Dieu a place to live – and not just a place to pass through.

Figure 7.6
Figure 7.6

Localization of Lyon

Source: OpenStreetMap

Thinking about traffic in order to equally embrace the soft modes of travel, but also rethinking the place of vegetation in the heart of the city centre, are among the central challenges addressed recently in the metropolitan region of Lyon. Strategic planning operations try to give more space to pedestrians and cyclists. Other examples include the Plan canopée or the Charte de l’arbre2 with the goal of planting 300,000 trees in Lyon, but also in dense neighbourhoods like Part-Dieu. The allocation of space for greenery and green mobility is a collective effort that involves citizens, politicians and professionals. Many problems need to be solved: how to work together with all stakeholders; how to involve citizens and their representatives; and how to work inclusively throughout the process.

The framework for cooperation and methodologies to make it work was proposed in a partnership between various partners, including the Erasme Urban Lab3 (a lab devoted to the development, prototyping and experimentation of digital solutions applied to public policies of Lyon), the Tree and Landscape Department of Lyon and the University of Lyon. The aim was to propose new technologies to facilitate cooperation and mediation. Mediation tools were proposed to allow better participation of citizens in the Part-Dieu neighbourhood for experimentation. Several steps have been necessary to prepare the possible mediation. The first development phase used data from the open data of metropolitan Lyon.4 These were combined with geospatial processing algorithms to create an overview of areas that can be planted, the so-called layers of plantability of the territory (fig. 7.7). The review showed where vegetation could be introduced. The next question was how to provide new vegetation solutions in public spaces, which sometimes necessitates a change in the way it was used, for instance, by removing parking spaces or reducing the number of traffic lanes, etc. Having this set of processed data can help to understand how to find the places where it would be possible to introduce vegetation, but also help identify the best species for those locations.

Figure 7.7
Figure 7.7

Qualitative map of areas suitable for revegetation

Source: authors’ elaboration

After mapping the plantability of the area, it was necessary to think of ways to exchange the ideas of the various stakeholders on the proposed revegetation of the district. Remix canopée, an initiative of Erasme Urban Lab, developed a strategy that made it possible to involve all relevant stakeholders. Almost a hundred people worked on solutions to find proper places for plants in the city. One of the projects, supported by Lyon metropolis, used the plantability map shown here (fig. 7.7) and developed a kit that enabled the public to take ownership of the district and to propose new sites for plants.5

As a new ICT experiment, a digital mapping platform allows citizens to join collective and participatory decision-making processes on greening the area. This digital platform is based on cross-referencing data and connects the points of view of the specialists with those of the inhabitants. It considers the peculiarities of the territory and provides all the tools necessary for citizens to tackle the issue of revegetation. The proposed solution is based on a Lego model of the neighbourhood in which a series of layers can be projected digitally (ortho photo, plantability layers, vegetation scenarios, etc.). This kind of device invites all stakeholders to exchange their views (fig. 7.8).

Figure 7.8
Figure 7.8

Tangible table for vegetation experimentation

Source: Authors’ elaboration

This experiment can now be replicated in other neighbourhoods,6 or in a larger way in districts.

Using ICT is not new and numerous experiments have been done in Lyon. In the last decade, experts involved in this project have also expanded the envelope of the relevant parameters. It is very possible, for instance, to study the visual impact of the vegetation on the townscape (Pedrinis, 2017) (fig. 7.9). Open data provided by cities allow new kinds of computation, among them 3D models (polygons or point clouds). This makes it possible to include additional information and data in the evaluation of the city’s urban development. Another tool allows the measurement of the impact of vegetation and buildings on shadows at different scales (Jaillot et al., 2017) (fig. 7.9). Taking into account the position of the sun, the weather and the time, it is possible to propose a more detailed simulation of shade in the city.

Figure 7.9
Figure 7.9

Measuring view composition (top) and analysing sunlight and shadow computations (bottom) at different scales

Source: Authors’ elaboration

These tools can provide a good way to explain the impact of urban interventions and may also be seen as an interesting example that shows how digital data can provide new information in decision-making processes. They can be used by stakeholders in the tangible table to understand intervisibility or shadow computation linked with vegetation.

3 Case Studies Summarized

The case studies presented here illustrate the variety of approaches to the application of ICT in urban regeneration processes at the scale of urban neighbourhoods. Table 7.1 summarizes the main characteristics of each case study in a comparative way.

Table 7.1
Table 7.1
Table 7.1
Table 7.1

An overview of the presented case studies

Source: Authors’ elaboration

4 Discussion and Conclusion

The three reviewed cases reflect the variety of approaches that use digital technologies at the level of a neighbourhood for driving mediation with stakeholders. On the one hand, they clearly illustrate the benefits of applying ICT in the contemporary placemaking processes and underpin the notion that revitalization processes can benefit from these technologies. On the other hand, they show the importance of involving the residents as key to the success of ICT-supported placemaking.

The Paddepoel case study was an experiment in analysing concrete lifestyle changes triggered by urban interventions. It focused on a typical post-war neighbourhood that followed a model that has been applied all over Europe. Its unique quality is its relatively high level of precision and accountability: concrete interventions are related to concrete lifestyle effects. It positions health as a quality inherent in place, and urban interventions as placemaking activities that enhance public health. One of the main strengths of applying Photostory of Our Neighbourhood (PON) in the case of Ljubljana was that it managed to involve residents that were hard to reach with other means. The digital interface opened a whole new venue for expression to them – taking photos and writing a short caption was a more appropriate way for them to share their opinions. The range of themes that were highlighted by participants through this experiment gave new insights and lots of food for thought for the professionals.

In the Part-Dieu case study, the power of digital tools for participatory placemaking revolves around two innovations. In the preparatory phase, the GIS dataset formed the bases for the identification of the places where the urban greening endeavours could take place. Based on this platform, the wider community was able to develop alternative ideas. The digital tool in combination with the old-fashioned physical 3D model was used again in the last phase when scenarios were put forward that helped the general public to understand the spatial consequences of adding greenery. The visualization of what already exists and of the possible spatial changes thus seems to be one of the strengths of digital tools in placemaking. All three cases based their digital placemaking strategies on the visual presentation of existing potential and opportunities for future changes – in this way, they successfully engaged the inhabitants. The case studies also illustrate the wide variety of themes that can be addressed through the application of digital tools. The themes of placemaking at the neighbourhood level ranged from participatory re-evaluation of public spaces to make them true social spaces, to the improvement of the environment so that it may provide opportunities for healthier lifestyles or result in better environmental performance and an instantly more pleasant living environment.

Another thing these case studies make clear is that they always involve the same categories of stakeholders. On one hand, they include a very diverse group of residents and, on the other hand, an equally diverse set of experts that ranges far beyond the disciplines that have been traditionally involved in urban regeneration (such as urbanism, architecture, landscape architecture, etc.). In Paddepoel, public health experts were involved, and in the Russian Tsar neighbourhood art historians. Obviously, ICT professionals were involved in all case studies. This points out an important and so far, understudied combination of key players in the participation in digital placemaking: the residents, the urban development-related professionals and the ICT professionals. The ability and level of their cooperation seems to be an important issue for digitally supported placemaking and must be given further attention in the future. What can be learnt from the three case studies can be summarized as follows:

  • In the case of Ljubljana, the harmonious cooperation between residents and spatial professions is the basis for participatory urban regeneration, but it needs additional input from ICT professionals – this can be achieved using a digital platform. This improved the participatory activities both in terms of people participating as well as the array of themes that were put on the table – without PON many people would be left voiceless and many assets and problems of the neighbourhood unaddressed.

  • Likewise, in Paddepoel the residents were encouraged to reconsider through digital visualization the possible futures of the neighbourhood that were initially developed by spatial professionals – thus they could more clearly imagine the possible futures. At the same time, the visualization tool opened discussions with the residents and make them think about their (un)healthy lifestyles in general.

  • The role of ICT was indispensable in the case of Part-Dieu. It is difficult to imagine the plantability of the whole area in a time- and resource-effective way without the initial support of GIS. Most importantly, the digitally enhanced 3D model enabled a broad discussion among various players. It also allowed a discussion in public space, one that could be continued in private if required.

The three cases show that the relationship between the professionals on the one hand and residents on the other remains the principal issue in all participatory placemaking processes. Digital technologies are an important enabler and booster of the much-needed interaction between them. They allow an open debate on the past, the present and the future of the places.

There are also some limitations to the use of digital technologies. The neighbourhood is an operational scale that all citizens are familiar with, therefore some residents may develop a sense of alienation when digital technologies are used. Even in the “digitalized future”, it is important to combine digital and classical face-to-face and hands-on tools. Direct contact can also help avoid situations where the professionals may have difficulties recognizing the added value of digitally developed content because they may lead to faulty interpretations of digital data.

Figure 7.10
Figure 7.10

The extended reach of digitally supported placemaking: the common sphere of (inter)action between residents (R) and urban regeneration experts (U) may be non-existent in the traditional top-down approach (left), limited by the application of traditional participatory tools (centre) and extended by the application of ICT (I) in a digitally supported participatory approach (right)

Source: Authors’ elaboration

One of the problems may be the fear of repeating the same mistakes when addressing the problems in neighbourhoods. The concept of the comprehensively planned neighbourhood wants to break away from the past and explore new opportunities; likewise, digital technologies may suggest that from now on we will be able to construct a problem-free future. The case studies show that digital tools can indeed extend the scope of revitalization processes, but for successful placemaking, the cooperation between the main players – professionals and decision-makers on one side and residents on the other, will always remain indispensable. Within this basic framework, digital tools are very helpful – but not more than that. They are still only a technical means to make cooperation easier, visually more convincing and technically more advanced.

Acknowledgements

The case study of Ljubljana was partly supported by Creative Europe Programme within the Human Cities project and partly by the Slovenian Research Agency (research core funding no. P5-0100). Key members were Nina Goršič, MSc Biba Tominc, Dr. Igor Bizjak and Dr. Matej Nikšič from the Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia, Damjana Zaviršek Hudnik from the civil initiative Skupaj na ploščad!, Natalija Lapajne from the Museum of Architecture and Design, and Prof. Dr. Alenka Fikfak from the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Ljubljana.

The Paddepoel project was funded by ZonMw, a Dutch organization that sponsors health-related research, and carried out by a consortium on behalf of the Expertise Centre Architecture + Urbanism + Health of Groningen University. Key members were Derk den Boer, Dr. Frans Greven, Dr. Marijke Koene, Prof. Dr. Menno Reijneveld, Dr. Jolanda Tuinstra, Dr. Marieke Zwaving, and Prof. Dr. Cor Wagenaar.

The case study on Part-Dieu has been partially funded by the DatAgora7 project funded by the IDEXLyon (ANR 16-IDEX-0005). We thank the services of the metropole de Lyon for their help and support on this project.

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Placemaking in Practice Volume 1

Experiences and Approaches from a Pan-European Perspective

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