WE OWN THE CITY SPREADS: JAPANESE VERSION IN PRINT

A global publication aimed at catalyzing more inclusive urban development processes available for Japanese readers. More on the book and CITIES’ supporting working methodology follow.

we own the city japanese

We Own The City advances the ambition to re-institutionalize urban development in a more inclusive, innovative and effective fashion around the world. The publication features in-depth research in New York, Moscow, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Taipei. Spotlighting four case studies of local bottom-up initiatives in each city, We Own The City makes an effort to present a new perspective by focusing on how ‘top-down’ actors are, and can, better collaborate with citizen initiatives. Global case studies are supported by interviews with Dutch architects, such as OMA, MVRDV, NEXT Architects and UN Studio.

The goal of the publication is to provide more traditional, ‘top-down’ actors with new knowledge, strategies and tools to help catalyze a transition to more inclusive urban development processes in the midst of today’s dynamic, growing cities. This goal derives from seeing organizations, governments and those with established authority and power as lacking in their capacity to support citizen initiatives during a generational shift in the urban planning discipline. By bringing together diverse case studies revealing points of citizen-institution encounters, the book is able to deliver insight into developing new, flexible institutionalized standards that unite both citizen and professional urban actors. In this way, a collective we are more able to ‘own’ our city.

The publication first launched in English 27 May 2014 at the Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam. In September 2015, the original publication by Trancity*Valiz publishing was released in a Japanese version, upon request from the Japanese publishing company.

We are happy to have We Own The City’s message expand to Japanese readers, further influencing a global shift in urban practice as we continue working under the We Own The City methodology at home in Amsterdam.

LOCAL IMPLEMENTATION: CITIES’ WORK AND THE WE OWN THE CITY METHODOLOGY
 
CITIES began with the motivation to bring people to urban development and urban development to people. We Own The City supports this mission with an in-depth analysis and practical insights. Further, We Own The City’s methodology is paramount CITIES’ approach.

In the book, the divide between citizens and professionals became more evident in their ability to communicate with each other. Their practices and networks are generally separated, while differences in the ‘languages’ they speak makes it difficult to stimulate active project collaboration.

CITIES is one such organization that excels at acting as a mediator between citizen initiatives and more influential actors. Our capacity to synergize integrated projects comes in large part due to our focus on and experience in working with and activating communities, while also connecting with public, private and governmental partners to implement conceptually driven practical projects on the local level.

Take WASTED, for example. In this comprehensive plastic waste re/upcycling initiative in Amsterdam Noord, we conducted neighborhood research and activated the community to participate in a small-scale circular waste initiative. We also worked with a set of partners ranging from local government to community organizations and architectural studios in order to link the people with more traditional actors in collaborative action for change.

Beyond our own work, it appears a transition in urban planning knowledge and practice is shifting towards more integrated and inclusive systems of collaborative action. This is an inspiring reality. The ways in which cities are built and lived in are becoming more sustainable and more human. We Own The City’s message supports this change, and at CITIES we continue working to support the book’s goal of re-institutionalizing urban development standards.

Text: Mehdi Comeau

Created on 13 October 2015

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