Building a community

Inclusive communities of practice and collaborative decision-making

Mission-oriented research harnesses social movement and citizen participation to achieve social change. Co-creation processes are at the core of CENTRINNO to facilitate conversations and discussions among local stakeholders and steer the research process towards alternative solutions that are socially and environmentally sustainable, but also locally significant.

Developing a community of practice and collaborate with your partners and other stakeholders in co-creation processes may produce changes by:

  • Fostering bottom-up deliberation for defining the needs and conditions for a community coalescing around a physical space

  • Enabling participation in expression and debate through inclusive approaches that give space to citizens and local communities

  • Facilitating community action, while orchestrating a common vision

The Living Archive is the key CENTRINNO platform that supports the development of communities of practice, using heritage as a catalyst for social innovation and stakeholder engagement. Within this platform, you will find different approaches and tools that will help you to adopt a participatory and inclusive approach to building your network of stakeholders. Co-creating a diverse and cohesive community is key to implementing action from the bottom up in any urban regeneration process.

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In the following lines, we describe different tools and methods that could be used to create and nurture a local community of practice and co-define its focus interest. These tools are also connected to change in specific practices.

Practice: Fostering bottom-up deliberation for defining the needs and conditions for a community coalescing around a physical space

Neighbourhood typologies, included in CENTRINNO's Urban Resources Mapping Guidebook, is a method used to categorize urban areas according to top-down collected spatial data. This categorization needs to be discussed among different stakeholders and may also support or influence the co-definition of the pilot city's focus. Making this sort of choice, or sharing the results after the categorization, could be a sensitive process, for it may affect or clash with how communities self-perceive themselves. This method requires an open mind and an inclusive approach.

Personas is a tool used in design-driven development processes for design anthropologists to document and map users’ behavior. Personas translate this knowledge into a form that is simpler and easier to grasp and thus serve as a good basis for the development of new solutions. In CENTRINNO, personas could be used to collectively map and understand the target audience, and adapt the stakeholder engagement and co-creation activities accordingly.

The Participation Map, or Stakeholder Map, is a tool that comes from the EU project SISCODE and could be used to map and classify local stakeholders of the local pilot city network according to the role they play either in a specific pilot city activity or in its whole experimentation process. The CENTRINNO School, supported by the project partner Onl’fait, will foster the use of Participation Maps to understand the local actors’ ecosystem and develop a community of practice around training activities in each pilot.

Practice: Enabling participation in expression and debate through inclusive approaches that give space to citizens and local communities

Street Vote is a playful way to connect with citizens in an easy, low-cost, and data-driven way by making interactive interventions in the public space. Passers-by can respond to enticing and inspiring questions through polls displayed in the urban space while at the same time, certain topics are publicly positioned to position or foster a narrative. It may be used as an engagement tool to build up a community of practice, or as a part of a plan to implement a Fab City Hub (FCH). Street Vote and other 'community tools' can be found in Waag’s co-creation navigator. Other examples of these tools are the Lego Challenge, a team building activity, the Stakeholder Trust Map, used to classify and analyse collectively the relationship with stakeholders, the Circles of Connection, which provides an overview of the organizations needed to involve in order to reach specific goals, or Ambition Ranking, which is a useful tool to prioritize decisions in a collaborative way and, thus, co-define the focus of a wider community through a very easy set-up.

Practice: Facilitating community action, while orchestrating a common vision

At the core of all co-creation processes in CENTRINNO lays the Emotion Networking method , developed by Imagine IC and the Reinwardt Academy, also a project partner. The Emotion Networking method will facilitate conversations and discussions around the transformation of historic industrial areas, putting heritage items at the centre of the discussion. Each pilot city develops its own way of implementing this method. Discussions about heritage items will ultimately support the recognition of different views, and will contribute to approaching views that may in the future enable collaboration through shared values. This method will also facilitate the collection of qualitative information related to the other CENTRINNO key concepts, including knowledge on traditional practices (vocational training), missing stakeholders (social inclusion), perceptions on materials and resources (circular economy), or opportunities to collaborate and pressing local issues (innovation spaces).

Other resources specifically aimed at co-defining common interests and supporting the development of a community's vision are the Full Stack Card Game (to devise potential activities aligned to the Fab City vision) and the Service Journey (to visualize user’s experiences). They can be easily applied in short activities and sessions by pilot cities' teams to co-define with their local communities both the focus and the implementation process of their Fab City Hub, often falling in the middle of community and FCH micro missions. Reflection Journals or Zines (collective reflection on a common experience in a short self-published book or text) may also be used to orchestrate a common vision.

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