Working together for a green and biodiverse living environment is of vital importance. There is a great social urgency to go green, while at the same time, the municipality is pushing for densification of the city. This seems contradictory and raises questions. As a result, those involved often fail to sufficiently develop a joint agenda and bridge conflicts of interest. District managers of the municipality of Eindhoven have noticed that residents are encountering resistance to the city's ambitions. It is important for residents to know what they can actually do and what this activity can bring them. In order to create support among residents, a community-up approach is indispensable.
The aim of this project is to reconcile the conflicting interests by involving all stakeholders in the greening of their neighborhood from the outset. By connecting private gardens with public green spaces in the neighborhood, we increase biodiversity and livability at the neighborhood level. Organizing this collaboration 'community up', the collective knowledge and experience network is used. This leads to richer solutions with a greater chance of success. Multidisciplinary collaboration is essential for tackling these kinds of complex issues.
"Green corridors are created that contribute to a healthy living environment and community building."
By mapping out, together with local residents, their own gardens and the public green areas, discussing wishes and possibilities, and developing a concrete actionable perspective, biodiversity in the neighborhood can be better coordinated and increased. Students also map out the neighborhood, residents' wishes, and opportunities through design-oriented research. With this compiled insight, a supported plan for the approach in this neighborhood emerges. Green corridors are created that contribute to a healthy living environment and community building. The goal is to realize and let grow the feeling of own contribution and own responsibility for this greening towards a collective green and biodiverse environment. In the co-creation process we make use of available databases on biodiversity and social structure in the neighborhood. These include the database of the Central Bureau of Statistics, Kansenkaart Biodiversiteit, and the National Database Flora and Fauna.
At the neighborhood-level, a selection has been made of promising and observable species that together form the 'small five' of the neighborhood. Residents can 'adopt' one of the species and adjust their contribution to greening accordingly. The first reactions to this Small Five concept have been very positive. The enthusiastic response to this Small Five came mainly from the fact that the species are neighborhood-specific. The chances of success of a species settling here are high.The participant can start to observe the species. This also increases ownership and so a participant wants to take care of the living environment, not only for themselves and for the species, but also for others in their community. Collaboration Fontys University of Applied Sciences works together with the municipality of Eindhoven, Studio van der Park, and Bio-Art Laboratories on the cutting edge of nature, (ICT-)technology, and culture. The consortium partners have years of experience in developing cross-border nature projects in which co-creation and creative design are central. The power of design that this produces results in an innovative exemplary project that connects stakeholders with diverse interests. This approach is being implemented in the Eindhoven district of Limbeek.
The project pursues the following goals both in content and process:
- Insight into multi-stakeholder collaborations from a community-up perspective. A process approach will be developed and applied, which is also applicable to other policy files in which there is a multi-stakeholder setting and where various, sometimes conflicting, interests need to be aligned.
- The second intended result is that an exemplary project will be created, in which stakeholders work on smart greening and increasing biodiversity. This will involve using various databases to analyze existing biodiversity and to gain insight into the socio-economic structure of the neighborhood. By describing targeted measures in a sustainable future perspective at neighborhood-level and placing appropriate greenery, the biodiversity, living environment, and the neighborhood community vibe will improve.
"Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love and attention."
This exhibit consists of a broken concrete tile depicting the petrified urban environment. By adopting one of the species of the so-called ‘small five’, which are neighborhood-specific and database-driven, residents can adjust their contribution to greening and a healthy environment accordingly. From the private gardens, represented in this closed biosphere, the species can spread from here and make the city greener and healthier.