The Future DiverCities project is implemented by a consortium of 13 partners led by La Friche La Belle de Mai (Marseille).

The city pilots will happen simultaneously in 9 European cities, Berlin, Zagreb, Split, Liepaja, Kuopio, Marseille, Florence, Timișoara, Athens (Elefsina).

The pilots are grouped into three clusters driven by a thematic point of entry which has been identified as the most relevant for each empty space. The three themes reflect positive ecological values of urban empty spaces. 

pilots on

BIODIVERSITY

Berlin, Germany /
Liepaja, Latvia /
Split and Zagreb, Croatia

pilots on

COMMONING

Kuopio, Finland /
Marseille, France

pilots on

IMPERMANENCE

Athens, Greece /
Florence, Italy /
Timişoara, Romania

Pilots on Biodiversity

Berlin, Germany / Liepaja, Latvia / Split and Zagreb, Croatia

To enhance the potential biodiversity of the space and how it is linked to the city ecology.
To improve new forms of relationships between human and non-human inhabitants.
To test culture-led projects and approaches that are able to strengthen further this asset.

BERLIN

In Berlin, the initial concept is to explore the relationship between human and non-human living beings in urban spaces in one or several abandoned spaces, how to listen to those entities like insects, birds, plants in our city, who take over empty spaces and transform them into urban biotopes. The intervention will look at how to enhance the cohabitation and relationship of humans and non-humans.

Public Art Lab is a Berlin based and globally networked non-profit organisation for urban media art that investigates, curates, and produces artistic projects in the urban public sphere at the intersection of media arts, urban planning and creative technologies. PAL is specialised in digital placemaking, creative citymaking, citizen science, art and climate change and connecting people and places through artistic interactions. The projects are generated in an action research and open co-design process with stakeholders to facilitate methodologies and strategies for community placemaking and neighbourhood building. Public Art Lab was project lead of the Culture Programme of the European Union like Connecting Cities Network 2012-16 and beneficiary in the Creative Europe projects Future DiverCities 2016-2020, and participated in the Augmented Europe project of the Europe for Citizens programme and in Culture Backstage of the Erasmus programme among others. Public Art Lab has a large European and worldwide network and an experienced partner in implementing international and translocal cultural projects. 

LIEPAJA

In Liepāja, the intervention will look at the vacant spaces in Karosta. Karosta is a specific part of the city that was closed to residents for several decades for military purposes. During intervention we will explore biodiversity through artistic approach.

The Department of Culture is a Liepāja municipal institution, which implements the function of commitment to culture and promoting the preservation of traditional cultural values and the development of community creative activity. The main functions of the Department of Culture are to ensure and implement the local government policy of the city of Liepaja in the field of culture and creative sector; to promote the participation of the community in the activities of folk art and craft art by promoting the preservation of cultural heritage; to promote access to cultural education, to preserve the minority cultural traditions, and facilitate the development of the cultural and creative sector resources.

Liepāja is the 3rd largest city in Latvia. About 70,000 people call Liepāja their home, their place of study and work. Liepāja has historically been an industrial city as well as a closed military territory, however, over the years the city’s residential, recreational and business environment has seen ongoing improvements put in place. Priorities for the next few years include building the capacity of the local cultural sector and cross-sectoral cooperation.

Liepaja Culture department was a partner of Future DiverCities 2016-2020 and Liepaja holds the title “European Capital of Culture 2027”.

SPLIT AND ZAGREB

In Croatia, Zagreb has been heavily affected by the 2020 earthquakes (alongside the pandemic). Damage to museums, galleries and similar infrastructure caused a transformation of the city centre and a lack of spaces for cultural and artistic programmes. By repurposing and activating empty spaces not previously used for culture, Zagreb intervention will explore new models of artistic production, presentation and community participation through the topic of biodiversity and urban ecology.  In Split, the entry point for the intervention is facilitation of cross-sectoral collaborations, especially between artists and scientists, with focus on biodiversity and interspecies cohabitation as well as bringing experimental artistic programmes in new venues and context. 

KONTEJNER, bureau of contemporary art praxis is a non-profit organization from Zagreb, Croatia founded in 2002 that is engaged in curatorial work, organization of art festivals and events, artistic productions, publishing, education and social theory. The main field of interest is progressive contemporary art which investigates the role and meaning of science, technology and the body in our society, focusing on relevant and current phenomena as well as those perceived by the society as taboos, such as pleasure, time and energy, mental health, human and artificial intelligence manipulation and dark matter.

KONTEJNER deals also with local problems of inadequate spatial infrastructure for organisations of independent culture and civil society in Zagreb, and is engaged in the conceptualization of innovative models. KONTEJNER is experienced in EU and international projects and has been and is part of several Creative Europe projects: Future DiverCities (2016-2020), EMAP – European Media Art Platform (2017-2021), Re-Imagine Europe (2019-2021), Arc-hive (2021-2022) as well as a lead partner on the Erasmus+ project “Sound Experiments – New Approaches in Non-formal Learning in Music” (2021-2023).

Pilots on Commoning

Kuopio, Finland / Marseille, France

To develop practices of Commoning associated to the empty space, fostering a vision of inclusive urban ecology.
To test culture-led projects and approaches that are able to further strengthen this asset.

KUOPIO

The intervention could explore new types of being, ecological wellbeing, socially, bio art, participatory methods, or somatic practice. The Local Coalition in Kuopio will not only co-design the space but will also take part in running citizen-lead activities there.

ANTI aims to take over of a former unused railway space in Kuopio for the duration of the project, looking at how it can be occupied by artists, exploring new models of cultural spaces that are beyond the usual 1.0 venue (studio, exhibition) but that can prototype new forms of cohabitation with its developing neighbourhood, becoming a community place for ecological development. The old train repair building (Konepaja) is located in the middle of the rapidly changing neighbourhood of Itkonniemi, which will be under development (infrastructure, public transport, housing) for the next 20 years.

ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival is a renowned live arts festival taking place annually in Kuopio Finland. The festival has a year-round programme of community building projects, artists residencies, and other events. ANTI has over 20 years of expertise in producing and presenting contemporary art in urban context, international networking, curating and managing international art projects and engaging local communities with them. ANTI is a trusted and experienced partner in international collaboration projects. It has been a partner in several Creative Europe projects; currently in Face to Faith 2020-2023, and recently in Future DiverCities 2016-2020. The festival is part of several international networks such as the European In Situ and the Australian Situate Arts in Festival.

MARSEILLE

Marseille has seen recent major problems of space management, with deadly collapses of dilapidated buildings, and the city has very important regeneration plans. The intervention is planned on abandoned spaces in the neighborhood of La Belle de Mai where La Friche is located, in the city centre. They are in a derelict state and contribute badly to the residents’ well-being. The approach on Commoning will aim at creating citizen-led processes, fostering citizens participation and a form of renewed collective ownership of the area, whilst exploring positive applications of the Nudge theory.

La Friche La Belle de Mai is the leader of the project.

La Friche, in its prototypal form, arose in 1992 out of the new models for urban cultural interaction in the public interest, now known as “third places.” This unique, reinvented space brings together artistic activity, modes of urban transformation, real connections to the region, and dynamic cooperation.

La Friche is both a workspace for 70 resident organizations representing all creative disciplines (400 artists, producers, and employees work here every day), and a cross-disciplinary venue (each year, over 600 artistic events are made available to the public). Every year, 450,000 visitors come to this 45,000 square-meter public space housing five performance spaces, a community garden, a playground and athletic space, a restaurant, bookstore, daycare, some 2,400 square meters of exhibition space, an 8,000 square-meter rooftop, and a training center.

Thanks not only to its size but also the number and variety of spaces, La Friche provides workspace to artists, in addition to allowing numerous projects to develop at the same time. Sculptors, actors, painters, photographers, dancers, and producers can have the time and space they need for writing and creating. With their year-round presence and creative activity, these residents, called “frichistes,” form the living artistic hub that has been an essential part of La Friche since its conception.

Here, art and culture are brought into existence, shared, and enjoyed. But like any neighborhood, La Friche invites us to wander its streets, hang out in its public spaces, have a bite or a drink, drop off the kids at daycare or take them to the playground, buy fruit and vegetables at the Monday farmers market, or even dig a bed in the community garden.

It’s not a coincidence that La Friche adopted the name of La Belle de Mai, the larger neighborhood surrounding it. Neighborhood youth feel welcome in the spaces that are open seven days a week, and the youngest Belle de Mai residents even have a daycare. La Friche opened the cinema Le Gyptis in 2014, which has since become a pillar of the neighborhood, and people from Belle de Mai and beyond feel at home in its many open spaces.

Seconde Nature is one of the leading organisations dedicated to digital arts in France, whose ambition is to propose a new outlook on societal transformations incurred by the digital revolution through the unique viewpoint of arts and creation. They accompany artists, encourage contemporary artistic forms using new technologies, run a wide range of educational and cultural engagement activities with different audiences, aiming at accompanying a conscious and creative appropriation of digital tools. Community building is at the heart of Seconde Nature’s activities, which is constantly testing new forms of co-curation and community involvement processes. Seconde Nature is a resident at La Friche La Belle de Mai, and was also a partner of the first Future DiverCities project (2016-2020).

Pilots on Impermanence

Athens, Greece / Florence, Italy / Timişoara, Romania

To preserve the impermanent status of the space and how to maintain that through temporary, agile and resilient strategies.
To test culture-led projects and approaches that are able to strengthen further this asset.

ATHENS

In Athens, the intervention will be plugged into the European Capital of Culture 2023 plans in Elefsina in the city suburbs. The area is characterised by a heavy industrial and polluting past, “a grey industrial city”. The intervention will see the occupation of a long-forgotten estate spanning over 400 000 m2 and explore how it can be a transitional space, with temporary uses, but also sustaining an ecological transition.

BIOS – Exploring Urban Culture is a Not-for-Profit Company, founded in 2001 in Athens and has since been

active in the field of contemporary cultural production, focusing on the expression of young people, the changes in art and technology today and the shaping of the urban environment.  

BIOS resides in three locations in the centre of Athens. Two multifunctional buildings and an urban skate bowl garden. 

Since its very beginning, the organization focuses on the development of networks and foundations of creative expression, upholding its vision of evolving and improving life in the city, for its people in current times.

With the main purpose of promoting contemporary arts, their relationship with new media and technology, but also the interconnection of different artistic fields, the BIOS organization, in the last almost twenty years, has curated and created a huge variety of events such as concerts, theater performances, screening programs, exhibitions, workshops and educational programs, as well as a multitude of festivals and creative platforms.

The success of its events, since the very first year of operation of the BIOS Organization, has proven that there is a large audience interested in a different approach to contemporary cultural becoming. Twenty years later, and through its cultural activity in different artistic fields, the cultural organization BIOS is a body for highlighting innovative artistic creation in Athens.

BIOS has been a partner of numerous Creative Europe projects and is one of the founders and now chair of the European Creative Hubs Network.

The European Creative Hubs Network (ECHN) is a peer-led network with more than 200 hubs around Europe. Its mission is to enhance the creative, economic and social impact of creative hubs around Europe and neighboring countries. 

As focal points for cultural and creative professionals and businesses, hubs play a key role at the intersection of culture, economy, society, education and technology, and offer the most effective way to support the growth and development of cultural and creative industries.

ECHN proposes to its members a series of initiatives dedicated to hubs, the network and the industry, sectors and ecosystem as a whole such as mobility programs, annual meetups, learning opportunities, networking and advocacy initiatives.  

ECHN has extensive experience in formulating policy recommendations and working on skills development in the Cultural and Creative Industries, through a number of European Commission funded projects (e.g. CENTRINNO, Coral-ITN, Chlaydoscope, Cyanotypes, EIT Culture & Creativity, Future DiverCities, GLAMMONS, Crowdfunding4Culture, S4Fashion, MakersXchange, Creative FLIP). ECHN has also built up side initiatives to respond to current social challenges and needs such as Actions in times of urgency (during COVID-19 pandemic or dedicated to displaced Ukrainian CCS workers) and Creatives Unite (an online platform gathering pertinent initiatives and information). 

FLORENCE

In Florence, the initial concept is to investigate the underused space, a space that is not empty per se, but is lacking in purpose and meaning. It will challenge the usages, looking at adding new ecological value and meaning. The intervention will investigate the idea of rethinking spaces and places through relational and generative mechanisms, leveraging the role of artists as key actors for social and civic change.

LAMA Impresa Sociale is a consultancy agency for impactful change and innovation. LAMA supports organizations in designing, implementing, evaluating and communicating meaningful innovation strategies, through a systemic approach that takes together visions, roadmaps, positionings and  organizational models towards the achievement of sustainable and environmental impacts. LAMA is also the co-founder and managing organization of two creative hubs: Impact Hub Florence, a local social innovation hub and MIM –Made in Manifattura in Florence.

TIMIŞOARA

In Timişoara, the entry point will be to meet the needs of disadvantaged communities and work to counteract the ghettoization of the city through reclaiming the use of empty spaces to create vibrancy and new forms of temporary occupations. It will follow up PLAI’s recent work with TransEurope Halles in converting an unofficial garbage land into a community garden. The intervention will be a feature of European Capital of Culture 2023.

PLAI is a non-profit NGO that has started its social impact approach towards communities forming by the use of culture ever since 2006. Starting off with a volunteer-based Festival production has organically developed into a multilayer organization having three main values throughout its actions and projects: urban regeneration, human-centered approaches with a focus on inclusion of the vulnerable and multi-communities interactions. PLAI has always been drawn to develop projects starting with neglected spaces (from a forgotten Village Museum to the post-communist industrial sites that follow the trend of being demolished and replaced with the very typical real-estate development of high-density apartment flats and office buildings, to spaces in between outskirts neighbourhoods or the dynamics of a private property that no one cares about). PLAI’s experience with EU projects has started in 2018 and it focuses on subjects of urban regeneration, creative repurpose of the urban space in favour of communities and mixed audiences, as a partner of Cultural and Creative Spaces and Cities, EUREKA, and Subtopia. 

The project benefits from the expertise of INNOCAMP PL/Ashoka Network (Poland) in accelerating changemaking at city scale; Trajna/Krater Project (Slovenia) in eco-social practice and urban ecology; Savonia University (Finland) in building the analytical framework to systematise ecosystemic and ecological strategies in cultural urban regeneration and LAMA Impresa Sociale (Italy) in developping collective intelligence methodologies.