Unlimited Cities DIY
Unlimited Cities DIY
Solution proposed by:
7 Billion Urbanists
In a Nutshell:
Unlimited Cities DIY is an innovative interactive digital tool (open source and free) for Collaborative Urbanism. It offers the ability to act together by allowing everyone to give and share ideas for the public spaces of a neighborhood. It structures these ideas to communicate with urban professionals and local authorities.
Where and When:
Paris, 2015 Berlin, 2015 Wroclaw, may 2015 Lyon, France, avril 2016 Wuhan, China, may 2016 Saint-Nazaire, ongoing
Unlimited Cities DIY addresses the challenges of enabling the co-construction of resilient, sustainable cities using collaborative urbanism. According to the United Nations, urban professionals have failed, for generations, to meet collective values and needs. Instead, they have built cities with rising inequalities that are increasingly unsustainable. This is why it is now necessary to co-build cities with civil societies, and not only for landowners. The major issue is therefore the lack of dialogue between different stakeholders and civil society on the subject of any urban project.
Unlimited Cities DIY facilitate the dialogue between civil society and professionals. Our solution is unique both in Europe and worldwide, because of our multidisciplinary approach that combines urban experts and tech entrepreneurs – meaning that there is no competing solution with a similar approach. Our solutions come directly from the problems cities and urban professionals face. With our Open Data approach, we ensure citizens’ ideas are used and truly change urban reality. Unlimited Cities DIY has been designed to adapt to all kinds of areas: vulnerable urban areas, rich, tropical, temperate, central, peripheral, in a state of emergency or in development.
Collaborative urbanism is an innovative approach to urban planning, allowing a dialogue between all stakeholders (municipalities, urban professionals and civil society: city dwellers, inhabitants, associations, etc.). Rather than working with isolated groups, collaborative urbanism helps minds intersect. Cities thus access a new sustainability and become more resilient, benefiting from the advantages offered by digital interconnectivity. Collaborative Urbanism is becoming a new paradigm for shaping contemporary cities. It’s enabled by the collective intelligence that catalyze collaborative thinking and share it globally to improve effective civic participation in the city making. The urban quality of life is in the center of these concepts. We are convinced that the inhabitants and their practice of the city should be both the engine and the finality of urban transformations. Digital technologies allow for the first time and at a large scale to involve the civil society and establish a real dialogue with all involved stakeholders. These ideas are in line with Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda and the solution is especially focused on the realization of the concept of Cities for All, with the major role of the urban co-construction and involvement of the civil society as major actors of urban transformations.
Unlimited Cities DIY consists of an web app (working on all operation systems and devices: tablets, smartphones, PC, Mac) that allows to collect and visualize the needs and desires of inhabitants and different populations and to automatically structure the results collected on a large scale. The organized data are then easily usable by policy makers. With such an Open Source and free tool, any inhabitant of the world can participate in the co-construction and improvement of their city. The first step allows users to take a picture of the urban environment, and then to transform it by dragging elements (trees, bike lanes, shops) from the app’s image database, placing them in the location of their choice and scaling them. Then, the image created is placed on the general map and shared with the community. The images can be organized according to different criteria. It creates a common content and knowledge and incites users to organize exchanges around it. The third step is conceived to maximize chances of transforming and improving the reality of a neighborhood by semantic analysts and image recognition so that the application can use the data and meta-data produced by users to automatically generate a complete analysis report. The report will identify the issues and opportunities involved, the directions and approaches and the results in a clear and operational way. It can be used as a strong link between the knowledge produced by the city’s app users and knowledge carried out by professionals. For example for the improvement of informal housing, funded by UN-habitat and the World Bank. Also, it will enable to instigate inhabitants’ participation, as advocated by the charters of sustainable development. Environments conceived this way will spur chances of creating quality and sustainable projects and the feeling of sharing a common world.
Whenever the solution is used, it changes the way of thinking about urban transformations. It shows how important and in the same time easy it is to share users’ ideas for a neighborhood or a city and to compare the urban transformations envisioned in different countries. For example in Wuhan, China, the solution was used to enable a dialogue between peasants of a disadvantaged rural area and students from the HUST University in Wuhan to create new economical dynamics. Unlimited Cities DIY is a great tool to implement the New Urban Agenda that will be signed during Habitat III.