This week marks parCitypatory’s second birthday! I am very proud to have made it this far and grateful to all of you for supporting me with your feedback, ideas and contributions.
Exciting news: I decided to make a dream come true and expand parCitypatory into a consultancy. It will continue as a blog in the way you know it, but I have added a whole new section to showcase my experience in urban consultancy, of course focusing on citizen participation! I am now looking for NGOs, governments or any other actors who might need a consultant, so please help me spread the word. Read more about the parCitypatory Consultancy and current projects here.
Currently, I am dedicating a lot of time to my new project cdmXberlin, which celebrates the 25th anniversary of the city partnership between Mexico City and Berlin. Knowing both cities, I am very happy and grateful to be able to work on this. In a participatory process, I am collecting the favourite places of the inhabitants of both cities and in a few months, these will result in the artistic creation of a ficticious third city that combines the best of two worlds. Check out some of the ideas and places on Instagram! Luckily, I am being supported by the German Embassy in Mexico City, the GIZ, the World Design Week as well as the World Design Capital (which is Mexico City this year), but I am open to new cooperations and inputs! Please take a minute to register your favourite place in any of the two cities in these surveys for Berlin or Mexico City respectively.
Regarding parCitypatory blog, here is a review of all the articles I published this year with the help of amazing guest authors:
My own experience in Manchester made me think a lot about Women and the City. I then turned my notes from a conference I visited in Zurich a while ago into an article about affordable housing. After that, and inspired by my time at The University of Manchester, parCitypatory published a series on different participatory methods that are supposed to act like a toolbox. So far, this toolbox includes transect walks, auto-photography and participatory mapping.
Of course, my time in Manchester had to end with Voices from Manchester. The amazing tour guide Josh wrote a very poetic and extremely popular ode to the city it is quite long, but definitely worth the read! Voices from Accra are a summary of my Masters dissertation on the eviction attempts in Ghanas capital and the strategies of residents to resist these unfair practices. Voices from Hamburg is focused on homelessness, whereas Voices from Ougadougou presents a beautiful, colourful street art festival in Burkina Faso. Travel the world by reading these very different article, which are all linked by the red thread of participation in cities.
Adbusting is an innovative and somewhat radical method to participate in the city and you can learn more about it here. Another article talks about the trend of smart participation, especially in smart cities in Africa, and asks whether this is a contradiction or not. For many more innovative practices, check out parCitypatorys Instagram account! You can also look at it if you do not have a profile on Instagram.
One of the most important documentaries I watched last year was Citizen Jane: Battle for the City about my idol, Jane Jacobs, and her fight to keep Manhattan car-free and people-friendly in the 1960s! I also recommended a conference on participatory mapping and reviewed a book that talks about how to fund cooperative initiatives on the city level. This is such an important topic and if you are interested, you can actually download a free exemplar of the book here.
Apart from the blog articles, parCitypatory can also be found on other pages as a guest author! I have published two articles with the University of Manchester, one about the resettlement of Syrian refugees to the UK and another one about the eviction of informal settlements in Ghana. For Femmes et Villages, there is a contribution of parCitypatory on the question What makes women feel safe in public space?, and regular cooperations with City Explorations Network and Urbanplannerke on Instagram and their respective websites have been a great experience as well. At the RC21 Rethinking Urban Global Justice Conference in Leeds I gave a presentation about the re-introduction of contestation into Barcelonas urban planning politics and finally, there are some upcoming articles for TRIALOG, URBANET and Politik und Gesellschaft in the making – I will keep you updated, of course!
I hope you enjoyed reading this summary and maybe going through some of last years blog posts. Thank you again for your continuous support of parCitypatory I am enjoying this adventure so much and hope you do, too! As always, I am very open for feedback, ideas, suggestions and criticism.
Copyright header image: Cappadocia Balloons by halbag via flickr, CC BY2.0