We work as a network and invite design and city agencies, international development professionals, business-people, concerned citizens and urbanists to collaborate with us on new project ideas, or on new ideas for old problems.
We believe that making cities more sustainable, resilient and vibrant is a collective effort that must be approached by people from all sectors, backgrounds and disciplines.
We believe that cities, communities and localities hold the potential to solve some of the gravest challenges of our time; from the democratic deficit or unsustainable practices to feelings of alienation and exclusion.
They represent an antidote to the anonymity of the online world, a reality check on our prejudices, and an opportunity to drive joint solutions. We are currently exploring four different service types.
Area Based Approaches
For better coordination between projects and more tailored approaches.
There is a clear lack of spatial orchestration of projects and activities within urbanising areas, whether they are conducted within or between sectors. Cities are also growing beyond their administrative limits and involve multiple layers and dovetailing sets of issues. While urban and/or regional planning has typically coordinated activities and enabled cities to plan for the future, the speed of urban growth and the multiplication of actors, in particular in developing world cities means that new tools and efforts must be deployed for city administrations and others hoping to build efficient and impactful urban projects.
We offer spatial-focused consolidation of programs, policies and projects; including spatial CSR strategies for businesses;
We formulate tailored spatial strategies and working methods for project owners and city authorities hoping to provide better coordination and project efficiencies across urbanizing areas;
We provide business development strategies for urban-related industries looking to develop new types of products or services across urbanizing areas; including consultation for Tech companies with an urban focus;
We design and provide support for area-based interventions that look at social, political and physical solutions to urban renovation on the neighborhood or district level.
Blending Public and Private Solutions
Neither sector can make successful cities without the other.
For cities to work better they need to improve both their soft (institutions, businesses, services) and hard infrastructure (buildings and infrastructure). Most importantly, they must ensure that these choices serve the current needs as well as the future growth potential and aspirations of the city or region. Private and public sectors no longer have predestined roles, even if evidence points to a certain comparative aptitude of the public or private sectors for particular tasks. While Public Private Partnerships have existed for some time, to varying levels of success, the speed, and soaring economic value of urban development has often brought about a deterioration or reduction of public goods that are essential to making cities liveable places. Private businesses also have an urban imprint, and we are helping them to consolidate their support for communities and employees alike. We currently offer the following services, primarily to project developers and managers from the private and non-profit sectors but also to urban authorities or administrative entities hoping to improve working methods:
We chair, lead, facilitate and support negotiations between private, public and community level entities for urban projects;
We provide ‘Search and Approach’ services for cities, administrations or companies looking for project partners;
We provide Local Economic Development (LED) planning and project implementation that enshrines the importance of the local economic fabric;
We help with expansion planning for companies working on urbanising markets and provide advice on the implementation of Corporate Social Reponsibility (CSR) programs.
We develop specific communication tools and methods for public and private partners to ensure project transparency;
We work with urban administrations to develop methods of coordination and communication across departments and silos.
City voices make for better projects
Increasingly, policy-makers, civil-servants, businesses and citizens alike understand that one type, or level of government is unable to respond to the complex interests of a city, or a city project. Participatory or community based processes have proven essential not only for enhancing project ownership, but also for overall efficiency and impact. Equally, centralised, top-down government is needed for financing, supervision, continuity and replication at scale. WfC works with project owners and advocates of all types on formulation, development or project strategy to find the best balance in this delicate alchemy. We develop, align, assess and create projects that cater to urban complexity, developing with project owners the systemic solutions that demonstrate the value add of the blending of perspectives. We currently offer the following services, primarily to government or community-level actors:
We formulate and apply citizen methodologies for project development;
We develop and design stakeholder engagement strategies for new or ongoing urban projects;
We provide dialogue or empowerment training for all levels and types of government or communities;
We provide empowerment training for local communities in methods of advocacy and engagement with decision-makers at different levels.
We work for companies or national governments to explore how to engage in a more impactful way with participatory methodologies and the communities and interest groups that are managing them.
Design for Local and Global
We help cities to make design choices that make sense for uniqueness as well as progress.
Urban culture produce and host specific industries and services and activities that contribute to the design of spaces in a specific city. At the same time global tastes and influences bring chains and brands increasingly affecting cities around the world. Our designers and branding specialists work on:
We advise global brands about positioning and design choices in specific urban markets;
We develop branding strategies and products for the roll out of urban specific industries and products;
We work with local administrations on urban creativity that is couched in local culture;
We collaborate on place-making together with architects and urban design firms to make sure processes are realistic, impactful and strategic.