Project: Masterplan Public Space Slachthuiswijk
Location: Damwijk, Antwerp
Year | Duration: 2020 - now
Partners: Billie Bonkers, SWECO, POSAD MAXWAN
Client: AG VESPA, Stad Antwerpen
THE PROJECT'S CONTEXT AND OBJECTIVE
Antwerp has the ambition to redevelop the Slachthuis site, the Noordschippersdok and Lobroekdok. The goal is a mixed qualitative and accessible project with the main purpose of living, intertwined with services, recreation and business. The city, together with the private owners, has drawn up a master plan for the 18-hectare project area.
Antwerp appointed SWECO, POSAD MAXWAN and LOLA for the design of the public space. The goal is to start construction work in 2022. Createlli and Billie Bonkers won the assignment for participation and communication: involving the residents to use their field expertise to better attune the new public space to how the neighborhood functions today and to arrive at a supported plan.
These were two fundamental pillars of the proposal:
• Inclusion - the plan to involve residents and visitors, young and old, men and women, organized movements as well as silent witnesses and the socially disadvantaged.
• Inviting communication - pragmatic, positive and visually strong communication to effectively answer the big questions together.
Participation began in full COVID-19 lockdown. We had to implement the participation process creatively and adjust it very often. Thanks to good cooperation with the actors in the area, we have also succeeded.
In order to effectively involve the very diverse residents, we proposed a multi-channel participation: various activities tailored to the target groups. The multi-channel approach also made it possible to handle the lock-down flexibly.
In the preparation phase, we identified stakeholders and challenges, and worked with the design team, administration and field actors to fine-tune the content and process of the participation.
We translated the design into understandable themes and set up a program for:
• informing the public
• mapping the needs and wishes together
• making a supported proposals to the design
We provided information and inquiries through a digital survey, digital maps, walks with the neighborhood and workshops with children during the holidays and in the schools. In a co-creation week, we went deeper into the results of the survey and specific themes, together with the catering industry owners, the young people, the mothers in the neighborhood and socially engaged citizens. We closed the week with a feedback moment: a reflection on the conclusions together with the neighborhood.
About 600 residents and stakeholders participated a total of 731 times, including 208 children. The process was very rich in terms of content and counted on clear support from both the client and the neighborhood itself. The results are also available on https://slachthuiswijk.agvespa.be
During winter 20-21, the participation will enter a 2nd phase, then we will link the preliminary design back to the neighborhood.