Participation & Community Building

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody” – Jane Jacobs

Urbanist and activist Jane Jacobs expresses this eloquently in the ’60s: cities are created by everyone. Participation, co-creation, input and involvement: that is the core of our work – without it, no project with BRAND. Handled in the right way, it delivers incredible results. But it takes more than the usual informal consultative meeting. We treat participation as an experience: we inspire people to act.

Participation & community building

When your goal is to create a meaningful space, the input of current and future users is absolutely vital. It makes them feel involved and inspires them to be a part of the process. This is why we invite residents, visitors, entrepreneurs and civil society organisations to tell us their dreams, ambitions and needs. Our approach inspires – it injects energy into an area, and garners a wealth of information and ideas. And more often than not, it also creates a strong and enthusiastic community of ambassadors.

We make participation fun. We don’t simply ask people to share their ideas, we get them involved. For example by combining participation with programme of uses. We experiment, transforming an under-used city square into a cosy pop-up park, and speak to the stakeholders to find out what they think a city park should be. And throughout this, we encourage them to reimagine and co-create a better space in the city.

We don’t believe there’s a standard approach to inspiring people to act. Every space, every challenge and every group of stakeholders is unique. So each time we invite people to share ideas and get involved, we tailor our approach. Always putting people and their needs first.

Participation as a basis for place branding

Attractive places are like strong brands. We build their unique appeal and personality through place branding. Participation is the perfect way to establish the identity of a place. This unique DNA guides all of our place branding strategies. In partnership with our client and all stakeholders, we don’t simply define an area’s identity, we tap into users’ needs and ambitions. All of this is captured on one sheet of A3: the Urban Canvas, a clear visualisation of the place branding strategy and the course for the future.

Our projects always include encouraging people to share their ideas and get involved. The strategy we conceived for transforming the Amsterdamse Poort in Amsterdam Southeast, focused entirely on promoting local entrepreneurship, providing opportunities for local talent and collaboration with local people. In Almere we also visited the city to speak with locals and other stakeholders and, in only four weeks, gathered over 220 great ideas for a new city park.

Who for?

Municipalities, property owners, developers and all the other city makers who, like us, think you make the city together. Curious about how we get people motivated and excited to participate? Contact us, let’s talk!. We  look forward to working with you.