do 20/06

[WeMakeThe.City] Cities under pressure

‘Discussion led by Charles Landry about the possibilities of ‘creative bureaucracy’ in cities under pressure.

  • ‘Cities under pressure & its Creative Bureaucracy’ is part of the WeMakeThe.City program
  • Time: June 20, from 10.00–16.30 hours
  • Location: Commandantswoning, Building 001, Marineterrein
  • Organized by: Charles Landry, Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving and Bureau Marineterrein Amsterdam
  • This program is by invite only

The context

There is a vortex affecting a few cities across the globe. It acts like a vacuum cleaner sucking up the ambitious, the competent, expert people, power brokers, money or the new nomads as well as tourists from everywhere. It is creating a new level of problems both in scale and in kind in cities like Amsterdam, Berlin, Lisbon and increasingly Athens. Steadily and then suddenly as if in the blink of an eye the sheer volume of people and projects has swept over these cities and even overwhelmed them like a wave. Yet this pressure cooker process has had effects escalating several wicked problems that are difficult to address within simple free market thinking: The negative effects of gentrification, the crisis of affordable housing exacerbated by Airbnb, the takeover of city centres by tourists and travellers, the decline in locally distinctive shops, the dull blandness of chain stores.

The argument

Public bureaucracies across the globe face a converging, escalating crisis to solve these problems, but there are often innovative solutions to these issues, which our event will explore. It might mean doing things differently. Increasingly it is accepted that complex problems or deeper trends, areas we expect bureaucracies to lead on, will demand new ways of thinking and problem solving and especially the ability to partner and to connect across public, private and community divides.

The emerging movement

The Creative Bureaucracy project has three pillars: How the regulations and incentives regime can shift to reflect a 21st century way of operating to address complex problems; how the inner life of the bureaucracy can change to enable public administrators to operate at their best and third how new relations can be established between the city and citizens.

The Amsterdam Programme

The discussion will be framed in terms of discussing strategic dilemmas and getting beyond default solutions, topics include:

  1. Spreading versus density for a growing city
  2. Too much tourism
  3. Embedding cradle to cradle thinking and rules for a new economy
  4. Affordability & accessibility
  5. Authority and legitimacy: Is there a new multi-layer, multi-actor governance model or can existing ones adapt?