Capital of the Future: Ordinary People making an Extraordinary City

David Barrie, David Barrie & Associates M17 Contemporary Art Center, Kiev, Ukraine. May 25, 2011 Mail: Website: Twitter: @davidbarrie

We like objects of desire

But fashion is fickle

And global recession requires a new view of value creation

I run an economic consultancy and project production company that enables capital growth in cities and the improvement of people's lives.

what we do:
‡ Help design & deliver new urban infrastructure, buildings and public places in cities ‡ Support the start-up of new for-profit and nonprofit social ventures in cities ‡ Enable service innovation and the growth of creative economies ‡ Help clients win development agreements and approvals and capital growth in cities

We do this by:
‡ Creating and implementing creative and social action plans for cities ‡ Mobilizing communities ‡ Creating and managing new social business ventures ‡ Designing and delivering public projects

Clients and end-users of our work include:
‡ National and local government ‡ Real estate, housing and construction companies ‡ Entertainment industries ‡ NPO & NGO organizations

My early professional background was in media production

Producing, directing and executive producing TV documentaries on economics, society, art & culture

As a form of communication design, media production demands effective sequencing of action

Attention to building audiences and communities of viewers

And entertainment narrative thrives upon the creation of µtiny epics¶

This has influenced my work in urban renewal - but also, the power of crowds

A love for the extraordinary

And the power of human networks, revolutionized in modern culture by the internet

In the making of cities, you need to pay attention to the complexity of modern culture

Hit a key µsweet spot¶

And find opportunities for people to exchange interest, initiative and knowledge

Here are some projects that we have been involved with and speak to the theme of ordinary people helping to make an extraordinary city

The People¶s Supermarket (2009 - present)

The revival of a vacant retail premises as a commercial enterprise with social benefit

Members volunteer to work in the store in exchange for a discount on the price of their shopping

Every member has a say in the direction and strategy of the venture

The store is an experience, both for those who work for it, own a share in it and the 6000+ customers a week who visit and often buy lunch from our in-store recycled food waste service: The People¶s Kitchen

The contribution of ordinary people to the store in membership and time, enables us to discount the cost of certain basic products

The Castleford Project (2002 - 2007)

The improvement of eleven public places in a town in Yorkshire, England - including new public spaces, community ventures, art installations and sculpture by local and international artists

The creation of newly designed places featured the active creative, practical and decision-making involvement of and volunteering by local communities

Local people and businesses were at the centre of the process of designing and delivering urban development - acting as commissioner and client of the work, not just its beneficiary

In other words, the initiative promoted and delivered innovation by changing the hierarchy of power relationships

Middlesbrough Healthy Town (2006 - present)

Citizens of the town cultivate food in empty urban spaces

Developing and diversifying popular use of the cityscape through the initiative of a loosely connected federation of citizens and civic organizations

People elected to participate in the initiative and chose sites for cultivation

People were able to learn how to cook their crop in cookery classes called Kitchen Playgrounds

The final harvest was celebrated in a µtown meal¶ curated by an artist and attended by thousands of people

Designers mapped the initiative

µProductive urban landscapes¶ are now informing the spatial development of the town but are also a key part of its programme to improve the well-being of citizens

The initiative also µmarkettested¶ the creation of µgrowing spaces¶ in a large docklands development site on the edge of the town

Digital Butetown

(2009 - present)

A new digital media skills agency in Cardiff, Wales: a social venture started by a local creative organization that we have supported on behalf of a client who is an investor in real estate

The venture is designed to upskill local young people who live in the area in programming, coding and web production/design

The venture is linked to the development of major new creative industries cluster in the city

The first phase is close to completion with the creation of new drama production studios for the British Broadcasting Corporation

The next phase of work is the construction of a new Digital Media Center

The area adjacent to the site is deprived - but has a powerful creative and cultural history

Its physical urban landscape is often barren of street life

But if you map local people¶s life online, you find lots of vital human interaction

Could some of that energy and interest contribute to the economic and social prosperity of the area offline?

Phase 1 of Digital Butetown has provided some early support to local schools and existing local blogs

QuickTimeΠand a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture.

Extraordinary cities can be designed and built

Cities can be become extraordinary by providing new, fun experiences

Art has a role to play especially art that is located in the environment of the everyday

Beautiful new architecture can be valuable

But economic advantage and civic and social change can also be realized by enabling the expression of one value in particular

Give people opportunities to be who they want to be

Enable the innovation of products and services that support the economic growth of cities

Be true to the personality and identity of your own culture

Don¶t let your competitors define you

³We have idols but no models to follow. You have to define your own model.´ Nicolas Ghesquière, Balenciaga

Thank you!

David Barrie
David Barrie & Associates, London project design & delivery - creative/economic planning public involvement - social ventures Web: Mail: Twitter: @davidbarrie

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