NOTE: The complete Brief is currently available for download at this link, the following text is an abridged summary.
Many European cities are looking to redesign their public spaces. After the COVID-19 lockdown, public spaces became too crowded, making it impossible to ensure safe social distancing.
FURNISH (Fast Urban Responses for New Inclusive Spaces and Habitat) aims to merge the challenge of having more public spaces through ‘tactical urbanism’, which can reconfigure a street expanding the space for pedestrians and leisure, with local digital manufacturing, through the quick and effective deployment of urban elements in a neighbourhood.
FURNISH will organize an open call for makers and designers in Europe, whose goals go further than preventing the spread of COVID-19 by enlarging public spaces, to also increase local digital fabrication capacities.
Recently, we have observed that society is more than ready to collaborate to fight against COVID-19, as demonstrated by the decentralized provision of digitally fabricated materials to medical staff during the pandemic. FURNISH aims to empower local citizens by giving them a chance to participate in the creation of their own city’s new image, and to create a community of ‘tactical urbanism first responders’ empowered by digital fabrication.
Participating teams will work on new mobility projects and design temporary mobile urban elements to reconfigure public spaces. The projects will envision the reorganization of public spaces through the deployment of these temporary urban elements.
Ultimately, the process will result in pilot installations documented as an open-source repository of knowledge related to urban planning, mobility, social behavior, and temporary urban elements that can be reproduced anywhere in the world.
Aims: FURNISH promotes the following principles.
CATALYZE MOBILITY SOLUTIONS FOR 21ST CENTURY CITIES
The mission of the EIT Urban Mobility initiative includes demonstrating how new technologies can work to transport people, freight and waste in smarter ways; decarbonizing mobility; boosting the competitiveness of the mobility industry; encouraging all urban mobility stakeholders to work together; and decongesting mobility networks. Decongesting mobility networks is especially relevant in the COVID-19 era due to the newfound need for maintaining safe physical distance. FURNISH proposals will help to further this mission.
PUBLIC SPACE EXPANSION
Due to necessary reduction of pedestrian density to avoid congestion, new public spaces will need to be gained, often in a temporary way. FURNISH proposals will help expand public space in areas temporarily cut off from circulation or otherwise gained.
INCREASED DISTANCE FOR SOCIAL COHESION
Increased physical distance should not imply increased social distance. FURNISH proposals will incorporate lack of congestion as a positive value, prompting public space appropriation and helping to generate new communities and reinforce existing ones.
INDOORS TO OUTDOORS
Many activities traditionally happening indoors may begin to happen outdoors. FURNISH proposals will facilitate cultural, educational, recreational and commercial activities to take place in public space.
Both the construction and customization of the physical urban elements and their on site implementation, activation and use must be simple and open in order to facilitate scaling and replication. FURNISH proposals will foster DIY logics in both the object and its implementation in public space.
RESILIENCE AND SUSTAINABILITY
The horizon of sustainability must be addressed in all its complexity: material, economic, social and ecological. FURNISH proposals will promote 1) full life cycle consideration of the materials used 2) economic sustainability 3) city resilience and social cohesion 4) positive influence on health, wellbeing and ecological systems.
Background: About EIT Urban Mobility.
EIT Urban Mobility aims to accelerate solutions and the transition towards a user-centric, integrated and truly multimodal transport system. As the leading European innovation community for urban mobility, EIT Urban Mobility works to avoid fragmentation by facilitating collaboration between cities, industry, academia, research and innovation to solve the most pressing mobility challenges of cities. Using cities as living labs, its industry, research and university partners will demonstrate how new technologies can work to solve real problems in real cities by transporting people, goods and waste in smarter ways.
For more information visit: www.eiturbanmobility.eu