In Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal or Tunisia, the urban fabric is invented and reinvented with and for inhabitants to ensure fair, inclusive urban development. This dynamic, launched by Agence française de développement via the Urban incubators programme, is now entering into a phase of exchange, sharing and development of synergies with the Urban incubator network’s first cross-exchange mission.
Since 2018, the Urban incubators programme, funded by Agence française de développement (AFD), has been testing new ways to design public space, in close proximity with future users. Today, four schemes are up and running in Ouagadougou, Dakar, Abidjan and several cities in Tunisia, where rapid urbanisation requires proximity interventions designed collectively, drawing on larger-scale structural urban development programmes.
An exchange network under construction
The urban incubators, accompanied by a facilitation programme led by a consortium of stakeholders (made up of GRET, UrbaMonde, UrbaSEN and Cabanon Vertical), are participating in the construction of an international network of stakeholders working on coproduction approaches in cities, as part of a profusion of frugal, participative urban planning initiatives.
Among the resources available to the network, in 2021, the facilitation programme launched a cycle of exchanges between the incubators, so that they could meet and learn from each other. This is the framework in which the very first incubator exchange mission was organised, from 21 to 27 February 2021 in Ouagadougou!
Together with its partner the Municipal agency for major works, the Ouagadougou incubator team, led by GRET, welcomed a four-member delegation from the Dakar incubator, representing GRET, UrbaSEN, Collectif Etc and UrbaMonde, and a representative from the Dakar executive urban transport council (Cetud).
An inspiring first mission…
Although the main objective of this mission was for people to meet, get to know each other and consolidate ties between the members of the up-and-coming Incubator collective, the agenda of discussions was full throughout the week!
The mission’s schedule was constructed collectively, as highlighted by one of the participants, who added that this made it possible to organise “pertinent exchange workshops (…) enabling all the incubators to work on subjects that make sense in light of the state of progress of their project”. These thematic workshops also provided an opportunity to share experiences, tools and working methods for the implementation of certain key stages in an incubator, in particular calls for citizen initiatives, diagnoses of uses, co-design and co-management of public spaces.
In addition to these work sessions, site visits to the Ouagadougou incubator and emblematic places in the city, and discussions with local partners were organised. Productive debates were held by day and by night, making it possible to strengthen the teams’ reciprocal knowledge and incubator projects underway, their activities, challenges and specificities. Lastly, this mission enabled each team to inform its strategic reflections and enrich its programme of activities. According to one participant, this mission is a “fine initiative that allowed us to discuss reciprocal professional practices and learn things to improve these”.
The mission also led to the production of the very first episode of “Radio Pépit’, the radio for capit’”, on the urban incubators and the profusion of urban initiatives. The first show, “Dakar meets Ouagadougou”, was co-constructed with the two teams and recorded in Ouagadougou during the mission. It was subsequently produced with the dual objective of presenting an overview of the mission to the incubator network, and capitalising on experiences.
… and an enriched incubator facilitation programme!
Having conducted this first mission, the facilitation programme is continuing its programme for cross-exchanges between the urban incubators, and organised a mission by the Ouagadougou incubator from 12 to 17 April to meet the Abidjan incubator team.
The programme has just launched its open source digital documentation and dissemination platform on incubators and similar approaches to participative, frugal, tactical, transitory urban planning… For more information, log onto pepinieres-urbaines.org
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