Clear Village founder Thomas Ermacora was one of the speakers at a recent TEDx conference held in Helsingborg, Sweden. The theme of the event was ‘The Tolerant City’ and it focused on the need for designing cities in a way that integrated communities and ensured the well-being of all residents.
Thomas discussed Clear Village’s Dynamic Dialogues project in Helsingborg earlier this year. This was a lab at the Helsingborg City Theatre which brought together over 40 people from all parts of the city. Each participant was given the tools to envisage and communicate their vision for the future of Helsingborg. The Helsingborg City Theatre offered to act as the catalyst for the change that the people asked for. The solutions that emerged from the two-day lab were integrated into the future plans and strategy of the Helsingborg City Theatre. An idea that came up repeatedly from the participants was the need for more openness and transparency within the community, particularly from institutions like local councils. Some of their suggestions have already been incorporated into the theatre’s fall programme.
Helsingborg is divided into two different parts by an invisible barrier – an affluent, economically safe Northern part and an economically deprived, industrial part that city planners seem to have forgotten to include in their plans for the city’s development. An important objective of Clear Village’s work in Helsingborg was to figure out ways to join these two fragments of Helsingborg society and facilitate the overall development of the city.
Other speakers also discussed their projects in Helsingborg. Kristoffer Nilsson of the H+ project talked about how the southern part of Helsingborg included everything that the northern part didn’t want, such as the factories and heating plants. The H+ project took this as its starting point and made plans to re-do this part of the city over the next 30 – 40 years. An interesting idea put forward by Nilsson was that the city’s overground railway tunnels played an important role in dividing the two parts of the city. As a consequence of that, one of the first physical manifestations of the H+ regeneration will be re-building them underground to remove the physical barriers that divided the city.
Not all the speakers were working specifically with Helsingborg as their project. Walter Thompson demonstrated his concept of Soundpainting and the way in which it could be used to facilitate communication between divided communities. Björn Kruse and Marcus Bellatreccia put on an interesting theatre performance telling the stories of children living with alcoholic parents in Sweden. Claes Foxerus talked about his general notion of a ‘tolerant city’.
Each presentation emphasised the need for better communication and cooperative development within cities. Every presenter suggested different ways of doing it. The event thus highlighted the idea that every community problem needed to be approached from different angles and that a number of solutions implemented together would bring the most success. All the speakers at the conference also brought out the fact that the involvement of the people who actually lived in the city was essential to develop a viable solution. Finally, the primary idea that emerged from the entire discussion was the urgent need to change the way in which cities were planned and consequently change the ways in which communities were created and divided.
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Information sourced from: tedxhelsingborg.com | All Rights Reserved