Living initiative map Charlois

    The “Living Initiatives Map” is a study about the possible use of initiatives as an instrument for organic area development. The research area is Oud-Charlois, Carnisse and Tarwewijk.

    Living initiative map Charlois

    The energy of the initiative

    The starting point for the “living initiative map” is to make the existing energy in the neighborhoods visible to all involved. To properly use and direct social energy, you need communication mechanisms, opportunity cards and matchmaking instruments. You have to unravel the initiatives, systematize, strengthen them, link to each other and their needs and literally give them a place. In addition to knowledge development, knowledge exchange and connecting people are required.

    The research started with the simple question “What is an initiative?”: According to Van Dale, an initiative is the first step or start. This indicates that initiatives are the start of something new and serve as a starting point for development and growth.

    It is striking that initiatives in Charlois are not necessarily small-scale. In addition to the well-known façade garden and opzomer mee actions (these are not included in this study), there are many initiatives that are supported by a group of residents, by the church or by entrepreneurs, who are renovating elevators that have fallen into disrepair with unemployed young people. This diversity shows that it is not easy to ignore initiatives. Also there is a clear concentration of initiatives, so promising spots and blind spots are clearly visible on the map.

    In addition, there is a difference between initiative, activities and organization. Most initiatives in Charlois are well organized, often in a foundation, and offer regular activities. The range of different activities is diverse. Often these initiatives start from a need that citizens have and ensure recognition. Few initiatives are concerned with the public space. Furthermore, there are much larger social organizations active in Charlois.

    To get a good overview of the nature of an initiative, various background information and metadata have been collected per organization or activity. This information is summarized in an initiative book.

    In the conversations it emerges that initiatives are most interested in visibility and connection with others. Initiators do not always feel taken seriously by the municipality and other large, traditional players. The wish not only to participate but to be part of the decision making process is mentioned. Here are opportunities. An initiative book, as set up here, can meet this crucial need of bottom-up initiatives, to become stronger through connection with others.

    What is currently missing is a link between different layers of knowledge and the exchange of knowledge between different parties active in an area. In the future, the map will be linked to a broad inventory of initiatives, vacancy, management and cash flows. This has a strengthening effect. For example, it is possible to link management and maintenance budgets for the public space to an initiative to realize it.