PROUD Partner Meeting in Helsinki World Design Capital 2012

The World Design Capital designation is a unique city promotion project that celebrates the accomplishments of cities that have used design as a tool to reinvent themselves and improve social, cultural and economic life

We had a busy schedule of PROUD partner meetings to exhange knowledge and update partners on progress in the transnational elements of PROUD such as the masterclasses and local co-design challenges. Partner meetings were complemented with invitations to relevant World Design Capital events where Helsinki featured its accomplishments in promoting urban revitalisation strategies as well as leveraging funding for many innovative design led projects.

We attended a seminar on Design led innovation for Active Ageing which showcased worldwide innovation in this area. We heard presentations from The Australian Centre for Social Innovation on its work in opening up solutions for radically redesigning services for families and late adulthood. A PROUD case study also featured called Silver is Gold. In this project designers work with the public authorities, industry, health-care instutions and elderly people to find ways to improve the public spaces in Eindhoven for the elderly and to stimulate them to come out of their homes and make use of public spaces.

On the final day we attened the Cities for All Conference focussing on Building Equality by Design. Marco Steinberg, strategic design director with the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, introduced the topic with a keynote on the “architecture of problems”: how to use strategic design and design thinking to solve complex societal problems and how the Helsinki Design Lab is introducing design thinking in interdisciplinary governmental decision-making.

This was followed by The Cities for All Pecha Kucha which brought together a wide range of different city design case histories from 8 different European countries. European cities have a remarkable (multi)cultural heritage and a particularly challenging historical environment to respect while tackling challenges of mobility, accessibility and quality of life and the Pecha Kucha was an ideal way of disseminating a lot of information and projects in an accessible and interesting way.

Our guest for the partner meeting Lucia Marquart from the Environment and Community Directorate within Lancashire County Council found the conference particularly useful in informing her work with communities as well as our Lancaster City park co-design challenge. The next PROUD partner meeting will take place in Kortrijk in October.