NEB ambition

The ultimate ambition of the New European Bauhaus is to achieve transformation. To do this, the NEB Compass has identified specific levels of ambition that outline the desired outcomes for each of the NEB values.

Action areas

These areas refer to the five key domains of intervention that CrAFt's New European Bauhaus Impact Model considers essential for guiding and evaluating complex urban initiatives.

Participation level

The participation level refers to the degree or extent to which individuals or groups are actively involved or engaged in a particular activity, project, or process. It assesses the depth of their involvement, contributions, and commitment, ranging from minimal or passive participation to active and dedicated participation.

NEB values

The New European Bauhaus (NEB) aims to promote the values of sustainability, aesthetics, and inclusion in the design and transformation of urban spaces. It emphasises the integration of environmental, social, and economic considerations to create harmonious and innovative living environments.

Implementation Stage

According to the Smart City Guidance Package, there are seven stages to plan and implement smart city projects. These stages propose a logical and coherent roadmap for city initiatives involving many stakeholders.

Art as a way to re-explore the world

Madeleine Kate McGowan is an artist with a background in arts, speculative design, and ecology. Her innovative Garden Caretaker project, transforms urban spaces by integrating art, communities and ecological practices. Her work emphasises the interconnectedness of human and non-human life. Discover her Garden Caretaker project in Denmark.


  • Integration of art and ecology: Madeleine's Garden Caretaker project is an excellent example of how art and ecological practices can coexist and enrich urban development.
  • Community engagement and sustainability: Transforming a former asphalt factory into a residential area, Madeleine inspires dialogue and action around sustainability and community well-being, promoting a holistic approach to urban development.
  • Alignment with the New European Bauhaus: Madeleine integrates the NEB principles into her work and sets an example of how to address environmental and societal challenges effectively, advocating for a more interconnected and ecologically conscious world.

Madeleine Kate McGowan, an Irish-Danish artist, has a unique upbringing that has deeply influenced her art. Growing up in Benin, Denmark, and Italy, she considers herself part of a geo-social elite, privileged with the opportunity to move across borders. This diverse cultural exposure has shaped her into a visionary artist deeply immersed in the multifaceted exploration of art, ecology, and societal transformation. With a background in arts, speculative design, and ecology, Madeleine’s work is a compelling narrative of creative endeavour and philosophical inquiry.

Currently, Madeleine is the artistic leader at NXT, where she created The Garden Caretaker project as an official Lighthouse Demonstrator, part of the New European Bauhaus. The Garden Caretaker project, a transformative initiative led by Madeleine in Herlev, Denmark, is turning a former asphalt factory site into a residential area.

This project, unlike traditional caretaking roles, combines practical building maintenance with artistic and sensory practices. According to Madeleine’s concept, garden caretakers are knowledgeable about aesthetics, emotions, stories, and biology, facilitating connections between residents, the landscape, and other species. By embodying the role of garden caretaker and engaging with local communities, Madeleine seeks to inspire meaningful dialogue and action around sustainability and community well-being.

Central to Madeleine’s artistic practice is the concept of habitability, an alternative to growth-centric ideologies that emphasise the interconnectedness of human and non-human life forms. Through the lens of habitability, Madeleine explores the notion of belonging and the importance of understanding and valuing local ecosystems and communities. This philosophical underpinning informs Madeleine’s approach to community engagement and ecological stewardship, driving her work within the Garden Caretaker project.

This project demonstrates that Madeleine’s artistic work is characterised by a deep sense of connection to place and community. Working within the landscape of an old asphalt factory, she embraces the concept of “being of place”, a process that involves deep engagement with the unique characteristics and histories of a given location. Through this process, Madeleine uncovers hidden ecologies and fosters a sense of belonging among residents, challenging perceptions of so-called “unattractive” or “boring” spaces.

In addition to the Garden Caretaker project, Madeleine’s artistic practice extends to community engagement and education. Through collaborations with schools and healthcare institutions, she facilitates immersive experiences that encourage participants to reconnect with their surroundings and explore the beauty and complexity of the natural world.

Through activities like landscape walks and listening sessions, Madeleine fosters a deeper appreciation for the interconnectedness of all living beings and encourages a sense of stewardship and responsibility towards the environment.

In conclusion, Madeleine’s story exemplifies artistic innovation, ecological stewardship, and community engagement. Through her work with the Garden Caretaker project, she challenges conventional paradigms and advocates for a more holistic and sustainable approach to urban development.

Madeleine’s project aligns with the principles of the New European Bauhaus, and by integrating these values into her work, she sets a powerful example of how to address environmental and societal challenges meaningfully.

Written by Jose Rodriguez
Photos by Dagmar Knerova, Prague House