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.

What if Dumbo was not an elephant? CrAFt Sandboxing in Bologna

Bologna is an excellent example of urban regeneration through experimental interventions in collaboration with a wide array of stakehold­ers, including local business, grassroots organ­isations, public institutions and academia. 

CrAFt Sandbox Cities

One of the many activities conducted by the CrAFt team involves urban sandboxing in three European cities: Amsterdam, Prague and Bologna. 

Urban sandboxing refers to creating temporary, low­-cost and adaptable interventions in public spaces within a city, typically to test new ideas, designs or policies before committing to perma­nent changes. The term ‘sandbox’ is based on the idea of a play­ ground where children are encouraged to experiment and test their ideas without fear of failure. 

Similarly, urban sandboxing encourages exper­imentation in public spaces to improve the urban environment and enhance the quality of life for residents. This approach often involves collab­oration between urban planners, designers, community members and other stakeholders to create innovative and flexible solutions that can be adapted and refined over time. 

Urban sandboxing can take many forms, including pop­up parks, temporary bike lanes, community gardens and public art instal­lations. By providing a platform for experimen­tation and collaboration, urban sandboxing can help cities to become more resilient, sustain­ able, and responsive to the needs of their residents. 

In the case of the CrAFt Sandbox City of Bologna, the University of Bologna in collab­oration with the Municipality identified several urban areas that are abandoned and degraded. These areas represent a unique opportunity to regenerate through experimental interventions in collaboration with a wide array of stakehold­ers, including local business, grassroots organ­isations, public institutions and academia. 

What if Dumbo was not an elephant?

Bologna is home to a particular project, a tem­porary urban regeneration space called DumBO

The name stands for Distretto Urbano Multifun­zionale di Bologna, and it’s a place where crea­tivity, culture and community collide. 

The old railyard where DumBO is located is almost 40,000 square metres. It remains the property of FS Sistemi Urbani – a company 100% owned by the Italian State Rail­ ways – that has the task of redeveloping and enhancing infrastructures that are no longer functional for railway operations. The space is temporarily licensed for four years to a joint ven­ture composed of Open Group and Eventeria. The area includes six buildings totalling over 18,000 square meters, plus 20,000 square metres of outdoor space. 

Sheds and open areas have been trans­ formed into spaces for social activities, art, music and sports, all in close relation to the sur­ rounding territory. But DumBO is much more than just a temporary multifunctional space. It’s a project that combines social integration, enter­tainment, culture, experimentation, sustaina­bility and collaboration. DumBO is, therefore, a place where associations, businesses and cit­izens can collaborate and contaminate each other’s ideas, fostering new and innovative approaches to city development. 

The project involves a strategic area of the city, and it has a solid experimental con­ notation as an example of the temporary use of spaces open to the territory and citizen partic­ipation. To ensure that the project stays true to its values, a Scientific Committee was created with consulting functions to support the method and the path of co­-design of activities and the use of space. 

The Scientific Committee includes some of the most influential players in the com­munity, such as the Comune di Bologna, Dipar­ timento Cultura e Promozione della città, Fondazione per l’Innovazione Urbana, Lega­ coop Bologna and Performa Architettura + Urbanistica. They work together to ensure the project remains inclusive, sustainable and innovative. 

Dumbo and the New European Bauhaus

Here the focus is not only on economic devel­opment but also on inclusion through the pro­ motion of everyday life practices that reflect the collective narrative of the different communities in the area. 

The DumBO project promotes a local identity that celebrates the urban landscape and engages professionals, artists, and society in a collaborative effort to regenerate aban­doned spaces. By reusing these areas and inte­grating collective expressions of art, DumBO serves as a co­-collaborative example of urban regeneration. 

In essence, the New European Bauhaus princi­ples form the foundation of the DumBO project, which encourages sustainability and economic development through the inclusive and alterna­tive approach of the community. The result is a unique urban space that embodies the spirit of collaboration, creativity, and renewal. 

A project for and by the community

Different communities co­exist in DumBO. Each has unique expressions and initiatives that pro­ mote a sustainable, inclusive and beautiful way of living and observing the city. From public debates to live art, the citizens are active con­tributors to the project and participate in the whole process. 

Activities are organised for all people, from children to vulnerable groups and older people. People with special needs are included in activities such as the sustainable mobility – cicloturismo – events which takes place in the spring term. 

It’s heartening to see that DumBO’s design process is open and inclusive, thanks to the co­-creative and co­-collaborative approach. For example, the project Bologna Attiva is a shin­ ing example of public engagement with the cit­izens. Located within DumBO, it is a human, urban, and social regeneration project that aims to experiment with new responses to the chal­lenges posed by the changing world of work. 

At Bologna Attiva, a significant number of co-working spaces, study rooms, proximity services for students, professional accompani­ment paths, mutualism and cultural and com­munity activities have been created. Its objectives are to redefine the spaces of DumBO in line with the needs expressed by the city and the neighbourhood, favouring a civic re­-appro­priation of the area.

Indeed, in DumBO, it’s not just about the project itself but about the people around it who come together to promote a more sus­tainable, inclusive, and beautiful way of living. 

Written by Jose Rodriguez, European Cultural Foundation, in collaboration with Konstantina Douka and Leonardo Camelli, researchers at the University of Bologna.

Photography by José Rodríguez, European Cultural Foundation.

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NEB Values

Participation level

Implementation stage

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