Imagine your neighbour knocking on your door: “Hi, how are you? Do you have a few minutes? I have an idea I want to share with you… Imagine that we could temporarily transform our street into a beautiful green meeting place for the neighbourhood? We would remove the cars, just for a few months and see what happens. What do you think?” In 2013, precisely these kind of simple questions inspired the inhabitants of the first two Living Streets. In the meantime the Living Street triggered the imagination of hundreds of citizens and led to more than 50 Living Streets in Ghent and inspired many other cities.
Dreaming of a sustainable and social future
Thanks to Living Street, hundreds of Ghent citizens could work together to create a street of their own. After dreaming and coming up with ideas, the residents rolled up their sleeves, unrolled the turf, setted up barbecues, created meeting places and so much more. By creating their own Living Street, these citizens were experimenting with the sustainable mobility of the future, creating a new approach to urban space and reinforcing social links by multiplying interactions among citizens
New ways of co-creation
The Living Streets explored and developed new ways of collaboration among the Ghent citizens, municipal services, companies and many more city stakeholders. They were doing this by challenging each other in a smart way in terms of thinking, acting, understanding one another and learning.
The Ghent Living Streets demonstrated how to put co-creation into practice to find creative solutions for social challenges. All parties involved have always seen the Living Street as an experiment: successes and failures provide lessons for anyone keen to continue building Living Streets.
For the citizens, a Living Street functions as a common project and as such an impulse for dialogue and dynamics with their neighbours, other street users and the city. During the experiment, they look for answers and solutions to problems that arise while organising the Living Street. Knowledge, experience and concepts are tested in a learning-by-doing approach that will make life easier in the unfolding sustainable and sociable city.