Urban LAB in the oil region of Forus (or how to use economic innovation for social innovation) // Europan 13 Competition, Stavanger, Norway (1st Prize)

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via PLAYstudio

We understand that economic innovation cannot be an end in itself but a means to the urban and social innovation. Our goal, therefore, is to propose a new model of society linked to a new urban model and promoted by a new economic model. This ideology will structure the project.

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Therefore, as F. Ascher raises in his Les nouveaux principes de l’urbanisme (2004) we do not propose the construction of a result but a kind of “middle-out” experimental process, which we call FORUS LAB, where Top-Down and Bottom-Up strategies intermingle. This suggests a horizontal approach, by means of networks, with a wide range of actors-mediators where processes are constantly renegotiated in an exercise that can be more inclusive and diverse in order to make conflicts visible. It is conceived as a comprehensive urban strategy -social, cultural, economic, and environmental- that will run in parallel to the process of change of the economic model in the region (20-30 years). It is structured into 3 groups of operations linked to 3 phases in time:

 

Phase 1 / Forus Hub

Phase 2 / Cluster_0

Phase 3 / Innovation Axis

 

The production model chosen to encourage innovation is the laboratory, since it allows the intersection between public participation and executive decision.

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1 Innovation Hub

As a pilot test, in this group of refurbished buildings suitable conditions are set for the various actors, institutions, companies, associations, etc. (local, national or international) to exchange information and knowledge, generating creative and innovative synergies.

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The results of the Forus Hub test define not only the exporting guidelines of an economic model but above all, of an urban model. Its design allows, on the other hand, not only testing programs and initiatives but also spatial and building typologies as well as public spaces. The Cluster_0 will be the pilot area where to complete the experiment of a new urban identity associated with Forus Lab.

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The lessons learned in the urban context in consolidating the Forus_Hub and Cluster_0 should serve as a valid knowledge to establish the basis of the progressive development of the conurbation from the determination of different clusters with their “post-oil” new structures capable of expressing future values through images of their own historical memory.

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