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jeudi
oct.052006

E-Urban Mission: 3. Standards and Empowerment [EN]

Who we are, what we do, what we want ... (3) 

This is the third part of a series of introductions to the drafting of the Mission Statement (Mission, Methods, People - MMP). The preceding ones are: E-Urban Mission: 1. Skills and E-Urban Mission: 2. Tools.

Standards 
In order to create a set of correct conditions under which we can do our work, certain standards should be agreed upon, or, if necessary, imposed, pertaining to the quality of the projects and the sustainability of their results, as well as the position of the urban practitioners engaged in the policy. Those standards should deal with

  • minimum flexibility of the project budgets, (for dealing with private partners, with public services and non-profit partners requires that the project team can dispose of its own budget),
  • minimum duration of the projects, (for, as we are working with people in order to activate them and develop their skills, a minimum delay of more than four years should be allowed, to get sustainable transformations in the behaviour and the social structure of the area concerned),
  • and sufficient dispositions for enabling a permanent self-evaluation process, with regular feed-back from the local partners and population as well as from the authorities acting as principals for the project (for, as the work progresses, new problems tend to come up as well as new possibilities, discovered in the interaction with the population and the partners in the project. This enables the project team to share responsibilities on an ever growing scale with the inhabitants and the partners, inciting them to see themselves as owners of the different elements of the project, and thus assuring a better sustainability of the outcomes.)

This is what is discussed in the "Standards" paper under "Urban Professionals" in the Mission-Methods-People department here on e-urban. [Not yet complete, input welcome].

Empowerment
However, in order to get to these better conditions, we have to standardise our own special and particular skills as well! We cannot expect from our commissioners that they limit their precious political elbow room for the sake of our blue eyes. That is why we need to organise, probably by ourselves,

  • a standard European licence for project leaders in urban regeneration, based upon an evaluation by a competent and respected international jury.

Why European? - It is true, that bigger countries like the UK (which has the longest experience in integrally approaching inner city problems and partnerships, and who are at this moment organising a "Skills Academy" that will issue diplomas), as well as France and Germany, could do it on their own. But a better solution for them and for the smaller countries lies with the European Union, who are co-financing on a large scale urban regeneration projects and are looking for criteria and standards to spend their money more efficiently.

In order to maintain the quality standards and to overcome the isolation in which most of us have to work, a system of supervision and intervision has to be put in place, between colleagues from all over Europe.

Ideally, this should be shouldered by an university-level set of courses (for researchers and senior UPs) and an academical one for practitioners in the field. But up to now, the academic world, stuck in its traditional sectors, has proven unable to scientifically master the requirements for such a new "specialisation", although there are lucky exceptions.

This matter is discussed in the paper under "Empowerment of U.P.'s" in the sidebar.

The next part of this series of introductions to the drafting of the E-Urban Mission Statement, is: E-Urban Mission: 4. Mission & Strategy

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