What happens at the presentation showing the results of a week collaborative work between 14 creative professionals? Ever seen an audience bark like dogs and bleat like goats? That is what happened at the presentation. Thanks to a surprising ice-breaker, essential to withdraw everyone out of their daily routine and out of their cellular phone, the audience was brought in the mood to listen to the final presentation of the Creative Challenge that took place on 21 April 2017 at the Universidad Católica in Pereira, Colombia.
At the Creative Challenge, fourteen Dutch and Colombian creative professionals collaborated to design the future of the Batallón San Mateo in Pereira. The Batallón, a military area located between the city centre and the airport, will be available for new uses after the military activities move to a new location. A discussion currently takes place in the city about what should happen to the area. Ideas range from a large park to a residential area or innovation district. The discussion remains in texts and words, and opposing arguments have not come closer to each other. The urban designers, architects, landscapers and designers showed that creativity is a good way to translate shared values of stakeholders through designs and visualizations into new ideas for the Batallón, the city of Pereira and the transformation process. According to the local newspaper El Diario: “The challenge was the first exercise of planning to formulate the Integral Urban Plan (AUI) that compiles the dreams and desires of the community about the projects to be developed in the lot”.
The Challenge contributed to unlock the current discussion about the future of the Batallón and the redevelopment process. It showed how creative professionals have a different look at existing problems and come up with innovative and surprising proposals. The city of Pereira can therefore start with renewed energy the transformation process. Another goal of the challenge was to facilitate creative offices from both countries to work together, to get to know each other’s working methods, and to find each other for future collaborations. This was a follow up from the trade mission for the Dutch creative industry to Colombia that took place in 2016. The mission concluded that a strong local partner was essential to work in Colombia. The collaboration during the Design Challenge was successful; plans are being made for joint tenders and participation in design competitions. Each creative office has formulated its own “assignment” to stimulate future collaboration.
The Creative Challenge was commissioned by Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl) and supported by the Dutch Creative Industries Fund. The Colombian Development Bank Findeter, the municipality of Pereira, the Dutch Embassy in Colombia and the university Universidad Catolica Pereira contributed to the organization. URBANOS organized and supervised the Challenge. The creative offices participating were:
More information, for instance the final presentation, is available via Pepijn Verpaalen (tel .: +31647574578, firstname.lastname@example.org). The final report is currently on the making.