Urban Mode is a platform for working together to make great urban places

Why  focus on a distinctive urban mode?


The European Commission uses a definition of an urban area as a territory with a population of at least 1,200 inhabitants per sq km situated in a conurbation of at least 50,000 for a city, or less than 50,000 in the case of a town. It is a technocratic definition and therefore ignores the history of cities and towns or the urban heritage in such locations visible in form (e.g. architecture and layout of streets) and practices (e.g. regional location for trade, services, manufacturing and/or education).


While this is a practical definition for demographics, ‘urban’ is so much more. It is the closeness of people in a place that enables the blossoming of people’s social, cultural and economic activities. It is the efficient organisation and building of residential, work and leisure spaces while including design elements to make such spaces cohesive and distinctive, even quaint. It is locations with entrepreneurial lure – the promise of opportunity – where taking on challenges and risks are acknowledged and rewarded. It is organisms that go through phases and cycles linked to the rise and fall of the economic and social well-being of citizens, while also remaining resilient in adverse conditions.


And yet urban is not a cosy ‘togetherness’. Jane Jacobs describes the paradox of living closer to each other in a city, but with more privacy than in sparsely populated smaller towns. She described such privacy as more than just living behind closed doors – more significantly, the social pact in cities allows for ‘the keeping of one’s personal affairs’ and the ‘control over who shall make inroads on one’s time’. At the same time urban life is a collage of social interactions in streets, cafes and in public spaces that range from non-verbal ‘contact’ and chat by happenstance to participation in organised activities such as sports and cultural events.


What can we do to help the positive development of urban life in a meaningful way? Answering this question is the aim of the Urban Mode platform. We appreciate working with players across the spectrum from local authorities to social enterprises to business groups and local community leaders to stimulate such positive developments.


Who can be part of the Urban Mode platform?


The secret of successful places is the width and depth of collaboration among key role players – local and external – who are prepared to give to the place with a view to benefit in the long term through their attachment to the place.


Similarly, the value of this platform is dependent on the involvement of like-minded actors and organisations who have a passion to create processes for integrated urban development. If you are such an actor or organisation, we would like to have a conversation about how we can support your initiatives and also how you can make use of this platform to leverage and build your initiatives.