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In an interview with Lovisa Westblom, project coordinator of the JPI Urban Europe funded project CIVIC, we discussed the importance of understanding all stakeholders’ visions and perspectives to increase sustainability in a project. This can be a tough task for many projects, however, CIVIC gave it a go and has come up with the unconventional idea to launch a game!
What was the CIVIC project about?
The projects idea is to facilitate and support efficient and sustainable transport to, from and around urban construction sites in order to increase construction productivity and optimize energy efficiency. Today, a significant number of the actors involved tend to work in isolated systems (silos). We wanted to change this by adding in the perspectives of all stakeholders. By making them interact more with each other already in the planning process by using a common generic tool, barriers can be avoided which allows decreases in transport use and increases in efficiency. Simply put, the CIVIC project’s goal was to coordinate planning between public partners of construction projects and private construction contractors and developers on the necessary measures for mobility, livability and road safety in a city.
What were the challenges you sought to tackle and what problems did you have to solve?
The economic upswing over the past few years and the growth in urban population has led to a higher demand for construction within cities. Although this construction is needed and creates more attractive living areas, the transport activities related to it have negative impacts on the areas in the vicinity of construction sites if mishandled. Further, this type of transport has been found to be one of the biggest challenges in improving substantiality. Apart from the environmental issues, poorly planned construction sites cause disruptions in mobility and livability complicating everyday life for a city’s inhabitants.
Who will be able to use this information and in what situations?
The main message with this project is that all parties involved in construction processes need to rethink and widen their perspectives in order to enhance sustainability. However, our most concerned stakeholders are cities and authorities. We believe they should be able to set higher requirements on issues related to construction logistics, for example, they should be able to state already in a land allocation that a coordination plan between involved actors is required.
What methods did you use?
As our aim is to enable collaboration we have used a strategy of collaborative governance which is about stakeholder involvement. Our method to support this has been the Multi-Actor Multi-Criteria Analysis (MAMCA) which takes in perspectives of several different stakeholders and even include the inhabitants who can often be overlooked in these situations.
Are the results ready to be implemented in real urban settings? If not, what else is needed in terms of research or test activities?
Under the project, we have developed the Smart Governance Concept. The concept is a process of seven steps with which we hopeprovides guidelines and tools for optimizing construction logistics. It is made up of tools and methods to overcome barriers within construction projects, starting with a strategy to mobilise joint action to create the shared sense of ownership needed to improve current governance models. The Smart Governance Concept is meant to be part of projects from the very beginning. As a means to implement this concept in cities, the project MIMIC has been initialized. MIMIC has the aim to increase understanding among authorities of how construction logistics affect the environment, urban traffic flows and mobility and is a direct continuation of the CIVIC project. In this project we will be able to work more with providing stakeholders with a supportive platform for urban development decision processes.
What are the most interesting results from the project?
During the project we have realized that in order to actualize our visions, knowledge about construction logistics must be improved first. That is why we have developed the construction logistics game. The game is a playful and informative way to aid understanding of the need and importance for collaboration between different stakeholders in order to accomplish successful construction logistics and thus decrease the number of transports around construction sites. The game is a simple form to gather stakeholders and raise awareness of how different parties can look at building logistics. Another concrete result is the CIVIC Handbook for Smart Construction Logistics, which in a comprehensible manner explains the project’s progress.
Did you have any unexpected insights after the finalization of the project?
The positive reception from both public and private stakeholders has been great, it shows that there is a need for increased cooperation and knowledge sharing to reach the shared vision of an attractive sustainable city.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 857160.