VARCITIES Spotlight #2 – Prospex Institute

December 7th, 2021

Prospex Institute (PI) is a non-profit organisation that promotes the participation of citizens and stakeholders in societally relevant dialogue and decision-making processes. Namely, PI fundamentally believes that decisions for society need to be taken in consultation, participation & co-creation with those affected by them. The Institute is located in Brussels, Belgium.

The role in VARCITIES

In the VARCITIES project, PI is leading the stakeholder engagement and co-creation work, which is an important element of the project’s philosophy of putting the needs of citizens at the heart of urban planning.

Following its Prospex-CQI methodology, PI designed a strategy for the identification of relevant stakeholder groups, organisations, and individuals as well as participatory processes for the pilots to implement locally. It enables them to engage every actor who affects and / or is affected by the project’s visionary nature-based solutions for better health and well-being.

Earlier in 2021, in consultation with the pilots and other VARCITIES’ partners, PI designed the format of the co-identification workshop (WS1) that enabled the pilots to collect input from a diverse range of stakeholders on the drivers, needs and barriers they face when it comes to accessing nature and public spaces for healthy living in their communities. In WS1 local citizens also gave feedback on the pilots’ proposed solutions and had the opportunity to share their own ideas.

In December 2021, the second round of workshops (WS2) is coming to an end. While PI tailored the format of these workshops to meet local pilots’ needs, common goals of WS2 across all sites were to involve additional stakeholders who may have been overlooked previously, and to share with stakeholders how solutions have been updated in response to their input given in WS1.

These two workshops have been critical in VARCITIES’ co-identification and co-design phases. Coming up as of Spring 2022 are the co-implementation stage and the co-evaluation stage towards the end of the project.

This range of collaborative processes that PI works on with VARCITIES’ partners, underscores the project’s inclusive and participatory approach, making sure all voices are heard at every step along the way, and that ultimately citizens and stakeholders are empowered and become key partners in bringing the visionary solutions to life.

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