On the 21st of July, the city of Munich welcomed 16 people representing 10 different organisations and municipal departments to the second Local Stakeholder Workshop - “Green courtyards for the city centre – Activation and participation.”
Organised by Landeshauptstadt München (LHM), the Technical University of Munich (TUM), and local partners Green City and Spiellandschaft Stadt, the second workshop brought together institutions and associations responsible for pre-selected courtyards with representative organisations for children/youth and senior citizens. The workshop offered space to exchange on user needs – from the perspective of representative organisations – as well as share first ideas for temporary nature-based solutions to shape the public space.
The workshop opened with an interactive session during which participants positioned themselves based on their roles, age, positions, and preferences on how the courtyards could be turned into greener spaces. The main aim of the workshop was to delve deeper into understanding challenges and exploring user needs within the pre-selected courtyards. The courtyards are managed by different organisations and are used for very different purposes so far: the church’s courtyard is mainly used by employees and guests, the schools’ courtyard is used by primary and secondary school pupils during their breaks, for afternoon and school activities as well as by sports groups after hours. The cultural centre’s courtyard is frequented by café visitors, course attendants and residents, whilst the municipal courtyard is largely a car parking area. The amount and quality of greenery in each courtyard differs and particularly the schools’ as well as cultural centre’s space is heavily used already.
After each courtyard representative explained the current status as well as spatial and managerial challenges of their courtyards, the participants focused on three main aspects in working groups: analysing courtyard locations and attributes as well as limiting factors, identifying two primary user groups each, establishing their key priorities and – where time allowed – first nature-based implementation options. Recurring needs included shading and use of water for better thermal comfort, improving the quality of space to allow for more natural play, to meet or work or simply have an oasis to retreat in the dense inner city. Potentially conflicting requirements towards the courtyards’ space also appeared (e.g. traffic exercise and assembly space vs. space for play, needing limited car parking space vs. promoting sustainable mobility vs. enabling a good quality of stay). Priorities ranged from a flexible way of using the space, yet offering space to retreat and to limit noise and the feeling of being exposed. Others asked for prioritising the quality of stay for work and inclusive representation as well as bike parking and thus offering inspiration for other church and municipal courtyards.
Each working groups’ request for greener, multifunctional spaces for priority user groups will lay the basis for upcoming local activities of the JUSTNature project: the next round of workshops will take place with users on location in the courtyards from autumn 2023 onwards.
We eagerly await the next collaboration!