ABOUT

COLLECTIVE FOR DEMOCRATIC URBAN TRANSITIONS

Urban Connectors is a collective of people with a deeply rooted drive to build a future that works better for everyone. We have experience in multi-stakeholder projects that are a bit too new (and ambitious in the good way) to be put into the usual process frameworks. We are critical doers, creative thinkers, action researchers and entrepreneurial strategists. Interested to join forces in shaping a socially just and sustainable tomorrow? Awesome. Get in touch.

WHAT WE DO
We collaborate with change-makers and decision-makers to build socially just, sustainable and resilient cities. We ask spot-on questions, facilitate participatory processes, develop tailored tools and above all, we enable community organisers to collectively learn and act.

WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO
Our cities are under increasing pressure from the impacts of growth. We are up for some major re-balancing challenges in terms of food provision, livable housing and local economies in the years to come. All actions start with people. We believe that socially just and sustainable cities emerge in places where people connect, engage, openly act and learn together on a local level.

HOW WE DO IT
- We support citizens to reclaim autonomy, agency and to self-organize.
- We don’t do band-aid solutions. We challenge you and ourselves to look for root causes.
- We uncover stories from multiple lenses and unfold problem solving potential by involving people with diverse interests, talents and networks.
- We create settings for collective learning and enable people and organisations to build on each other’s insights and resources.
- People are at the heart of what we do.

FOUNDING NODES

Vera de Jong

Catalyst

Socially just and sustainable places exist there where people have equal access to opportunities and more autonomy over their daily resources. In places where this is not the case, we need to invite each other to step up, learn and transition.

All transitions come with new possibilities and insecurities. How do we make sure these two are fairly distributed?

I thrive when:
- opening up processes of innovation and decision making;
- gathering and facilitating people for change;
- learning from experiments;
- posing critical questions to find clarity on common goals.

Expertise:
open innovation, action research, process design and facilitation.

Quests:
just economies, food autonomy, ethical technology.

Myrthe Lanting

Creative Optimist

How do we create regenerative and circular places that work better for everyone? My approach is critical and optimistic. I aim to uncover underlying questions and tensions and tap into a diversity of worldviews to create positive interventions that challenge the status quo.

I love to work on anything food related. Food shapes our lives, it binds us to nature and each other. To me it is a powerful medium to think and act together for change.

I thrive when:
- processes unravel multiple perspectives
- I pick things apart and figure out how they work
- we take the road less traveled
- there is space for experimentation and collective learning.

Expertise:
Learning experience design, disruptive design processes, systems thinking.

Quests:
Circular and inclusive (food) systems, just sustainability, rural-urban connections.

Mohamed Machbouâa

Cosmopolitan Practitioner

Can we place humans at the core of desired outcomes?

Cosmopolitanism is the idea of a community of individuals from different places in the universe who form relationships of mutual respect. It is embedded in daily life through flows of capital, consumer goods and the advances in communication technology. These dynamics happen in a global market which doesn't care about state borders.

How does this affect the communities in your city? What are the consequences? Do people pay the true cost of products and services? Is there equal opportunity for more prosperity?

We both can thrive when:
- there is space for radical honesty
- we include an interdisciplinary bottom-up approach
- we strive for clarity
- people, planet and profit are all part of the sum

Expertise:
Community building, participatory leadership, collaborative action.

Quests:
Collaborate to create equal access to basic human needs.

NODES

Joanna Pisarczyk

Concept developer

I work on decentralised business models for the common good. Inspired by maker movements.

Ieva Rozentale

Senior researcher

I work on research- and design-driven innovation for climate crisis and social good.

Sophie Kiesouw

Urban sociologist & facilitator

I facilitate processes where people come to find new perspectives.

Get in touch