About Space of Urgency

Imagine a free space where self-organized structures mobilize, exchange and multiply. Space from which we can develop innovative and impactful social and cultural models. We call it Space of Urgency.

We aim to protect and realize spaces of urgency (free spaces) for vulnerable socio-cultural groups. This is achieved by strengthening cooperation between civilian initiatives, decision-makers, the wider community and external experts in space policy reform. Real change occurs from the bottom up.

What is the definition of free space in 2020? How can new models – built on alternative sets of needs, trust and interactions – play a central role in meeting the urban planning challenges of our times?


Why are we doing it

Cities used to be exciting spaces for bottom-up urban shaping and independent cultural development. As pervasive urban development inflates, culture suffocates. The process of gentrification and densification is leading to an unequal distribution of spatial resources. It is under these conditions that unique urban identities are disappearing rapidly. We see cultural spaces as necessary laboratories of social transformation, but also what makes cities exciting places to be in. 


How does it work

It’s about building trust. Whilst inequality grows, opportunities and resources for socio-cultural groups decline. Space of Urgency bridges the gap between such self-organized bodies and decision-makers in politics and administration. By acting as an independent intermediary, our role is to build trust and promote mutual understanding in order to realize progress.

From our experience, language and communication are often barriers in developing new spaces and civic participation. It is essential to unite the formal language of administrations and institutions with individual voices and collectives, and vice versa. We initiate the required conditions to improve cooperation and develop instruments for long-term change. Concepts don’t build trust, transparent collaboration does.

How it's done

On the international level, we activate dialogue through conferences, presentations, debates, art and film. By way of artistic research and curation on the topics of Dance & Space of Urgency, we are connecting a worldwide network of ambassadors to reflect and raise political awareness on the urgency for free space. 

On the local level, we believe in research and data collection together with universities and cultural institutions. We are bridging the gap between the needs of communities and local governments to establish cooperative working structures, based on openness and transparency. How could such cooperations between administrations, civil society, cultural intermediaries and experts function to empower vulnerable socio-cultural actors in a city?

By developing, facilitating and evaluating physical pilots and instruments we can create powerful directives for urban policy in the next 10-20 years.

What do we offer

Are you a local government, university, cultural intermediary, or bottom-up organisation? Is there a lack of trust and mutual understanding between your local community and decision-makers? Are you inspired to create Spaces of Urgency?

Get in touch!

Activation and Dialogue
  • Activation of local stakeholders
  • Curation, presentation & moderation
  • Dance & Space of Urgency Labs
  • Trust building and mediation between local governments and communities
Research and Innovation
  • Community bottlenecks and needs assessment
  • Development of tools and instruments
  • Pilots, interventions and prototyping
  • Monitoring and evaluation
Knowledge Exchange
  • Workshops
  • Bootcamps
  • Round-tables
  • Education, lectures, courses

Who is in the team

Liese Kingma is a curator, cultural intermediary and project developer in Amsterdam, Vienna and Berlin. At the core, she is driven to ignite dialogue for the creation of participatory models in urban change-making processes. This has translated in several international projects focussing on the protection and creation of free space. For Space of Urgency, Liese is responsible for project management and stakeholder communication. Her aim is to spark interaction and collaboration between self-organized socio-cultural actors and local governments.

Bogomir Doringer is an artist interested in the exploration and research of various social phenomena caused by socio-political interactions. These phenomena manifest themselves inside and between human bodies, in the form of identities and crowds. One of his most important considerations is how the significance of the phenomenon correlates to the number of people gathered around it. He often collaborates in his projects with experts in various fields, thereby engaging in long-lasting processes and experimenting with interdisciplinary methods. His observations and results are presented in the form of curated exhibitions, lectures, workshops, art installations and films. For the Dance and Space of Urgency Project, Bogomir is contributing to the topics curation and narration.

Arno Bouma is a cultural manager specializing in the support and enablement of self-organized actors. Arno has a rich history in Amsterdam, where he discovered his passion for setting up and managing cultural events and venues. Driven to make a bigger impact, his interest shifted. From managing physical spaces, he went on to be involved in projects connecting the needs of self-organized actors and decision-makers. His goal is to create opportunities for self-organized actors in unfolding their talents and in contributing to bottom-up social and cultural innovations.

Lucas Counter is an urban researcher and project developer striving to uncover and reshape conditions in which spaces of self-organization can be empowered in often conflicting urban environments. The aim is to orientate new approaches in city planning that resonates with the voices of different groups pursuing different values, cultures, rights, and spaces within urban life. In doing so, his research threads together actors and perspectives from autonomous & collective bodies, to cross-disciplinary university faculties and municipalities. This ensures balanced results and innovative solutions and tools that ignite new forms of cooperation. Within the project, Lucas carries this research approach across the local and international interventions instigated as a Space of Urgency.

Jan Beddegenoodts is an award winning director / photographer and founder off the Cameltown Collective.  For the Space of Urgency project Jan will portrait space pioneers and capture spaces of urgency globally.


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