Resilient Wednesday – Inclusive Cities
Resilient Wednesdays are co-created by the League of Intrapreneurs and the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Network.
Join our Fireside chats and explore these topics in an intimate setting.
In an increasingly urban world, there’s a pressing need to devise sustainable, engaged and constructive ways for us to live together in cities and urban centres. Globally, over 50% of the population lives in cities today. This figure is set to rise to roughly 70% by 2050 worldwide, and to over 80% in Europe.
But not all cities are growing. Across the USA, Europe and Japan, smaller urban centres are shrinking and, while the COVID-19 pandemic may have dented this trend, smaller towns and cities are still struggling. Both the growth and shrinkage occurring in urban areas makes strategic planning in cities and urban centres all the more important to ensure sustainable, inclusive and equitable urban living. Without a clear and well-rounded strategy, there’s a real risk that our urban spaces grow towards and create even greater levels of the dangerous inequality, division and radicalisation with which communities worldwide are struggling.
How, then, can we strategically improve cities? Shaping them to be more liveable, desirable, sustainable and inclusive, while creatively working with existing local resources?
The role of “Impact Places” in strategic urban (re)development
An approach that balances social impact and economic sustainability is vital to define what quality urban development looks like for commercial, public and community stakeholders moving forward. At Archipel&Co, we see “Impact Places” as a solution: real estate development and urban regeneration/re-development that integrate holistic impact and sustainability aims and approaches.
Usually, this incorporates objectives, physical elements and use-cases beyond housing (“first place”) and commercial/work (“second place”). The creative, the social, the community, the environment, the innovative, the informal, the local and the beautiful all play a part, adding value and values to re(new)ed places. The “Third Place” concept is key to this, and an established element of community-building and culture-making. The Archipel&Co conception of Impact Places builds on this, adding strategic elements with economic sustainability as a critical foundation for lasting social and environmental impact.
Impact Places are also typically where individual interests and responsibilities meet their collective counterparts. As a result, they become relevant, high-potential locations for tackling major (social) issues — for making important happen — as they are, by definition, sites where different actions, actors and moments meet. The minor meets the major; individual interest meets collective interest; Impact Places become symbols of and hubs for the behavioural changes from which wider society can benefit.
At Archipel&Co, we see an Impact Place opportunity ready to be grasped in the economic culture ecosystem. This (re)development ecosystem is becoming open to, and needs, more entrepreneurial approaches, rather than artistic, informal and public approaches alone. These entrepreneurial approaches need to promote creativity, diversify business and commerce, protect and promote culture and inclusivity, and provide opportunities to engage with inclusive value chains, as well as access to goods and services.
For over a decade, our team has been building these bridges and creating viable links between social enterprises (large and micro), culture- and community-builders and leading corporate organisations. We are experts in — and thrive on — finding the overlap between purpose and profit, with a track record of delivering on the impact potential of “out of the ordinary” projects (though we’re pleased to see them becoming more “ordinary”!). Below, we’ll share our experience of delivering Impact Places in France, sharing our evolving methodology and key takeaways, aiming to start conversations on what might be possible in other locations.
Archipel&Co (UK Founder & Managing Director), committed to the transition to an inclusive economy
For over 20 years, Justin has been working at the interface of strategy, innovation and sustainability fuelled by the challenge of answering the next generation’s inevitable question: “what did you do to make it better?” As the Founder and Managing Partner of Archipel&Co’s UK office, Justin is committed to the transition to an inclusive economy. He and his team partner with clients to improve their business in “future markets” (precarious, complex and fast-growing) by introducing social insight and innovation to prototype, test and scale more robust, resilient and sustainable solutions. His favourite projects are those that require (1) learning with innovative marginalised communities, (2) applying those insights to design a better market-based solution and (3) iteratively improving that solution to optimise impact and return for community and client. Justin has applied this approach both in-house as an intrapreneur, as a sustainability lead and as a consultant in the circular economy, sanitation, consumer goods & services, agri-business and health arenas. On the subject of scale, Justin is frustrated by what sometimes feels like “pilot project paralysis”. Thus, he prioritises projects and clients whose ambition matches the scale of the problems we are facing. Justin believes intrapreneurs, those brave souls working inside large organisations for positive change, are a critical and under-served actor in scaling solutions. At Archipel&Co, he partners with intrapreneurs as clients while, as a Trustee and Catalyst of the League of Intrapreneurs, he is helping grow the global movement. Before founding and leading Archipel&Co’s UK office, Justin led corporate sustainability strategy at SC Johnson, PUMA and OVO Energy. He is a co-founder and non-executive director of INBONIS, a financial technology firm and Europe’s first SME-focused credit rating agency. Justin is also a Senior Associate of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. Justin holds a BSc and an MBA from Cornell University.