Kolding – We Design For Life

Embedding a new design culture into urban regeneration
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Guy Julier & Malene Leerberg

In recent years, conventional approaches to design-led urban regeneration have begun to falter. Urban design schemes, city branding, the instrumentalisation of creative industries and cultural planning in reviving places have come under critical scrutiny. These strategies have also been subject to increasing financial constraint. At the same time, there has been a growth in the importance of discourses of participation and co-creation in design, and design as a tool for policy and strategic thinking at several scales. This has opened up a space in urban policy where design’s role is more to process thinking and action within networks of material resources and human assets than to solve problems. As a demonstration of the emergence of a new form of design culture, the envisioning of the Danish municipality of Kolding’s new regeneration program is presented and explained against the context of Danish questions of governance, political economy and regeneration. In so doing, this paper draws out some of the critical challenges in taking this approach.
Keywords: design, design thinking, urban regeneration, urban policy, Denmark

Guy Julier

Principal Research Fellow in Contemporary Design, University of Brighton; Visiting Professor of Design Culture, University of Southern Denmark