This formula has been developed since 2005. It is a way of pursuing the principles of the Cergy summer Workshops, which, over the last twenty years have built an important international network of urban planning professionals. The professional workshops are very similar to the student workshops – diversity, freedom, coproduction, volunteer work – but instead they involve professionals and are condensed in two weeks. These workshops usually gather three teams of seven participants, with two local members within each team. They are organized 8 to 10 months in advance, by a dedicated scientific management team.
These workshops are organized to occur at specific points in time, (for example at the beginning of a term of government) so that they encourage strategic debates. This is because the philosophy of the workshop is to ‘shake things up’ in order to create and encourage new avenues of research. The international teams benefit from the freedom of proposal of Les Ateliers, especially because there is no market to win in the end. The topics are often strategic and the local actors expect operational proposals. The team’s proposals mix territorial analysis, regional and local strategy making, policy making – transportation, centralities –, built environment analysis and potential evolution, future plans for the management of public spaces incorporating improving those important to ‘everyday life’.
These workshops are not a substitute to local or international planning professionals’ work. They are more about sharing experiences, and will produce an illustrated inventory for a areas possible evolution. The jury session, which is composed of professionals, investors, academics and representatives of the civil society, is a time for debate and sharing of opinion. From this point on it is the mayor’s responsibility to take ownership of the workshop’s output, taking it forward in whichever way they feel appropriate.
What is the purpose of a workshop?
How to participate?
Anyone can participate, as with the student workshops, as long as their contribution is relevant to the workshop’s topic. Before each workshop, a document is published in order to present the workshop’s topic and the application guidelines. The management team then chooses the participants.