Cooperation is smart

By means of open innovation, open data and open participation, Ghent is preparing itself for the future

We often underestimate the collective wisdom that is present in our cities. Every single one of the stakeholders of the city has its opinion and its expertise. A municipality does therefore not always have the final say about all aspects of urban life. All these local actors are doomed to cooperate. As an authority, we must give room to citizen’s initiatives that are constituting a step towards the city of the future.

But it is certainly not sanctifying if you do not connect these joint ventures and co-creation opportunities with the broad strategy and vision about the future. It is effectively owing to the fragmented competences and radical specialism that challenges are perceived differently. Finding a common focus exceeding the mere accidental territorial aspect is essential.

That is why Ghent has set up various initiatives according to the quadruple (authorities, companies, academics and citizens) or quintuple helix model (authorities, companies, academics, citizens and [creative] centerfield organizations). Thus, solutions are devised and tested for local social challenges and opportunities. It generates a considerable striking force.

These current local challenges evidently do not stop at the existing administrative city’s boundaries. Therefore, Ghent is always on the lookout for alliances with regional, national and international partners.