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New public parks projects challenges

Daniel Ringelstein of Skidmore, Owings & Merill (Europe) LLP

"The biggest challenge of the project is probably making sure that all the voices of all the interests were heard and making sure that the collaboration goes smoothly," says Daniel Ringelstein, director of Skidmore, Owings &Merill (Europe) LLP during Places + Spaces meeting organised by Urban Land Institute.

."… so that runs from making sure that all the city agencies were collaborating, as we had the mayor's office, the mayor's offices of special events, we had the Park District, who was very much leading the project from the detail, design point of view, managing the project, to the city department of transportation, so making sure city agencies came together to support the vision. and then as more and more design talents came into the project, that has a tendency to make everything much more complicated, and defray the edges of the original vision. so keeping it quite intact from initial concept through to reality I think was a challenge. At some point, the whole process took over on its own, where we were no longer in the lead, and we were really helping to shepherd the vision and advise, more than we were driving the boat, let’s say. So that takes a bit of a step back from your own pride to say: it’s time now; you’ve given birth to this thing; with a lot of people, it's time to let them take over the reins and control, moving forward. And in the end, the project becomes much richer because of everyone’s involvement," told us Daniel Ringelstein.

"My advice for similar cities that are going to go in for such major projects would be: get the process right. And include as many people in the design of the process as much as the design of the project. so get people around, a roundtable, have all kinds of forms with all the key stakeholders: public, and private and local community, get a clear vision, that is very simple and everyone can buy into. and no one can question that vision going forward. And if everyone rallies around that vision, it’s clearly marked out, as Alfonso from Bilbao said today, get the vision right and any politician that comes in over time, won’t be able to change it because the public is so much behind that vision. So an open process, design the process, open dialogue, collaborate, include as many people as you can, but then at the end of the day assign a task force or a steering committee to drive the process forward, in that it has to be built, it has to come to life, so identify key leaders who are going to deliver the project. Still incorporate everyone’s comments and input, but drive the process forward with a clear set of design leaders and civic leaders," added the director of Skidmore, Owings &Merill (Europe) LLP

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