City Mine(d) is a non-profit arts, civil society and urban development organisation. It was set up in 1997 and has since initiated, supported and produced over 100 initiatives in 15 cities throughout Europe. It has active bases in Brussels (Belgium) and London (UK). City Mine(d) aims to make urban development everybody's business.
Before City Mine(d)
City Mine(d) emerged from urban actions aimed at improving the quality of life in Brussels in the 1990s. Reflecting the bilingual nature Brussels and offering the minimum legal protection required, a number of Stichtingen/Foundations with the life span of a single campaign were set up: 'Stichting/Fondation Pied de Biche Open Deur', 'Stichting/Fondation Legumen' and 'Stichting/Fondation Sens Unique' are but a few examples.
A first attempt to increase impact and sustainability of this circuit of initiatives was VrijstadBXLVilleLibre. However, after a founding meeting and the publication of a newspaper, this network of 'self-determined and self-organising new urban initiatives' only had a short lease of life. According to some involved, the demise was due to a lack of 'a professional back-office'.
City Mine(d) vzw
On 21 August 1997 non-profit association City Mine(d) was set up with as a purpose "the organising of urban, social-artistic projects". It was able to do over 12 projects per year in deprived neighbourhoods of Brussels, ranging from Kureghem, where a football ground was built, to Schaerbeek, where a derelict site became a park, and from ephemeral afternoon events to constructions that lasted several years. Each summer, with Cinema Nova  an open-air cinema tour was organised along 4 neighbourhoods to bring films to "those who can't afford to go on holiday". In addition, City Mine(d) became a node in the network Bunker Souple, a loose-tight connection of artists, activists and architects that wanted to develop their work and the city outside the narrow remit of institutionalised cultural production.
In 1999 now defunct Precare was set up to facilitate the temporary use of urban derelict buildings. By temporary using empty spaces, artists and creators could start their career at very low cost, while previously abandoned buildings became used again. Notable projects Precare was involved in are Cinema Nova and Bains Connective.
When, in 2000, Brussels was one of Europe's Capitals of Culture, City Mine(d) worked to have 'informal culture' involved in its programme. With two large scale interventions - Limite Limite and Bara-ke - and a series of networking initiatives - like Bunker Souple Repertorium- it tried to give the passing glory of a cultural capital a more lasting impact. Limite Limite  went on to win the prestigious "Thuis in de Stad Award" for innovative urban renewal from the regional government, while Benjamin Verdonck  won wide acclaim with Bara-ke. Also in 2000, City Mine(d)'s work featured in the major millennium exhibition Mutations in Bordeaux' Arc en Rêve Centre d'Architecture, commissioned by Stefano Boeri and as part of the Uncertain States of Europe network. During the EU Summit of 2001, City Mine(d) was heavily involved in the occupation of the Luxemburg station in Brussels. Bruxxel free zone provided an alternative for creativity and debate amidst the increasing antagonising between politicians and anti-global campaigners.
From 2003 on City Mine(d) widened its horizons by setting up offices in Barcelona (Spain) and London (UK). After publishing their own road maps to the city - The Networkbook for urban p/arts in London and Tallermapas in Barcelona - local initiatives further developed in all 3 cities. The Bruxel glocal conference in Brussels' Bozar in February 2003, with contributions by Josep Acebillo, Patsy Healey and others was an attempt to bring artists, activists and researchers from throughout Europe together to think and talk about bottom-up initiatives in a globalising context.
More recently City Mine(d) has focused on the creation of prototypes. The prototype is a tangible and practical answer to a topical social question. The development of prototypes follows a 7-step procedure that makes sure the result is delivered at the end, but also guarantees the involvement of a diverse group of partners.
Topical questions deal with urban sustainability issues. In the past, questions dealt with revolved around water in the city [properwater 2011-2014] , the labour market [Micronomics 2007-2010] bottom up regeneration plans [can ricart 2004 -2006]
The creation of a prototype is the motive for bringing together a diverse group of people. City Mine(d) refers to this group as “a coalition”. The practical focus on realising the prototype involves individuals from different backgrounds, interests or convictions who would otherwise never sit together. In the course of the project, the “coalition” becomes a place where these different people develop a common understanding of a topical issue; a forum where other related issues can also be raised; and a group that from the shared experience can take a common position in public or political debate.
The prototype and its coalition are also a way to challenge status quos in culture, politics as well as industry. City Mine(d) believes strongly that cities are dynamic entities, and that keeping it so occasionally requires disrupting the powers that be. Combining social and technological innovation with artistic creation gives it the freedom and responsibility to shuffle power structures.
City Mine(d) LAB
In an attempt to link experienced and scientific knowledge, to mobilise the knowledge built in the streets and allow this grass roots knowledge to be unlocked in universities, and conversely allow the knowledge universities develop to seep through to activism and grass roots activities, City Mine(d) set up City Mine(d) LAB, an interface between academia and activism/the field/grass roots initiatives. Tangible outcomes are collaborations in EU research on Social innovation - Singocom (2001-2004) - social exclusion - Katarsis (2006-2009). - Social Cohesion - Social Polis (2008-2010) and on Co-creation in the Co-creation network (2017-2021) .
Exploring the room for agency of citizens in the vast sector of electricity, City Mine(d) is working on La Pile in the Brussels neighbourhood of St-Gilles until 2021
In the Kings Cross area of London, Elephant Path is trying to find out if residents' love of food, their skills, their talents and their passions can become a way of topping up their income. Until 2021 .
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- City Mine(d) (2018), « Rio de Janeiro, 26 Oct 2018 », https://medium.com/@jimvotes/rio-de-janeiro-26-october-2018-3d66da48e9fa
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