City Mine(d)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

City Mine(d) is a non-profit arts and civil society organisation. It was set up in 1997 and has since initiated, supported and produced over 100 initiatives in urban public space in seven European countries. It has active bases in Brussels (Belgium) and London (UK). City Mine(d) is also a node in an international network of micro-initiatives.

Before City Mine(d)[edit]

City Mine(d) emerged from urban actions aimed at improving living quality 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[edit]

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,Cinema Nova [1] 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.

Brussels 2000[edit]

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 [2] went on to win the prestigious "Thuis in de Stad Award"[3] for innovative urban renewal from the regional government, while Benjamin Verdonck [4] won wide acclaim with Bara-ke.[5] Also in 2000, City Mine(d)'s work featured in the major millennium exhibition Mutations[6][7] 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[8] provided an alternative for creativity and debate amidst the increasing antagonising between politicians and anti-global campaigners.

Bruxel Glocal[edit]

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.[9]


An increasing concern about the use of urban public space as an site for entertainment and party policital profiling, pushed City Mine(d) in 2002 towards "Micronomics". Conceived as a long term campaign, Micronomics raised awareness about the rickety state of the urban economy. Considering as economy the whole suite of strategies people develop to increase their wealth, health or happiness, and the skills and competences they have as the smalles building block of the economy, City Mine(d) ventured into organising a series of annual urban festivals, meetings, debates and films,[10] with contributions from Saskia Sassen, Jon Cruddas and others.


In addition to Micronomics, City Mine(d) also looked for ways to support and promote urban grassroots creativity in a programme called Krax. An online hub, a series of Jornadas and a global network of urban activists were used to exchange information and experience on ways to survive and resist large urban regeneration schemes.


The now defunct Precare was set up to facilitate the temporary use of urban derelict buildings. By temporary using empty spaces, artists can start their career at very low cost, while previously abandoned buildings become used again.

City Mine(d) LAB[edit]

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 - social exclusion - Katarsis.[11] - and Social Cohesion - Social Polis [12]

Current projects[edit]

City Mine(d) is currently involved in PUM [13] in Brussels and Blackstock Greenhouse [14] in London.


  • Awan, N., Schneider, Y. & Till J. (2011), « Spatial Agency. Other ways of doing architecture », Routledge London, New York USA
  • Messner, B., Wrentschur, M. (2011), « Initiative Soziokultur. Diskurse. Konzepte. Praxis », LIT Verlag, Graz, Wien, London, Berlin
  • Doucet, I. (2008), « Planning in Search of Ground: Committed Muddling Through or a Critical View form Above?» in The Territorial Future of the City, ed. Giovanni Maciocco, Springer, New York USA
  • Amon, M., Arher K., Bosman M. (2006), «Relocating Global Cities: from the center to the margins», Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Maryland USA
  • Inura, (2004), « The contested Metropolis», Birkhäuser, Basel
  • Iacovoni, A. (2003), « Game zone, Playgrounds between virtual scenarios and reality », Birkhäuser, Basel
  • City Mine(d) (1998) Repertorium, Brussel
  • City Mine(d) (2000) Repertorium 2000, Brussel
  • City Mine(d) (2004) Networkbook for Urban P/arts: 42 Initiatives Capturing London's Public Space City Mine(d), London
  • City Mine(d) (2006) « Generalized Empowerment. Uneven Development and Urban Interventions », Brussel (B), City Mine(d)


  1. ^ "Cinéma Nova". Retrieved 2013-11-22. 
  2. ^ La Cambre/La lettre (2004) « Le Livre blanc de l’architecture en Communauté française de Belgique », Brussel (B)
  3. ^ "Wij gaan samen voor een leefbare wijk'' - Het Nieuwsblad". 2002-12-03. Retrieved 2013-11-22. 
  4. ^ Benjamin Verdonck (2008) – « Werk / Some Work » – Campo
  5. ^ "BENJAMIN VERDONCK: "BARA-KE" super8". YouTube. 2009-01-14. Retrieved 2013-11-22. 
  6. ^ Arc en rêve centre d’architecture (2000), « Mutations », Actar, Bordeaux, Stefano Boeri and Multiplicity, « Uncertain States of Europe »
  7. ^ ":: M U L T I P L I C I T Y ::" (in Italian). Retrieved 2013-11-22. 
  8. ^ kanalB. "Gare Leopold - Brussels - videoclip @". Retrieved 2013-11-22. 
  9. ^ Moyersoen J. (2010) Autonomy and inclusive urban governance. A case of glocal action: City Mine(d) in Brussels, in Moulart et al. (2010) Can Neighbourhoods save the city? Community Development and social innovation, Routledge
  10. ^ Retrieved April 2, 2012.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  11. ^ "KATARSIS Homepage". 2009-10-07. Retrieved 2013-11-22. 
  12. ^ "Social Polis". Retrieved 2013-11-22. 
  13. ^ "P U M | Small initiatives in the European Quarter :: water, the city, the people and the Eggevoort Garden •". Retrieved 2013-11-22. 
  14. ^ "Blackstock Green House | a space to connect". Retrieved 2013-11-22. 

External links[edit]