The BLC team recently presented a workshop at the Sustainable Brands 2016 conference, held at the new convention centre at Canal Walk this May. The workshop was attended by seasoned communication specialists, built environment professionals and sustainability experts, and it formed part of the intensive stakeholder engagement process which will feed into the design thinking needs analysis for BLC2.
Now in its third year of implementation, focus is on implementing the three support service awards for the winners and building interest through strategic communication in preparation for the launch of the BLC2 in August 2016, says Project Manager, Lisa Parkes. “With the theme of ‘Embracing Informality and Enabling Incrementalism’ we are partnering again with the Provincial Department of Human Settlements, to create a user-centred challenge – one that surfaces design innovations (opportunities, ideas and designs) that support the incremental improvement/expansion of low-income homes; provides better quality and alternative building materials; increases the comfort and quality of life of residents; and enables a more densified urban form.”
The workshop formed part of the regeneration work stream at the Sustainable Brands conference. Urban regeneration means the improvement of the quality of life and investing in the future. We have seen many integrated approaches and disruptive trends aimed to improve the environmental, economic and social health of our communities and cities, but somehow finding relevant, context specific interventions is difficult for our local context.
In response, organisations and policy makers are searching for better ways to identify and accelerate novel solutions by tapping into an ecosystem of potential innovators who possess wide-ranging skills and knowledge. To discover and attract these contributors, organisations are launching competitions and offering prizes. The BLC is one such emerging example and demonstrates how a collaboration between the public, private sector, and civil society can surface innovation, promote economic development and create jobs – all with sustainability in mind. Competitions, especially those following business-plan-style formats, provide an excellent vehicle for identifying a large number of early-stage opportunities, evaluating them and building communities in emerging areas.