CANactions: What is Urban Catalyst and what was the story behind this idea?
Klaus Overmeyer: Urban Catalyst was founded in 2004 by landscape architect Klaus Overmeyer as a spin-off the EU-funded research project „Urban Catalyst" (2001-2003), investigating the potential of temporary uses for urban revitalization. The philosophy of Urban Catalyst is deeply rooted in a user-based and process-oriented approach towards spatial transformation.
Today Urban Catalyst develops participative models for the strategic design and use of spaces in transformation for cities, private enterprises and civil organizations. 22 experts in the field of architecture, urban design, city planning, environmental design, politics and landscape architecture join Urban Catalyst. The office is owned by 9 partners and organized in cooperative-leadership-models. Responsibility is taken by a broad range of roles and teams.
Can you describe how do you approach each project?
Each project is different and we don't have one recipe for all challenges. One of our most crucial approaches is, that we develop concepts in dialogue-based processes with our clients and often with multiple ranges of actors. In order to deal with increasing complexity of positions and factors which have an impact on spatial transformation we put a lot of attention to a good process design at the beginning of a project. In interactive workshops with all relevant project stakeholders, we define phases, milestones and achievements, participative formats and the steps for content production. The process design is the navigation system for planning.