Focus on the concept of ULP
An ULP -Urban Lifestyle Point – has four specificities:
It is defined by a clear positioning, relevant through its set up and the proposed animations on site;
It’s a space in constant motion, evolving through time, seasons and over the years, according to its users’ needs, new wishes and expectations;
It’s a flexible space all users can identify to, where each one can create its own space, by concretely designing one’s room to share with other or to be alone;
It is daily managed by a public private partnership (such as the ULP created and developed by the AMCV in Namur in the framework of the Lively Cities Project) bringing all relevant stakeholders together.
An ULP can be developed on any urban car-free space that needs to be reclaimed by users. ULP prevent public space from being empty, misused or deteriorated. Moreover, thanks to its constantly evolving nature, ULP allow different actions, structures, animations etc, to be tested before more definite renewals are set up, to see what is being used on site.
An ULP must become an obvious destination for users, and a place of integration. A destination, as it follows a strict positioning with defined objectives. A place of integration, as it is thought and designed according to users-friendly and socio-cultural values.
An ULP is about thinking, creating and making a space live. The design, set-up and management of an ULP require flexibility, a large variety of skills, human and financial resources that are hard to put together in the only framework of a public ownership. That is why involving partners both form the public and the private sectors is key to success.
An ULP is hard to define as it is an endless process.
Setting Up an ULP
An ULP’s aim is to handle a public space and give it a value from a marketing point of view. It can be created on a place, a square, or any other urban space, as long as it is is central. A qualitative environment, great services, an attractive events’ programme, appropriate amenities, …can generate this value. From then on, a feeling of pride, respect and belonging to the space develops. A population, a community can only identify to a space with a positive image. The change of a public space into an attractive place is directly linked to the population using this space.
If the idea is simple, it’s not that easy to bring it to life. To create value, the public space must be approached as a product, as a “retail concept”. To get there, four dimensions mut be taken into account:
The identity: Quality, image of the space
Conviviality: friendliness, ability of the space to create links between different communities of users
Access: link with other bordering areas
Use of the space and activities proposed
An ULP must become a destination: create a space and make it live.