Forus is the area where most of the Norwegian oil companies are located. It is placed in an intermediate territory in between the municipalities of Stavanger, Sola and Sadnes, becoming a key piece of this metropolitan area, and surrounded by huge transport infrastructures. How could we transform this business area in a real urban livable part of these cities? And what is more, how could we address it in a post-oil economy horizon? The answer given by the winning proposal in EUROPAN 13 was a process: FORUS LABing.
We understand that economic innovation cannot be an end in itself but a means to the urban and social innovation. Our goal, therefore, is to propose a new model of society linked to a new urban model and promoted by a new economic model. This ideology will structure the project. Therefore, as F. Ascher raises in his Les nouveaux principes de l’urbanisme (2004) we do not propose the construction of a result but a kind of “middle-out” experimental process, which we call FORUS LAB, where Top-Down and Bottom-Up strategies intermingle. This suggests a horizontal approach, by means of networks, with a wide range of actors-mediators where processes are constantly renegotiated in an exercise that can be more inclusive and diverse in order to make conflicts visible. It is conceived as a comprehensive urban strategy -social, cultural, economic, and environmental- that will run in parallel to the process of change of the economic model in the region (20-30 years). It is structured into 3 groups of operations linked to 3 phases in time:
As a pilot test, in this group of refurbished buildings suitable conditions are set for the various actors, institutions, companies, associations, etc. (local, national or international) to exchange information and knowledge, generating creative and innovative synergies.
The results of the Forus Hub test define not only the exporting guidelines of an economic model but above all, of an urban model. Its design allows, on the other hand, not only testing programs and initiatives but also spatial and building typologies as well as public spaces. The Cluster_0 will be the pilot area where to complete the experiment of a new urban identity associated with Forus Lab.
The lessons learned in the urban context in consolidating the ForusHub and Cluster0 should serve as a valid knowledge to establish the basis of the progressive development of the conurbation from the determination of different clusters with their “post-oil” new structures capable of expressing future values through images of their own historical memory.