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  • Writer's pictureRobin Van Gansbeke

Creating a future-proof city strategy: Ostend's transformative journey


The City of Ostend

In short


The City of Ostend, Belgium, engaged in a transformative strategy journey to combat multifaceted societal challenges, encompassing climate change, digital acceleration, mobility, urban planning, employment, diversity, and social segregation.


This project aimed to create a forward-looking roadmap, envisioning Ostend as a future-proof city by concurrently anticipating the long-term challenges for 2050 and thinking about concrete projects to reach defined 2030 ambitions.


The approach involved extensive stakeholder engagement, remote workshops, and iterative analyses to co-create a comprehensive vision and strategic framework.


Envisioning Ostend as a future-proof city by concurrently anticipating the long-term challenges for 2050 and thinking about concrete projects to reach defined 2030 ambitions.


About the City of Ostend


The City of Ostend is the largest coastal city in Belgium. Ostend is a cosmopolitan city with a harbour, yacht-basin, airport and over 50 hotels. It is a lively city, popular for its long beach promenade, musea, tourist attractions and many more. Given its unique location, Ostend focuses on developing a strong blue economy in and around the city.




Challenges


The City of Ostend sought an overarching transformation strategy to steer its strategic direction amid a landscape riddled with multifaceted societal challenges. These challenges spanned climate change, digital acceleration, mobility, urban planning, employment, multidiversity, and social segregation.


Addressing these complex and interwoven issues demanded a holistic approach, seeking solutions capable of simultaneously tackling multiple challenges.


The goal was to develop a long-term plan that would serve as a guiding framework for future decisions and policymaking, navigating the complexities of these diverse societal issues.




Our Approach


Our engagement began with a series of impactful initiatives aimed at fostering broad awareness and urgency among Ostend's employees and stakeholders. We organized webinars and round-table discussions, serving as catalysts for in-depth conversations concerning the city's challenges and their implications. These sessions provided a platform for discussing the impacts of these challenges and the necessary responses.


The core of our strategy formulation involved guiding a select executive team through a series of workshops. These sessions were instrumental in developing a collective vision, strategy, and roadmap for Ostend's future. We conducted thorough impact analyses, closely examining key societal and technological trends shaping Ostend's trajectory.


These analyses laid the groundwork for subsequent strategy workshops, fostering extensive discussions surrounding Ostend's envisioned future and its desired position within it. Through iterative dialogue, incorporating inputs and debates from various stakeholders, we collectively crafted a shared vision for both 2030 and 2050.


The culmination of these efforts resulted in the development of a comprehensive roadmap for 2025, outlining actionable steps to realize the shared ambitions. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, all these critical workshops were successfully conducted remotely, ensuring uninterrupted collaboration and progress.


The core of our strategy formulation involved guiding a select executive team through a series of workshops.


The Results


The collaborative efforts culminated in substantial outcomes for Ostend's future:

  • 2050 Vision & Objectives: A comprehensive vision was established, outlining objectives and direction for Ostend in 2050.

  • 2030 Ambitions: Defined clear and ambitious goals for the city to achieve by 2030, aligning with the overarching vision.

  • 2025 Roadmap Framework: Developed a strategic framework detailing actionable steps and milestones to realize the shared ambitions. This roadmap served as a guide for immediate actions and future progress.

These outcomes, derived from extensive stakeholder engagement, impact analyses, and collaborative workshops, provide Ostend with a robust foundation to navigate its future challenges and opportunities.



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