Sustainable and environmentally conscious living
Encouragement and empowerment
Diversity, inclusion and access
Prosperity, social and economic innovation
SOURCE OF INFORMATION/NEW FORMS
SAFETY AND PREVENTION
is addressed to forward-thinking cities, organisations and schools. It is created as a set of punchlines gathered by experience and good practice from Latvia, Belarus and Finland, and full with youthful power, and just like a mediator it gives youth policy a ground in city planning terms.
We are currently in the era of problems of global scale. Adaptation and mitigation demand full cooperation between citizens of all ages— it is a question of our survival. Technologies and solutions based on innovation and resource saving are currently the driving force in urban development. To reduce the consumption of resources means not only reducing CO2 emissions, but also saving our money, creating better and safer living conditions and healthier lifestyle for all of us.
However, first comes awareness, and then comes action. And sometimes it is the other way around. “Education beats at the heart of the sustainability,” thus awareness rising and showing example and communicating the significance and impact of different choices to young people is of the utmost importance. For example, do you decide to purchase a car or not? Or what do you eat every day? It is often not really clear how significant some decisions and choices may be compared to others. On top of that, the individual capabilities to act have to be enhanced to lead to real action and change. At the end of the day, climate change is not that much a question of nature but rather of human life and life as we know it.
The Climate Street project seeks for solutions that decrease citizens’ energy consumption on a street level and increase the liveability and vitality of an urban area. The street will be used as a test-bed for new resource-efficient, low-carbon services and products, and it functions as a reference area for both businesses and the city. Businesses will get an opportunity to test and develop their solutions together with the end users.
Sustainable Urban Development in the European Union: A Framework for Action:
Find plenty of environmentally conscious project ideas here:
Young people have the energy and abilities to turn the world around. Empowered youth can become agents of change, and connect their individual well-being with the larger social and political environment. Sometimes, however, they need a little push, and the local authorities should be responsible for making the first move. It all starts by inviting youth to participate and being clear that youth matters.
Zimmerman, Marc A. “Empowerment Theory: Psychological, Organizational and Community Levels of Analysis.” Handbook on Community Psychology, edited by J. Rappaport and E. Seidman, New York: Plenum Press, 2000.
In Finland local governments are obliged to set up a youth council or other body that represents young people in the municipal decision-making process. The most common way to achieve this is to establish youth councils or similar bodies, web-based channels, and through structures established at schools and youth facilities. In 2017, all the municipalities in Finland need to have a youth council.
Find out about the youth policy toolkit and how to become a European youth capital:
Each and every person regardless of his/her nationality, gender, religion, socio-economic level or disabilities has a right to participate fully in social, economic, cultural, and political life.
We all know that, right? In reality, however, many young people struggle to fight exclusion based on seemingly much more trivial and often overlooked reasons: violence; educational underachievement and unemployment; family illness and lack of family spport; running away, substance abuse, criminality and criminalisation. Such issues may be more prevalent especially in urban areas and neighbourhoods. Yet, deliberately designed urban spaces can wreak physical and imaginative barriers between people encouraging cooperation instead of confrontation.
Access to mobility, the right to commute equally in urban settings, is a basic rights issue, a problem often found in urban design while also essential for fostering ecologically sound, efficient and enjoyable ways to commute in cities. A huge majority of cities are designed primarily for cars rather than bicycles, other means of mobility and pedestrians. Ecological and progressive city planning is a central tool to affect the mobility systems in a city.
The Escolhas Programme is a national programme in Portugal designed to promote the social inclusion. The programme selects and funds local projects that develop actions aimed at promoting the social inclusion of young people. Each project addresses at least one of the five strategic areas of intervention: school inclusion and non-formal education; vocational training and employment; community work and citizenship; digital inclusion; and entrepreneurship.
Read more how many problems a youngster faces are due to family- and environment-related issues, thus learning more about a person really can make a difference:
Engage young people in the organisation’s activities and pay special attention to inclusion of the ones who need it the most. Organise storytelling events to raise common understanding and appreciation of diverse experiences, or even try something like the Theatre of the Oppressed.
Learning by doing fosters comprehension and fortifies knowledge. When a person creates something unique it ignites the passion and responsibility for the result. All young people should benefit from at least one practical entrepreneurial experience before leaving compulsory education. Entrepreneurial skills contribute to not only new business creation but also the employability of young people. Youth are great at voicing fresh ideas and previously unthought-of approaches to global challenges. In Finland, for instance, consumer services, which make it easier for people to adopt sustainable lifestyles by solving common problems, are blooming. Moreover, youth are early adapters of new products and services and they are experts in the possible solutions to their problems.
Dobry Rovar is a DIY bicycle sharing system in Minsk, Belarus. It was started out by locals gathering broken bikes from people who were not interested in repairing or keeping them for their own good but were willing to share the bikes with others. The sharing system is built on trust — people use bikes for free, then drop them off somewhere in the city and tag the new location on the project’s website for others to see. It is an example of a grass roots sharing economy initiative that now has drawn attention from several sponsoring companies providing bikes, parking locks and other tools.
Developing the creative and innovative potential of young people through non-formal learning in ways that are relevant to employability:
The total of young people not in employment, education or training, is currently around 14 million in the EU. The annual economic loss to society is estimated at €162 billion (Eurofound, 2013), in addition to the long term personal and social costs.
Young people have a unique experience and knowledge, and certain views and ideas derive from it. They have skills and abilities to bring constructive solutions to the problems affecting them and change their own lives for better. However, institutions way too often fail to recognise the value of young people’s contributions. It is crucial to acknowledge and to openly show support to young people’s initiatives to encourage them to share their knowledge. Not only for the sake of young people, but especially because for institutions this information can be very useful for institutions and unavailable by other means.
YouthBank in Ireland is a unique way of involving young people in grant-making within their local community. It is a youth-led activity meaning that only young people make up the grant committee. The funding distributed by these decision-making committees supports projects designed and run by young people that address issues and concerns relevant to them and their community.
Safety in the city is a shared matter between all stakeholders ranging from the municipality leaders to young people, the latter ones often being the ones that cause problems as well as suffer from them the most. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, and sometimes something as simple as putting on streetlights can make a difference.
Alex Square in Sarkandaugava. Until 2014, Sarkandaugava neighbourhood in Riga was a non-place having a negative and very biased image — post-soviet, post-industrial, working class neighbourhood with dangerous and unpleasant environment. The square was devastated, derelict and blank spot in the central part of neighbourhood, lacking even basic maintenance.
Following an initiative of a group of urbanists, architects and cultural workers, Alex Square became the first showcase in Riga for a public space changing its image.
The group of urban activists initiated the first design-driven, participatory project revealing the capabilities of local people with direct hands-on methods towards making significant spatial improvement.
Alex Square, which is characterised as a pocket space, gained new identity and attracted various cultural players with a wide range of artistic and urban pilot projects happening in the neighbourhood that served as an amplifier for changing the image of the whole Sarkandaugava neighbourhood. Now nobody asks where Sarkandaugava is, everyone knows that it is where Alex Square is.
Establishes a monitoring system to track the perceived safety of areas to find the most dangerous yet perhaps overlooked places, and provides space-specific solutions. Safety issues vary from city to city, and even among different neighbourhoods and streets within them myriad of specific problems can be found. One way to monitor is the Safety Index Model created in Rotterdam:
Discourage shaming and punishment, because they do not work. Instead, try a peer-programme, changing structure of school classrooms and reward more helpful behaviours
Or try the Finnish approach that uses virtual learning methods and enlists high-status peers as defenders of those who are being bullied
Read more about the Latvian experience in a neighbourhood:
The success of the future local governance lies in the ability to create and manage networks; the future prosperity of the local governance is totally participatory. Youth should play a key role in these networks and must be considered not only as the future leaders, but rather as today’s decision-makers and experts of urban realities. However, youth is often seen rather as a problem than a solution. Adults tend to emphasise that youth are loud, ruin public spaces with graffiti and skateboarding. Such stigmatisation may stem from a simple cause — lack of simple instruments and knowledge on how to work with youth. Thus, a little guidance for municipalities, schools and youth organisations may come in handy for working alongside with young people.