Among the main challenges European cities are facing today, new patterns of social and spatial inequality are among the most pressing. Furthermore, the impacts of exclusion, displacement, gentrification and other processes associated with urban change are most visible at the neighbourhood level.
The main purpose of the present project is to help empower citizens to more effectively influence local development processes that directly impact on their environments.
All over Europe, citizen participation is often hindered by a lack of information, a lack of communication and cooperation between affected stakeholders as well as limited access to knowledge of the options available for voicing local interests. Citizens and stakeholders therefore require tools that can help them overcome barriers to participation.
Our project involves the creation of a game based tool simulating neighbourhood participation to be used in training and teaching activities targeted at empowerment of citizens.
The main target group of EUrbanities project is therefore composed by trainers and teachers who are actively working in different fields of education, related to empowerment of citizens and citizen participation: trainings of people working “on the field” as social workers, local development agents, etc; trainings in adult education or for youth for active citizenship.
In order to achieve this main product EUrbanities project will follow a three years long project cycle organised in three main phases:
1. construction of the knowledge: experience evaluations on neighborhood level development programs
2. creation of the game tool: identification of scenarios of participation and the creation of an interactive online game facilitating the simulation of these scenarios
3. promotion and sustainability of the game tool: development of a list of pedagogical recommendations and of a Product Dissemination Plan.
Along these three main phases, the main outcomes of the project will be as follows:
1. An ebook and a printed booklet presenting the experience evaluations and the methods used
2. An ebook and a printed booklet presenting the identified scenarios of citizen participation and the methods of simulation games
3. An online game tool facilitating the simulation of participation in training
4. A list of pedagogical recommendations for the use of the game tool in trainings and teaching
5. A Product Dissemination Plan identifying the activities needed for the sustainable extension of the use of the tool EUrbanities will be built around different types of interactive transnational meetings and training sessions: transnational meetings for the presentation and exchange of experience evaluations, transnational meetings for the practical simulation of scenarios of citizen participation, two training courses and transnational meetings for the experimentation of the tool. The project will be closed by a large multiplier event.
Teaching and learning activities will be continuously present in the project via non formal and formal training.
The lead consortium partner consists will engage 7 members. As a common background, they are all engaged in urban and social issues, with a particular focus on questions of locality, civil participation, social aspects of urban development.
However, the consortium’s various approaches, activities and organizational forms reflect different remits and approaches:
1.institutional (basic) research (higher education);
2.locally embedded action research (vocational, primary and secondary education);
3.intercultural dialogue activities and trainings (non-formal and adult education) as well as further special focuses on e-media, web development and game producing.
The project lead partner is Comparative Research Network (Germany) who has a sound experience in multidisciplinary research as well as in the organisation of international workshops and trainings in intercultural dialogue, digital storytelling, action research on bordering processes. The partners are: Association for Urban Transition (Romania), Euro-Net (Italy), Institute of Urban Development (Poland), Mine Vaganti NGO (Italy), Regional Research Institute (Hungary) and UrbanisTimo (Finland).
EUrbanities will have a direct impact on approximately 4000 people including participants of meetings and trainings, visitors of the project web site and the project’s sites on the social media, readers of articles on the project and of course those who consult the project’s results.
As the main indirect effect played by the project is on urban neighbourhoods where local development projects take place (or will take place), we may presume that the indirect impact of the project have long-term relevance for a large section of the EU’s population.
The sustainability of the project’s results and the extension of its use on further stakeholders in other countries is at the core of the dissemination plan of the project. The Product Dissemination Plan will identify the main actions needed for the extension and sustainability of the game tool and all stakeholders will be invited to sign it and to commit themselves in some of the identified actions.