Day 6 – Himmelbeet’s action plan

The last day of the training was dedicated to the creation of an action plan for the reconstruction of Himmelbeet. Vera, the Romanian partner of the EURBANITIES project, gave us some analysis methods to propose the most relevant action plan possible. This was notably the case with the analysis of the levels of involvement of the stakeholders in a project, the use of the project management triangle method (a qualitative goal depending on the scope, cost and time) and the SMART goals tool to describe and express the objectives in the clearest and simplest way. The presence of one of the members of the community garden was an important element for us to enrich our exchanges and proposals formulated individually on post-its. Here are some examples:
– To have a stage that will give a boost to young local musicians/artists/poets.
– To offer co-creation workshops with the neighbourhood, an empty space that teenagers can decorate as they wish, as well as events to share food, seeds, etc.
– Promote the inclusion of all publics (disabled, disadvantaged), the transgenerational aspect and multiculturality.
– Installing sports and relaxation facilities such as a slackline.

The next step was to sort the proposals according to the different phases of the project:
1 – Online communication and public relations includes collecting feedback from residents.
2 – The reconnection stage consists in finding the numbers of former members through invitations in the mailboxes for example.
3 – The administrative and procedural stage consists of informing the representative persons of the green administration office about our garden project at the beginning of the project.
4 – The need to offer outreach includes the creation of events and workshops with local people.
5 – The last step is to federate schools & other social institutions/partners via participatory council to allow people to share what they want to create, implement, improve.

The sheet of one of the action plans.

Day 3 – “Map me happy” outcomes and gamification

We started the Day 3 by a reflection around the “Map me happy” activity of the day before. Everyone goes the chance to express their feeling about the methodology (through a SWOT analysis and informal discussion) and the outcomes (a personnal mapping of the Wedding neighbourhood). We also did a word cloud of the main adjectives they collected from the inhabitants and devided them in two categorizes: social interraction and nature places. This sump up allowed us to have a more global view of the needs and desires/missing places of the neighbours. For example, they need more parks, green spaces, more sport courts, gathering places, etc.

The next step of our morning was to discover how to use and create our own game on Actionbound application. As a remind, Actionbound is a tool which enable people to discover a specific area through quizzes and localisation games. As young people being able to create this kind of game, permit us to have a meaningfull impact on the society and raise awareness on topics. This activity has been really inspiriring, as one of us already decided to implement this discovery tool in her city.

After a lunch break, Andrea one of the italian members of the Eurbanities project, taught us about gamification and games in general. By the use of videos we brain-stormed about the main aspects of a game. Now we know how to classified them into five groups: rules, goals, interaction, challenge and entertainment. For instance, entertainment can be present in many forms such as fulfillment, success, stimulation and aesthetic. We also discussed about the use of game for educationnal purposes which allows students learn quicker in a more fun way and even increase their concentration. The brain-storming finished, we linked the topic with our main interest, youth enterpreunership and activism through a concrete exemple; the eurbanities game. It highighted the importance of story telling, social interractions and community to takle an environnemental issue and reach the  goal.

DAY 3 – Garage Grande visit

During day 3 of the UCELab exchange, we had the opportunity to visit Garage Grande, one of the exchange Case Studies. The history of this regeneration project is quite bizarre because Garage Grande, before becoming a space dedicated to the Viennese community, was actually… a real garage! The garage building, though, during time was not respecting anymore some structural criteria and has been sold to private investors. In the meantime of changing its use, the space has been given to the neighbour community.

The UCELab participants while visiting the Garage Grande outer space.

Barbara, one of the architect and founder of the Garage Grande experience, told us the story of this place, explaining that it was born primarily as a need to provide the local community with green spaces and plants that would offer a place where people could “breathe” clean air in the center of a big city. Cities are getting hotter because climate change and associated challenges in cities affect us all. In this context, one of the aims of Garage Grand is to shows what plants can do to improve the microclimate in densely built-up cities and how important they are for cooling in increasingly hot summers. One of the most striking features of this space, in fact, is the presence of greenery, which can be spotted not only in the facades and pots placed outside, but also on the upper floors where several people in the neighborhood have reserved to grow vegetables and flowers of various kinds.

Barbara, one of the founder architect, told to the UCELab participants the story of Garage Grande.

The large spaces of Garage Grande, whose use has been temporarily offered to the community while waiting to change its destination, are a real chance of place making offered to the neighborhood. Here different kinds of activities happen: the space can be used by everyone as a real garage, but also as a place where to practice sports: such as yoga class, climbing… Also, Garage Grande is a place where some local artists can have a studio-like-space were to exercise and store they creations and of course, confront with the Garage Grande users.

As Barbara told to us, Garage Grande is a space in continuos transformation and attended by different types of people of different ages. This space in fact, hosts different types of events that welcome from the oldest to the youngest, there are musical events, but also educational that aim to include as many people as possible in the creation of a common space and built by the citizens of the neighborhood.

DAY 2- Visit at Zukunftshof

On Wednesday the 15th of September, we went to visit the Zukunftshof space in Vienna a space in the city centre that has been regenerated and now hosts what their creators call a “living utopia”.

The video was realised by the UCELab participants during the visit at Zukunftshof.

The founders of the association Zukunftshof have decided to dedicate the large spaces of this dismissed place to urban agriculture and from this first step, to give life to a slow food restaurant with zero km products. The vision of the founders was to support the transformation of Viennese citizens from consumers to real producers.  Zukunftshof, little by little, has turned into a project that has made productive agriculture tangible and within the reach of everyone, even to the urban center inhabitants.

The UCELab participants during a guided tour at the Zukunftshof.

As our guide told us, however, this space is not only a productive place dedicated to the world of agriculture, but above all a community place where different types of activities happen. The Zukunftshof focus, indeed, is also on social projects and educational programs in collaboration with schools, but also with resident artists and the organization of various festivals which involve not only the local the neighborhood, but also the communities of the neighbouring cities and villages.

The space, in fact, has become a real “landmark” for the neighbourhood and, in addition to offering the community productive spaces, provides families and children with recreational spaces where they can work in a sort of co-working, a library and a large green space where you can get in touch with the green in the context of an urbanized city.

The UCELab participants during the visit at Zukunftshof.

The part that most impressed us about the project, was the willingness and ability that the project has had over the years to bring together different generations and unite them in a common project that aims to rediscover the contact with nature and seeks an increasingly circular approach in the way we all produce and consume.

DAY 1 – Film Screening night and Case Study

During the first night of the UCELab project, all participants participated an activity of film screening took place.

After the screening activity, we were involved in a discussion with some of the night guests who told their experiences of urban regeneration. In particular, one of the Case Study we discussed, was that of Scugnizzo Liberato, a social centre located in the very historical centre of the city of Naples. A group of locals decided to join forces in order to give birth to a common for the city and for its citizens. In particular, they worked in sinergy to regenerate an abandoned building which was the former juvenile prison, with the aim of returning this fosaken place, long since disued, to its community.

The discussion was really stimulating especially in relation to the role that these regenerated places can have in the lives of the people who live in these territories, beyond the tourist offer. The point is that this kind of intervention stems from the will to create spaces for citizenship, especially when it comes to abandoned buildings. The reflection we did during this activity, thanks to the host experience, concerned precisely this, showing how each city has its own needs and its own way of managing the assets to be invested in the preservation and enhancement of cultural heritage. Very often, in fact, what is lacking is a real support from the institutions that in some cases even discourage this type of grassroots initiatives, while in others they are in favour and even work to make these activities flourish, contributing to the preservation of abandoned spaces and returning their use to the community.

The Scugnizzo Liberato Case Study has given us the opportunity to think about how every urban reality has its own distinct and different needs, which cannot be summarized, nor unified with simplicity. For example, we discussed about children’s spaces: while in Germany the youngster generations have ample green spaces and a more genuine contact with nature, in large cities, such as Naples, this relationship with green is reduced, and there is rather a relationship of proximity, shaped by the morphology of the city’s space, its narrow streets and the culture of living public space. For this reason, the approach to regeneration and the call for community participation are processes that must start from different cultural roots and must be contextualized starting from the territory in which the interventions are to be implemented, in order not to distort them and to implement initiatives that are inclusive and of real value for that specific territory.