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 5 – The Reversed Perspective

The last two days of the UCELab Exchange were more focused on methodologies, and on the Fifth day we had the oportunity to meet the “Reversed Perspective” one. This tool is very helpful while it is needed a different point of view on the situation one’s want to analyse because, actually, it is about analysing the area according to what is going well and what is going wrong in that specific neighbourhood. Starting from these premises, the next step is trying to build on already existing patterns that are already working improvements and substantial improvements. 

Some notes and sketches from the participants.

To our group it was a very immersive experience because it allowed us to understand how to work in synergy in these kinds of situations. Indeed, we needed not only to put together the puzzle pieces we collected through the stories and experiences of the community in the previous days, but also to use them as catalysts for project actions that you want to implement in order to make improvements at a local scale.

The participants working during the activity.

Learning this method, together with the analysis of the levels of involvement of the community citizens and other tools, helped us to define our final draft of the Action Plan for the Himmelbeet garden. The plan we worked on proposes specific objectives and actions to be implemented in the field of public communication, e-connection with the inhabitants, administrative procedures, the creation of events and workshops and the involvement of schools and social organisations.

Sketches and notes the participants took during the session.

Finally, the action plan was provided to the Himmelbeet team, which will use the input to create a future vision. 

Day 4- The Empathy Interviews

On Sunday we focused on the Empathy Interviews session, that actually was a dynamic open-air activity where we had to engage with local people.

The educators were presenting the Empathy Interview session.

But what is an empathy interview, and why did we decide to use this type of survey to collect data? As the educators told us Empathy Interviews can be defined as one-on-one conversations that use open-ended questions to explicit stories and anedocts about specific experiences of the stakeholders involved that help uncover unacknowledged needs.

We acknoledged the importance of delivering such a methodology while trying collect useful and based on reality data to establish a diagnosis of the urban tissue of our interest. What is collected through this methodology, indeed, works like a puzzle as the fragment of a puzzle that helps us reconstruct a situation based on the living, everyday experiences of the people involved.

The Empathy Interview methodology helps to understand the whole puzzle starting from everyday life real experiences. Image source:

The methodology of empathy storytelling was then delivered and put into practice with the inhabitants of the neighbourhood. In particular, our scope was trying to understand what was the opinion and the position of the community in regard to the possibility of co-construction of an action plan for a community garden named Himmelbeet.  

The participants during the Empathy interviews experience.

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.