The 𝐈𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐍𝐞𝐭𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 brought 49 participants of the Urban Goodcamp Communities together, coming from the 6 European cities involved in the project.
It was a great opportunity for different stakeholders to share, and find bridges and interconnections between their ventures and projects on 𝐁𝐢𝐨𝐝𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐆𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐒𝐩𝐚𝐜𝐞𝐬, 𝐂𝐢𝐫𝐜𝐮𝐥𝐚𝐫 𝐄𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐨𝐦𝐲, and 𝐒𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐞𝐬.
After developing and testing the Urban GoodCamp Training Programme - a multidisciplinary challenge-based innovation sprint in the form of a bootcamp that comprises theoretical and practical learning - the consortium conceived this Toolkit as the result of the implementation phase of the project. It describes the different elements of the methodology, as well as the structures that can be used to carry out the bootcamp.
Considering the atemporality of Urban Challenges, the consortium partners believe that this programme can be a useful tool for any organisation interested in contributing to transform their communities. In this regard, we hope that this toolkit will be your best ally when implementing the Urban GoodCamp Training Programme.
Our project has just released the most recent finalised outcomes, which collect the solutions developed by the participant students to their urban challenges, and highlight the learnings from the pilot-testing phase and the evaluation of the experiences implemented between October 2022 and April 2023.
The URBAN GOODCAMP COLLECTION OF SOLUTIONS and the URBAN GOODCAMP IMPLEMENTATION REPORT are now available for consultation and free download. More will follow soon!
Images of the meeting
The 4th International partners' meeting of the project took place in Venice in 20-21 April, and was organized and hosted by an amazing team at Dipartimento di Management - Università Ca' Foscari Venezia.
Beyond the absolutely inspiring context - which, in itself, has become the focus of one of the urban challenges of the project - the team rolled up its sleeves to plan the final activities of the project.
Boosted by the creativity of the solutions designed by the students and stakeholders participating in the bootcamps in all the 6 European cities, and the collaboration of the project's team to design the final products of the project, there will be a lot happening in the next months!
#erasmusplusproject #urbanchallenges #sustainability #urbangoodcamp #bootcamps
Snapshots of the community events held in different partner cities
By: Catherine Hayward (UIIN)
Stakeholder consultation is key throughout the Urban GoodCamp project lifespan. Thus, the project envisions the undertaking of at least four events where urban stakeholders are engaged to provide feedback, insights, and advice around the development and implementation of the project bootcamps.
The initial Consultation Events have already taken place across six partner cities (Amsterdam, Helsinki, Ljubljana, Madrid, Paris & Venice), and this kick-started a collaboration between the community of stakeholders and the UCAMP consortium. Insights were gained into the urban challenges that stakeholders found most pressing, and these challenges were integrated into the learning framework and toolkit of the UCAMP bootcamps, allowing students the opportunity to apply their new knowledge to real issues.
Community Building Events
Considering the valuable input gained from stakeholders that was used in the development of the bootcamps, the next step was to obtain feedback from the communities on the bootcamp toolkit and content. Therefore, the partners once again have brought together their urban stakeholders to discuss the outline of the bootcamp, in a so-called Community Building Events. These events not only aim to obtain feedback, but also focus on how to better create connections between stakeholders themselves (i.e., how can they work together to solve urban challenges?), as well as developing linkages between the stakeholders and the project consortium for the creation of greater impact.
Looking Forward in our Communities
So far, more than 100 urban stakeholders have taken part in our Community Building Events, and these stakeholders and members of the UCAMP consortium have committed to working together for their goals. For example, the University of Ca’ Foscari and its Venetian stakeholders aim to test possible ways to aggregate the different initiatives already operating in the city, to work towards making Venice a resident- and tourist-friendly city. This process will also allow Ca’ Foscari to test if the university can really become a platform to facilitate co-design processes with local stakeholders, through the creation of an effective innovative learning environment.
Another UCAMP consortium member, Institut Mines-Télécom Business School, has plans to work together with a company that was part of their stakeholder community, to reach more participants for the bootcamp and co-deliver the programme.
Following up on this first Community Building Event, the next step will be for the urban stakeholder groups to provide their suggestions for improvements on the implementation of the bootcamps, so that the toolkit can be updated for future users. There will also be opportunities to further strengthen the alliance between the communities and the UCAMP consortium through innovation tours, additional events and an intercommunity webinar. The second Community Building Event will take place in the first quarter of 2023.
Snapshots of the online Train the Trainers sessions
The Urban GoodCamp Train the Trainers' session was held in October 2022 on Zoom. Delivered by members from Aalto University, the session was intended to provide an overview of the Urban GoodCamp project and its different layers. The session was hosted by Natalia Villaman, with the help of colleagues Marcela Acosta and Saara Kuikka.
Together we delved into the structure of the programme, its educational goals, the role and commitment of all partners involved and useful information on timelines and reporting. At the same time, a complementary document was introduced: the Urban GoodCamp's Pilot Implementation Strategy. The document, representing WP5's first deliverable, is meant to act as a replicable guide to understand and implement the current and future versions of the project. It includes all the contents from the Train the Trainers' session, as well as more practical and detailed information on the different aspects of the events to be held.
Finally, the trainers introduced a series of supporting tools for partners to help them plan, keep track and organise their own work. Taking the form of templates, visual aids, presentations and checklists, the partners at Aalto University wanted to provide concrete means to make the planning traceable, easy to document and relatable for all partners involved.
After the training, it was time for questions. This time was used to ask for feedback on the session itself, and on the contents of the Pilot Implementation Strategy as well. WP5 duly noted existing needs and gaps that were subsequently implemented (such as the need for dissemination guidelines or feedback collection surveys) and were disseminated among all partner organizations.
This instance proved to be a great exercise to understand the magnitude and importance of the Urban GoodCamp project. Yet at the same time, it turned out to be a moment in which to recognize the hard work being put forth by all those involved.
By: Alexandra Zinovyeva (interviewer) & Viviana Rojas (co-author)
Hack4Change, a week-long hackathon that brings students and stakeholders together to tackle pressing social sustainability issues, is organised by Dublin City University (DCU) Business School. Gathering more than 600 students and 80 industry representatives to work together to solve society’s biggest challenges, the event exposes students to numerous activities, including live talks by experts, mentoring and pitching. Overall, the event gives students practical experience in collaborating with industry partners, and students are given the opportunity to directly engage with relevant societal topics.
The process of making a change
Hack4Change has three main objectives that impact learning: it aims to 1) facilitate the development of innovative ideas to tackle societal challenges, 2) create student awareness and interest towards societal issues, and 3) help participants develop critical skills such as teamwork, networking and problem solving.
Participants in Hack4Change are made up of first-year undergraduates enrolled in the Learning Innovation for Enterprise (LIFE) module. The LIFE module is designed to help students better understand innovation in commercial, entrepreneurial, and organisational contexts. The hackathon tackles challenges in three key areas: climate, equality and mental health & wellbeing. The challenges related to climate include topics such as sustainability, fast fashion and smarter travel, while topics associated with equality may consist of diversity & inclusivity, global challenges and discrimination. The mental health & wellbeing challenges that may be addressed include post-COVID living, cyberbullying and more.
During the event, students are teamed up with one another according to their topics of interest, and develop viable social enterprise ideas based on the event’s themes. Participants go on to pitch their concepts to judges at the end of the week and are assessed based on the reflection papers they submit after the experience. Throughout the hackathon, participants receive advice from industry leaders and mentors. The event has mentors from a mixture of backgrounds and includes mentors from the university’s internal areas who are experts in the hackathon’s topics, as well as master’s students.
To bring participants in closer proximity with one another, Hack4Change makes use of the online “Gather Town” platform; a virtual world where video-calling is combined with a 2D map, which allows participants to virtually walk around and have conversations with other people on the map. Gather Town allows multiple people to hold separate conversations in parallel, joining conversations as easily as they would in reality. Hack4Change uses the platform so that students can attend talks from different speakers, meet with their mentors, and enjoy a chat with their friends in the park or on the beach.
Impacts and lessons learned
In terms of attracting participants, it was necessary to create awareness of societal challenges and the benefits that students would receive by participating in the hackathon. Furthermore, DCU was able to use its position as an industry-focussed university to easily find stakeholders and mentors that could take part in the event. Organisers of Hack4Change acknowledge that involvement of external stakeholders is critical for making participants’ experience more enriching and engaging, and stress the importance of creating an interdisciplinary experience, considering the multifaceted nature of societal challenges.
Alexandra Zinovyeva (interviewer)
Viviana Rojas (co-author)
By Adeline Leroy & Omar Faris
Urban agriculture refers to a number of different activities related to the cultivation of the production, distribution, and marketing of food and other products within urban and peri-urban areas. It is an industry with many opportunities and growing new challenges with a key facet being knowledge and competence are constantly evolving which must be shared to create synergy effects and growth.
A key aspect of these new challenges is ensuring all urban agricultural practices fall in line with the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations; i.e. ensuring and attempting to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. The following are recent changes and urban farming techniques that have allowed urban farming to follow these global goals, largely thanks to recent technological as well as digital transformations:
The integration of vertical farms throughout urban areas allows for the utilization of urban spaces to be more productive and efficient while providing citizens with access to fresh products.
IoT Based Smart Farming
Agricultural producers across urban and peri-urban locations are required to track a multitude of parameters on a daily basis to ensure a high quality of crops and mainitiang an efficient and satisfactory yiled. Internet of Things sensors [IoT Sensor] are developed to assist in reducing the challenges they face by mining data on matters such as water, air, soil, and climate which help in future forecasts in determine what plants need, as well as any urgent and immediate changes.
Regarding the prevention of food waste APPRO 77 is a concrete and innovative solution which fights against food insecurity. It develops and conducts a multitude of activities concerning anti-waste food, food aid, and has already distributed an estimated 1.172 Tons of food
All in all, it is essential to look at modern urban agriculture practices as a solution to the ever evolving climate crisis, all the while ensuring millions have access to food, products, and more at a faster rate, with producers being more efficient, and countries enacting more climate friendly agricultural practices.
Photo by Tom Fisk on Pexels
Photo by Charlie Marchant on Flickr
Can Venetians be the solution to the Queen of the Sea’s urban challenges?
The debate on the possibility of redesigning a sustainable Venice is a ‘hot’ topic that has been discussed several times in the past, such as by the Financial Times, with the article 'Can Venice Reinvent Itself?'. Venice is indeed a one-of-a-kind city, a Unesco World Heritage site since 1987, that faces challenges that are currently mining its own identity, pointing out the difficulty of being a city on a human scale, able to attract new residents and hold the current dwellers (at the moment 50,000 out of 20 million tourists each year), and able to create new streams of business, other than tourism, escaping the curse of being considered a sort of amusement park rather than a real city.
The Italian Urban GoodCamp team has delved into this topic through a series of interviews with 'experts' of Venice, people who live and work in the city, who care about its problems and who are actively involved in projects gravitating around it. The overall goal of these interviews was to understand which levers could be activated in order to transform this iconic city from an open-air museum into a real contemporary city, protecting its multifaceted environment that embraces both the lagoon and the city.
The interviews pointed out the need that Venice has a real need to be sustainable not only from a financial perspective, but also from a social and environmental point of view. Residents seem indeed to be pushed away by a rising cost of housing, a small offer in terms of public services to locals and few opportunities of work outside of the tourism and hospitality industry.
Professor Massimo Warglien, professor at the Department of Management of Ca’ Foscari University and Venetian by adoption, launched and currently coordinates VenyWhere, a project that aims to create a new layer of residents made of remote workers, facilitating the arrival in the city of "temporary citizens" who can contribute to the economic and social net of the city. By analyzing today's trends in digital nomadism and new "workers from anywhere", VenyWhere intends to offer three types of support to its users: a. provide residential and co-working spaces; b. present ancillary services to encourage the integration of newcomers; c. promote social innovation and new active citizenship at the service of the community. The long-term goal is that these people, who initially may move to Venice for a limited time, in the end decide to stay, to promote a new type of residency and contribute to the redesign of a more sustainable city. The concept of fluid residentiality of the "worker from anywhere" may be an answer to the depopulation of urban spaces in Venice, if these incoming residents can create a real bond with the city and its dwellers.
Elisabetta Armellin, artist and entrepreneur, founder of the V73 brand that acts as an ambassador of Italian fashion all over the world, is definitely ‘in love’ with Venice, since she was studying there, at the Academy of Fine Arts. The V in her brand represents Venice, indeed. For her, the whole city is a source of inspiration; in many V73 bags there are small references to the architecture of Venice and even the materials she uses are part of the Venice traditional craftsmanship. Elisabetta is nostalgic about the ateliers she admired as a student, and is quite pessimistic regarding the future of the artisanal touch that made Venice famous all over the world, because of the presence of cheap and low quality imitations that are currently emptying Venice of its creative and renowned artisanal signature. Education of incoming visitors can be a key to fight against the suffocating overtourism dynamics of the city, in her opinion: tourists need to learn how to enjoy and respect the artistry of the ancient know-hows of Venice and maybe, this way, some of them may decide to pick up the craft and become the next generation of artists, taking inspiration from the city as she does.
Ludovico Dejak, young Venetian by birth, who studied in Rome but then returned to the lagoon to be the co-founder of Venice Calls, a local non-profit organisation based on the Giudecca island in Venice. Because of the issues related to ‘Acqua Alta’ - High Tide, Ludovico, together with the Venice Calls team, tries to sensitise younger generations on climate change and its impact on our Planet, and of course on the city. They regularly organise clean-ups of the lagoon with partners such as the WWF and the Guggenheim Foundation, where they create teams of volunteers who
collect garbage around the islands of the lagoon, record the items found and map where they accumulated the most. This is just one of the initiatives that Venice Calls launched to protect the lagoon, but of course he recognises the importance as well as the challenge of creating a real ecosystem where all local nonprofits can work together, in an effective way to help the city.
And here Universities can play a very important role, as facilitators for urban cooperation and co-creation processes for the design of a sustainable urban ecosystem, while generating innovative learning environments engaging with residents, companies and local governance, in order to bring together the creative minds that populate the lagoon. This has the goal to make Venice a city with a strong ‘Where Factor’, as American urban studies theorist Richard Florida states in his book “Who is your city?”, meaning a city where people decide to move, live and create their future.
Photo by Christian Holzinger on Unsplash
We’re half way there
The Urban GoodCamp Consortium finally met on a face-to-face meeting in Amsterdam, in June 10th 2022, hosted by the University Industry Innovation Network (UIIN).
This meeting was an opportunity for the partners to work intensively on analysing the results achieved in this half of the project's life, and to define the next activities, namely the implementation of the Bootcamps, the design of the pedagogical materials, and the achievement of goals for the coming months.
It was also a great occasion to meet in person, and overcome the challenges faced during the first half of the project, where the team could only meet online, nevertheless attaining all the outcomes initially proposed!