Session to the writing of the covenant between Education Cities Nederland and Youth related organizations and initiatives, with the goal to extent the EU Urban Agenda with a specific agenda of the Youth.
The EU Urban Agenda is all about Social Innovation in the cities. Future proof Social Innovation starts with investment in education of the youth, giving space for ideas and initiatives for and from youngsters. Youngsters who affect decision making, the process of policy realization and the evaluation of policies that affects them. That is ‘organizing involvement’.
This starting point forms the addition to the current EU Urban Agenda: the YOUTH Urban Agenda functions between local and European levels. Education Cities Nederland takes the lead to give this agenda meaning and function, together with organizations and initiatives already working in the field.
Dynamics in the City
People live in cities, where they learn and work, create and recreate. People take care of and influence each other. The city also knows times of falling asleep, pauperization, pollution, exclusion and decline. Often these developments go together.
The combination of factors which are playing a role during rapid change is complex to understand and hard to master. The human factor is the key. Social innovation is the driving force among technological innovation, urban regeneration, process innovation, etc. Where do we find the energy to open us for possibilities and for creating smart solutions?
These are young people who may make the difference. They exhibit exactly the required dynamics, they develop common power, use the spaces between structures and procedures and come up with non-lineair, sustainable and often lucrative solutions. That is to say: if the involvement of the city with its institutions is regulated to them: space, facilitation, ownership, support, legitimacy and a serious advisory position. Recognition of young people gaining their confidence and giving them confidence are of lasting value for the organization of all that concerns them and future generations. Young people are both the leaders and the followers. The teachers and the learners. The loners and the peer makers.
How can we deal with the challenges regarding the youth? How can we better ensure that they will not derail, that they have access to the right opportunities, that they represent a respectable part of society, that the distance to the labor market becomes less of a problem, that schools are better equiped to serve personal development? When young people feel ownership of their personal development process and of their surroundings because their opinion and behavior really means something, they will feel responsible for this environment and for themselves.
How can we be supportive when necessary, show the wonder, see the potential, learn from them during our teaching? Exactly that is yet to be explored. Along with our youth.
Policy and involvement
Authorities have their education policy, youth policy and employment policy. That works fine for those young people who ‘ fit ‘ in their rules and assumptions. It does not work for the youngsters who are increasingly following their own dreams and roads. Or for youngsters who no longer feel a connection and fall out. This is where the involvement dispute begins.
The world is changing rapidly. Young people not only change with it, they chane the world and the city behalve of their influence. This requires a new view on policymaking, facilitation, cohesion and interaction.
What is needed to pursue development of the local community besides self-interest and self-development?
The key lies in the ability to learn from the city by developing a town curriculum: learning from the dilemmas, the aspirations, the facilities and the knowledge. Know the city in all its qualities and defects. Using the city as a resource and as a challenge for experiments. The city in which learning takes on a significant position. The questions then would be: what can you mean for the city? And what can the city do for me? The city curriculum consists of the construction of personal talents and abilities of every person to design and construct the area. This curriculum is then publicly available to all stakeholders.
We want to make the city visible and available as a learning environment for young and old and develop a sustainable cohesion between all stakeholders. Here we want to create educational space for urban awareness the young urban and offer space for own ideas and initiatives regarding both the private and the urban developments. This creates involvement and a sense of responsibility for increasing personal development and environment opportunities.
Let’s invest in a sustainable way to facilitate those values to next generations. It is a process that is already happening inevitably. A process that either despite of or thanks to intervention by our current leaders and institutions will take place.