Citizen engagement and involving young people in the development work is one of the main themes in the SPARCS project. City of Espoo and Citycon’s Lippulaiva project are piloting Buddyclass activities with two classes in the Espoonlahti area during secondary school. Co-operation has played vital part in citizen engagement activities.
One of the targets of the SPARCS project is to involve young people in the Lippulaiva project and in the themes of sustainable development. Citycon has long collaborated with young people in other centers it owns, including organizing joint design workshops. In the SPARCS project, the aim was to deepen co-operation with young people and to pursue longer-term co-operation with the same group. This idea emerged into the Lippulaiva Buddyclass. Now SPARCS project is hosting two buddyclasses: Citycon is hosting the Lippulaiva buddyclass and City of Espoo is hosting another one, both from the Espoonlahti area.
The collaboration began in the fall of 2020 at the same time as the buddyclasses secondary school began and the collaboration will last approximately three years. Meetings are held 3-4 times a year and the topics of the meetings are related to sustainable development and sustainable solutions according to the students' curriculum. Image above presents the meetings and themes we already arranged during the first year and the ideas for the following meetings. From these ideas, meetings are applied to suit both buddy classes.
Overall, the cooperation has been very fruitful for all parties. Meetings have included brainstorming and workshopping with interesting discussions with youngsters, as well as teaching and learning of sustainable solutions. We have been brainstorming what youngsters would like to have and do in Lippulaiva. One of the themes included workshopping of what sustainable mobility is and how micromobility should be developed in Espoonlahti. We also arranged a city walk in the Espoonlahti area, where the main theme was sustainable lifestyle, future city and urban development. Within the theme of recycling, after learning some facts of the topic, students designed and implemented recycling bins for the Lippulaiva library.
The collaboration with the Buddyclass will continue next fall. There are plans for a visit to the Lippulaiva construction site in the autumn - this we have had to postpone due to the corona pandemic. In Lippulaiva we have exceptionally great sustainable on-site energy solutions, and we also want to tell and teach the Buddyclass about these solutions. City of Espoo has planned company visits and other activities to activate the students to think about their sustainable future in a concrete and easygoing way. As the buddyclass activities continue, we will report on it in the coming SPARCS newsletters as well!