The first session of the URBACT pilot training scheme for elected representatives is now behind us. This training is a beautiful and ambitious project and I thought I would be nice to exchange first reactions with you on it!
30 elected representatives from URBACT cities learning about integrated urban development
Mayors, Deputy mayors and councillors from cities that are currently running an URBACT project have been invited to apply for a training scheme on integrated urban development organised around three seminars. URBACT received about 70 applications and the best candidates were selected. Specific attention has been made to creating a nice and very diverse group, in which each participant brings a specific experience!
Learning methods and tools to develop integrated and sustainable urban policies
Each of the elected representatives made time in his or her busy agendas to come to Brussels, but what did they do?
The seminars mix theoretical presentations, practical exercises around tools one can use to do collaborative integrated urban planning and peer reviews. The session is prolonged by a site visit of regeneration projects. A few keywords can sum up the approach of the training: exchange concept, theories and inspiring cases, gain new skills, in particular tools method for urban management, network through exchange and peer reviews and get inspired through site visits!
This first session was certainly not a restful time for the participants! The programme was full from morning to evening and everyone had to be very active all along!
Nice ice-breaking activities helped the participants to know each other. For instance, everyone had to draw one’s own ‘coat of arms’ to present one’s work, family situation, hobbies and involvement in URBACT.
But one also learns from participative activities. The practical exercise around the use of the problem tree was very informative. It is a role game in which different stakeholders identify the roots of a specific problem (in this case a high level of unemployment in a deprived neighbourhood) and they collaboratively draw a tree: A good way of fostering collaboration, which also triggers debates and discussions during the exercise.
Thanks to the translation in 6 languages, everyone was able to participate in a language they felt confident in! It always makes my day when I see that people are ready to bare a small level of difficulty to work together and learn from each other, despite language and cultural differences or even diverging political views.
The next seminars are in September and December 2013. The first one will be on the participative approach and the involvement of stakeholders, the second about sustainability and change.
There is much more to say about this past session and the ones coming. We will continue to post more on this project in the coming days and weeks so keep an eye on URBACT website and blog!
If you are on twitter do follow @URBACT to get all the updates and you can find some of the participants there too and we’ve been using #urbelect for the discussion!