Project title: EUthMappers – open and collaborative mapping for pupils-led projects in Secondary Schools through innovative teaching methodology and fostering STEAM education and Environmental engagement

Project Acronym: EUthMappers

Project coordinator: Euronike

Funding: Erasmus +

Duration of the project: September 2020 – June 2023

Relevance and Priorities:

The EUthMappers project aligns with critical priorities such as promoting STEM education, fostering a STEAM approach, addressing digital transformation, and emphasizing environmental and climate change awareness. Recognizing the urgent need to reduce underachievement in reading, math, and science among 15-year-olds, EUthMappers aims to enhance pupils’ interest in STEM subjects, digital skills, and environmental civic engagement.

Project Approach:

EUthMappers leverages open-source geospatial tools for collaborative mapping projects, particularly using the OpenStreetMap platform. This approach equips secondary school pupils with valuable skills, including data analysis, critical thinking, and spatial contextualization. Mapping activities serve as a powerful entry point to geo-referenced data analysis, fostering data literacy and addressing critical skills shortages.

From an educational standpoint, mapping emerges as a multifaceted tool, offering technical and practical experience in the geospatial industry. The project aims to break down entry barriers by providing updated training opportunities for teachers, fostering innovative STEM teaching methodologies, and enhancing pupils’ interest in STEM disciplines.

The overarching goal of EUthMappers is to enhance teachers’ and pupils’ STEM knowledge through hands-on projects, focusing on data processing and stimulating civic and environmental engagement. Specific objectives include increasing pupils’ environmental awareness, enhancing digital skills, improving team-building and leadership skills, and integrating open geospatial tools into the curriculum.

The project envisions concrete outcomes such as the development of collaborative mapping projects, improved skills among pupils and teachers, the adoption of a Training Package in schools, and the creation of an EU community of Secondary Schools mappers. The ultimate impact extends beyond the project’s duration, contributing to the development of an informed, skilled, and engaged generation equipped to address societal challenges.

EUthMappers addresses critical educational priorities, emphasizing STEM education, digital transformation, and environmental awareness. Through innovative mapping projects, the project seeks to empower pupils and teachers, fostering a community committed to geospatial mapping and active citizenship.

Main outputs
Training Package Development and Implementation
Pupils – led Local mapping projects
Collaborative Humanitarian Mapping Project

URBAN2020’s Role in EUthMappers Project

URBAN2020 assumes a central role as it coordinates communication and dissemination efforts, leveraging its profound expertise in managing EU educational projects to amplify the visibility of the EUthMappers initiative. A crucial aspect of this responsibility involves crafting a comprehensive dissemination and communication plan, meticulously designed to ensure the project’s widespread impact.

In collaboration with Romanian school I.C Bratianu National College, URBAN2020 plays an active role in preparing educational institutions. Bringing forth substantial expertise in educational projects and GIS, URBAN2020 provides invaluable support to Romanian schools, ensuring they are well-prepared to meet the project’s objectives.

URBAN2020’s support extends to secondary schools, where it offers technical assistance vital for the development of the project. This commitment is further manifested through active collaboration with key partners such as AMADORA INOVATION and EURONIKE, cultivating a resilient network crucial for the seamless implementation of the project.

Reflecting its unwavering commitment, URBAN2020 places a significant emphasis on effective communication strategies. The organization not only coordinates data collection from schools but also underscores the importance of fostering robust communication channels. Through these efforts, URBAN2020 actively contributes to the project’s success and the broader goal of creating meaningful educational impact.

GIS4Schools: Climate Change Awareness for New Generations through Innovative Tools

The webinar “GIS4Schools: Climate Change Awareness for New Generations through Innovative Tools” will take place on October 14th from 11 to 13:30 pm EET, as part of the suite of Local Multiplier Events. The webinar is organized by Colegiul Național „Ion Neculce” in collaboration with Urban2020 Association.

  • The aim of the event is to present a general overview of the project, the progress done until now and how the secondary schools and pupils will be involved in the following steps;
  • It will provide the opportunity to discuss about the local context of Climate Change with experts, more precisely the impact of air pollution in Bucharest;
  • The online conference will introduce the general audience the project GIS4Schools and its innovative approach to STEAM subjects and, in particular, GIS technology and Earth Observation;

Among the experts that will take part in the webinar are: Bucharest Enivronmental Protection Agency, the National Meteorology Administration, prof. Mihai Răzvan Niță (Centre for Environmental Research and Impact Studies).


  • 11.00 Welcoming from the principal (Cătălina Olaru Colegiul Național Ion Neculce)
  • 11.05 Greetings from project’s leader (Elisa Filippi Euronike)
  • 11.10 Presentation of the project’s objectives and consortium (Nicoleta Silvia Ioana Colegiul Național Ion Neculce)
  • 11.25 Presentation of the activities accomplished and the ones still to be developed by the schools (Marco Gianinetto Politecnico di Milano)
  • 11.35 Presentation of the activities achieved so far, focus on the topics chosen by CNIN (Andreea Ionescu Colegiul Național Ion Neculce)
  • 12.05 20 minutes break
  • 12.25 Monitoring and managing air quality in Bucharest (Gabriel Ciuiu Șef Serviciu monitorizare și laboratoare din cadrul APMB)
  • 12.40 Use of satellite images and products in the analysis of air pollution (Claudiu Angearu Administrația Națională de Meteorologie; Denis Mihăilescu Administrația Națională de Meteorologie)
  • 13.05 Geographical perspective on the usefulness of GIS in environmental studies (Prof. Mihai Răzvan Niță Researcher CCMESI)
  • 13.20 Conclusions and final greetings (Nicoleta Silvia Ioana Colegiul Național Ion Neculce)

GIS4Schools: Geospatial technology for climate change in secondary schools

The webinar GIS4Schools: Geospatial technology for climate change in secondary schoolswill take place on October 8th from 3 to 5 pm CEST, as part of the World Space Week

  • The event will be the occasion to discuss about STEAM/STEM learning in secondary schools.
  • In line with this year’s World Space Week 2021 topics and the objectives of the project itself, the webinar aims at favoring the exchange on the status of STEAM/STEM learning in relation with the topic of climate change and the role of space technology to understand its effects on the environment and society.
  • The online conference will introduce the general audience the project GIS4Schools and its innovative approach to STEAM subjects and, in particular, GIS technology and Earth Observation.

The participation to the event is free of charge, but the registration is mandatory: .

GIS4Schools – Cities and Climate Change

GIS4SCHOOLS – Improving STEAM Education in Secondary Schools through the development and co-creation of new methodologies for teaching to and exploitation by pupils of GIS products related to climate impact on the environment

We developed a video as part of O1 Training Package (Open Educational Resources) Intellectual Output within the GIS4SCHOOLS project.

The O1 Training Package (Open Educational Resources) targets the professors of the secondary schools. The element that ensures greater success in the inclusion of GIS in teaching consists in supporting teachers through a learning path that leads them to consider GIS as an integral part of the program they offer to students. A training course followed by long-term support, in terms of coaching and feedback, helps the Professor in getting more confident both in teaching about GIS and in teaching with GIS. The video we created is meant to support professors in this educational journey.



Project title: Building RIGHTs-based and Innovative Governance for EU mobile women

Project Acronym: BRIGHT

Project coordinator: ActionAid International Italia Onlus

Funding: Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme 2014-2020

Duration of the project: November 2019 – October 2021

The ​BRIGHT – Building RIGHTs-based and Innovative Governance for EU mobile women project
promotes innovative governance partnerships for social inclusion and exercise of the EU rights for
underrepresented mobile citizens. BRIGHT supports the access to gender responsive public services, (e.g., social housing, public transport to the workplace, community solutions for childcare), for Romanian and Bulgarian women employed in low standard labour sectors in Southern Italy.

The core methodology is the ​adoption of the Public-Public Partnership Agreements as the result of a collaborative process among local institutions, EU citizens, employers, trade unions and CSOs to identify common needs and co-design services. The pilot foresees the adoption of Public-Public Partnership Agreements in 4 hosting communities addressing mobile women employed in agriculture. This will increase their awareness and participation in local civic activities throughout the co-design of communities-based services. The BRIGHT model fosters the adoption of participatory governance systems in other 5 EU local authorities to enable the participation of EU mobile citizens in decision making processes.

The BRIGHT project is carried out by an international consortium of project’s partners:

  • ActionAID INTERNATIONAL ITALIA ONLUS (Italy) – Lead Partner;
  • LABSUS – Laboratorio per la sussidiarietà (Italy);
  • Fundația Centrul Parteneriat Pentru Egalitate (Romania);
  • Centre for Sustainable Community Development (Bulgaria);
  • ALDA – European Association for Local Democracy (Belgium).

The project expected outcomes involve the following:

  • To improve the social inclusion and democratic participation ​of 800 Romanian and Bulgarian migrant women​ employed in agriculture in Southern Italy
  • To strengthen the awareness on EU citizenship rights of ​400 Romanian and Bulgarian potential female migrant workers​ in the sending countries
  • To ​enhance the capacity of local institutions ​and encourage European countries to adopt
    participatory governance systems (PuPs) that enable the participation of EU mobile citizens in
    decision-making processes.

Role of Asociatia URBAN2020:

Urban2020 is part of the Bright community, as potential replicator. The involvement in the BRIGHT project represents a new challenge, an opportunity to expand its action’s range to cover an increasingly topical social problem and try to find a connection with urban and territorial politics and strategies that can help better understand the phenomena and develop the right policy toolkit to face it.

Urban2020 expertise may prove useful for the elaboration of innovative strategies for the creation of local-based partnerships between citizens, private entities, and municipalities in order to promote community-based initiatives in the Romanian cities most affected by the phenomena and raise awareness on it.



Project title: GIS4SCHOOLS – Improving STEAM Education in Secondary Schools through the
development and co-creation of new methodologies for teaching to and exploitation
by pupils of GIS products related to climate impact on the environment.

Project Acronym: GIS4Schools

Project coordinator: Euronike

Funding: Erasmus +

Duration of the project: September 2020 – June 2023

The Gis4Schools project is a strategic partnership in the field of School Education aimed at introducing new methodologies based on GIS technologies, in High Schools programmes. The tool will be applied to the impact of climate change on the environment, in order to improve STEAM’s learning skills of pupils.

Improving STEAM education is one of the strategic priorities of the EU in the field of Education and training. However, although progress has been made in this area, according to the 2018 (PISA) results more than one in five pupils in the EU has insufficient proficiency in reading, mathematics or science. To improve STEAM’s learning, it is fundamental “to find better ways to nurture the curiosity and cognitive resources of children” by linking science with other subjects and disciplines. The final purpose is to allow students to better understand and tackle the environmental and societal challenges, with a focus on the local level. In this approach GIS is a precious enabling tool for the engagement of pupils in analysis related to their local environment and community.

The Gis4Schools project is based on a transnational and multi-stakeholders partnership (11 project partners) composed of:

  • Four secondary schools: ITT Marconi (Italy), Escola Secundária José Afonso (Portugal), Colegiul Național ”Ion Neculce” București (Romania), and IES Marc Ferrer (Spain);
  • One technical university: the Politecnico di Milano (POLIMI) (Italy)
  • One training teaching centre: Eagle Intuition (Portugal)
  • Four European and National Associations active in the field of Education, Space, Resilience and Climate Change: Eurisy (France), Euronike (Italy), Urban 2020 Association (Romania) and Blue Bubble World (Spain).

The project intends to promote a new approach for the involvement of pupils in STEAM disciplines’ learning by introducing the teaching of the GIS technology which is not yet (or rarely) adopted in secondary schools, and by applying it to the thematic area of “Climate Change” which is receiving increasingly global attention.

The main results of the project:

The activities will lead to the development of five Intellectual Outputs:

O1: Development and implementation of the Training Package – consists in supporting teachers through a learning path that leads them to consider GIS as an integral part of the program they offer to students. A training course followed by long-term support, in terms of coaching and feedback, helps the professors in getting more confident both in teaching about GIS and in teaching with GIS.

O2: Suite of open source GIS products co-created with pupils involvement – Pupils will be exposed to the practical application of the newly acquired knowledge about GIS and the underlying science, technologies and data, by familiarising themselves with data manipulation as well as with the design and development of the required software and procedures to obtain GIS products. The IO2 consists of open training material based on case studies (examples: increase in surface temperature).

O3: Pupils-led final report based on GIS Products – Pupils and their teacher will take stock of all they have learned throughout the project and build upon it to produce an evidence-based report. A video report and written report will be produced by each school.

O4: E-Learning platform and Open Source Repository – The creation of the E-learning platform and Open Source Repository responds to the necessity of spreading the knowledge developed throughout the implementation of the project and of making available the materials produced for future fruition as well as replication and evolution in different contexts. It is the unifying technological tool that keeps all the different components of the project together and that assure the transferability of the overall process.

O5: Monitoring and evaluation analysis report and policy guidelines – It is a key component for the transferability of the learning outcomes. One intermediate report and one final evaluation report will be delivered. The reports will allow a final evaluation of the learning process and the actual achievement of the project’s objectives.

Directly engaging the communities with the project is another important variable in the final outcome, so thematic events will be organised. The events have the role of rising awareness on the topics and deliverables of the project. The suite of meetings will be designed to engage relevant stakeholders experts in order to discuss the project’s outputs and to share inputs with the scope of enhancing its exploitation and adoption by the schools. The events will be of three types: national, local and for disseminating the results.

The project expected outcomes involve the following:

  • A reach of about 24 teachers and 180 pupils directly involved in the project’s activities
  • A reach of about 200 teachers and 1000 pupils as indirect beneficiaries

Role of Asociatia Urban2020:

Urban 2020 will contribute to the development of the Training Packages (IO1) by supporting the collection of content, especially in the connection between Climate Change and urban resilience, and to the Suite of open source GIS products co-created with pupils involvement (IO2) by supporting the Colegiul Național ”Ion Neculce”  throughout the implementation process by offering its thematic expertise and contributing to the Pupils-led final report based on GIS Products (IO3) by supporting the National College in the reports’ elaboration. Urban 2020 will coordinate the development of the E-Learning platform and Open Source Repository (IO4) and will contribute to the Monitoring and evaluation analysis report and policy guidelines (IO5).


Urban2020 will improve its skills in evaluating the territorial resilience and it will use the knowledge produced by the project outputs to support and encourage the improvement of urban
planning and adaptation to climate change activities in Country and Regions less developed and strongly threatened by climate change.

Food Wave – Empowering Urban Youth for Climate Change

Project title: Food Wave – EmpoweringUrban Youth for Climate Change (Grant Contract CSO-LA/2019/411-515)

Project coordinator: Comune di Milano

Funding: Europe Aid – Raising public awareness of develop

ment issues and promoting development education among European Citizens

Duration of the contract: December 2019 – November 2023

Contracting Authority: European Comission

The FoodWave project aims to increase awareness, involvement and responsibility in young generations (15-35 years) towards the adoption of sustainable behaviors in terms of food consumption. The project is coordinated by the Municipality of Milan, takes place across 16 EU Member States and is built around three key pillars: Awareness, Involvement and Mass Communication / Outreach. The project aims at reaching 15 million European youth across the 16 Countries of implementation.

The sustainable transition, tackling the climate change, cannot be procrastinated any more. While the worldwide food production is responsible for a third of global greenhouse gas (GHC) emissions, it is at the same time affected by climate change. In addition, more than a third of the global food production per year (40% at European level) goes wasted, producing significant impact on climate, as well as on the environment. Therefore, changing food system (production and consumption patterns) is a key aspect to face the climate change issues because of its cross-cutting and capillary nature, both in the economic system and in daily life.

On one hand, the sustainable food system requires better regulation and governance at all levels: in this framework, Local Authorities (LAs)/Municipalities have already shown the effectiveness of adopting Food Policies. On the other hand, increased awareness among all the actors of the value chain (from producers to -consumers”) of sustainable food system, enables them to build fertile ground and allows the full implementation of innovative policies. In this framework, youth are a crucial target not only for the role they will assume in future governance, but also because they are the most resourceful agents of change.

The project’s Overall Objective is that EU Citizens’ increase knowledge, awareness, and engagement on sustainable patterns of food consumption and production for climate change mitigation  and adaptation. In order to contribute to this wider goal, the project will achieve the following Outcome: Young people in 16 EU Member States are committed to change their food consumption behaviour and to actively promote the shift towards ecological and inclusive urban food systems, contributing to the EU’s efforts to  mitigate and adapt to climate change.

As the Outcome is very comprehensive, the partners will accomplish it by achieving three intermediary Outcomes (i0c), which match the three key pillars of the project’s design: Awareness, Engagement, Communication/Outreach.

The project expected outcomes involve the following:

  • Key target youth in 19 EU cities are aware of the importance of climate-friendly food consumption behaviours, policies and food system models impact
  • Key target youth increase knowledge and capacities in awareness raising and campaigning and actively engage in the promotion of practices for sustainable food systems
  • Target youth in 19 cities engage with a wider EU audience on the importance of sustainable food consumption and urban food policies to tackle climate change.

Project Implementation:

URBAN2020 is not a direct partner, but a linked third party for Brașov Metropolitan Agency. At the consortium level, URBAN2020 will be more involved in activities related to Pillar 1 – Awareness (coordinated by MANITESE, an Italian NGO, experienced in Global Citizenship Education workshops) and Pillar 2 – Involvement / Engagement (coordinated by ACRA, an Italian Foundation, offering market-based solutions with high social and economic impact). Moreover, URBAN2020 will be actively involved in activities conducted by Brașov Metropolitan Agency at local level, supporting the smooth implementation of project actions, as well as the work performed with local target groups.

Project main pillars & activites:

  • Pillar 1 (Awareness):

Activity 1.1.2: Involve target youth online and offline – the dissemination of the contents developed under activity 1.1.1. Sub-activities incluse: provide materials for teachers on the project theme, the development of an online platform, a Mobile App and offline/online meetings (involving High-School and University students or the general public). Brașov will organise 4 open workshops, meant as the first step toward a mapping of sustainable food resources withing the territory.

  • Pillar 2 (Engagement):

Activity 2.1.1.: Establish Communications & Participation Summer/Winter School for young activists – the engagement of key target youth, selected among the involved groups, guiding them through a capacity development path that will equip them with necessary skills to act as acatalysts and agents of change within their communities. Brașov will host a series of Summer/Winter Schools and will target approximately 30 youth per group. The educational program will provide common training materials, adapted to specific operational contexts and languages.

Activity 2.1.2: Provide underprivileged youth (eg suburb and migrants) with engaging skills, (in Brasov, young people will have access to specialised training sessions in the form of taste ateliers and cooking sessions) – assure engagement of youth living in the underprivileged areas or socio-economic conditions. Under the guidance of the Local Municipality and actors involved, relevand ongoing interventions supporting this theme have been identified. In Brașov, young people will have access to specialised training sessions in the form of taste ateliers and cooking sessions.

Activity 2.1.3: Co-create street actions and campaigning activities with target youth – implies the development of a contest, which will be rolled out locally, through the common guidelines of the project. The contests will be implemented, based on what the actors have done under activities 2.1.1 and 2.1.2. Because Brașov will implement a Summer/Winter School, the contest will include a specific lot for its participants; a separate category involving underpriviliged youth; a wider contest open to all interested youth.

Activity 2.2.1: Establish a sub-granting scheme for youth organisations and Las – the sub-granting scheme will support grass-root initiatives and street actions in the field of climate-friendly food consumption behaviours. A sub-granting process will be set up, followed by the Call for Proposals, and finally the assessment of the proposals. Brașov will also launch a sub-granting scheme. Projects will be assessed based on the capacity to mobilize and engage youth in local communities, the effectiveness and the impact of the action and the capacity to promote sustainable development models and to enlarge the network of actors.

Activity 2.3.1: Establish online and offline youth participation and discussion platforms – this will foster and encourage opportunities of networking and exchange for the youth involved, through a number of channels (for instance, the platform established under Act.1.1.2 will be a meeting point where youth will be able to share their experiences through the dedicated social media section, through blog posts, visual content and discussions forms).

  • Pillar 3 (Communication/Outreach):

Activity 3.2.1. Develop and deliver a Pan-European digital campaign (Examples of media use for youth engagement come from Brasov and Manchester, where the project will create online discussion fora on their social media channels, to convey project content and foster debate and networking on key issues) – implies the development of a common platform, that will be the key dissemination tool of the project and will encourage the creation of online and offline networks of young Europeans. The campaign will use specific guidelines, but will also be adapted to the local context. The dissemination will be done through dedicated social-media channels and will be linked to the digital platform. In Brașov the project will create online discussions fora on their social media channels, to convey project content and foster debate and networking on key issues.


Designing new projects

Despite the difficult situation we are facing due to the pandemic and the new work-from-home status we are still trying to get familiar with, Urban2020 team is glad to state that for our small association it has been a quite fruitful period. In fact, during the last months, Urban2020 has been actively involved in the design of different new project proposals in line with our development goals. Waiting for news about the projects’ approval, we provide here below some information.


CultEUR – Sustainable Cultural Tourism through Replicable Smart Heritage, Economic, Environmental and Accessibility Models

CultEUR has been proposed within the Horizon 2020 – Work Programme 2018-2020 “Europe in a changing world – Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies”. Its aim is to support cultural tourism in marginal regions by using the potential of local thought leaders supported by modern technologies, data analytics and visual insights, by creating a new model for cultural tourism ensuring economic and societal benefits while sustaining the environment. The approach proposed by CultEUR will be tested in a representative range of cases, composed by 18 cities, situated in a variety of different cultural-geographical regions. The principal role of Urban2020 association will be to guide the city of Brasov in the implementation of the project at local level and to lead the task of impact assessment of Cultural Tourism on Economic and Social Development.


GIS4SCHOOLS – Improving STEAM Education in Secondary Schools through the development and co-creation of new methodologies for teaching to and exploitation by pupils of GIS products related to climate impact on the environment

The Gis4Schools project is a strategic partnership in the field of School Education aimed at introducing new methodologies based on the use of GIS technologies applied to the impact of climate change on the environment in order to improve STEAM’s learning by pupils. Students will have the possibility to better understand and tackle the environmental and societal challenges, understanding and learning to analyse their local impacts. In this approach GIS is a precious enabling tool for the engagement of pupils in analysis related to their environment and community. Furthermore, the introduction of GIS tool inside their learning methodology will enrich their curriculum, improving their ability to integrate into the world of work at the end of their studies. Urban2020’s role will be to facilitate the integration of this tool in a High School situated in Bucharest and to follow the pupils in the path of approach to new environment-related urban issues.


ECOSERVICE – Ecosystem services Approach in School Education

The aim of ECOSERVICE project is to integrate the concept of “Ecosystem Services”, the benefits that humans freely gain from the natural environment and from properly functioning ecosystems, into High Schools curriculum in a holistic approach. The methodology is based firstly on the education of schoolteachers, which will learn the necessary skills and tools that will enable them to reach the final end-users, the students. Thus helping them develop significantly their science related knowledge and raise their awareness on the value of maintaining and enhancing ecosystem services as a means of improving life conditions in urban areas. Urban2020 will be the mean of replication of the project in Bucharest, accompanying the identified High School throughout the process.

Claiming back the city

The public space is and has always been a reflection of the dynamics, processes and health of the city. The life of the town, the diverse interests which govern it, the moments of crisis or those of cohesion manifest themselves in the pulse of the plaza. In many ways, the public space is a catalyst for urban transformation processes, and the measure of its quality represents a community barometer.

Historically, the public space has also been the main stage for the exercise of citizen rights. From the Athenian agora – as intersection of commerce, administration politics and religion – and to the late twentieth century „Reclaiming the Streets” setting, public spaces are the city’s energy valves (Berman, 1982).

For all of the importance it holds in the city, contemporary public space is often a place of contradictions, diluted and subscribed to private interests and „top down” decisions, seized and parasitized, or simply abandoned. There are plenty of examples in which public space as a good belonging to everyone has, in time, transformed into a good belonging to none.

At a time of profound societal changes, the need to re-shape the urban landscape is subscribed to a broader movement to regain community goods, values and community rights. The movement of “taking back” [the city, the rights, the decision, etc.] has started to manifest itself at local level as well, not only as a political response (with which it is mostly identified), but also against social alienation and division at the neighborhood level, trying to restore meaning to the city as a public space. Recovering vacant, unused or misused spaces means recovering ownership of the city itself: reclaiming function (as common place and space for social convergence), access (as a place open to all), and identity (as a place which reflects community values) – Bodnar, 2015.

Good public space should not be a commodity reserved for the lucky few, although it is often viewed this way: luxurious re-developments in downtown areas, in strong contrast with the shortcomings of the dense collective housing neighbourhoods of the periphery. Conversely, communities that have the greatest need for quality public spaces are private wealth. “Public spaces create a different type of society. A society where people of all income levels meet in public spaces is a more integrated, socially healthier one.” (Enrique Penalosa, mayor of Bogotá, Colombia).

Good public space has the essential power to catalyse urban regeneration, to reconnect severed social ties and to „mend” the city. It is the starting point for re-thinking a city which serves its citizens equitably, being built around their real needs and not in spite of them.

But a good public space cannot be willed into existence by sheer desire. The act of regeneration, of change, implies taking responsibility for the place and recognizing one’s specific role (both as an individual as well as a community) within it. The process of reclaiming is therefore bound by the fundamental assumption of custody, administration and the quality of being an active actor within the public space, but also by the recognition of the fact that public space is a convergence of local interest and administrative will.

In many ways, the redevelopment of public space within a community implies the regeneration of the community itself, by bringing together citizens and their interests in a collective process of awareness and reconnection. But this process needs a long-term vision to support it, providing space and time not only for understanding the needs and potential answers, but for recrystallizing the sense of belonging to the community and therefore the responsibility of the city: the power of caring for and preserving public space as a common good.


Berman, M. (1982): All that is solid melts into air: The experience of modernity. Penguin Books

Bodnar, J. (2015): Reclaiming public space. Urban Studies Journal Limited I-15, June 9 2015



YPLAN – Young Placemakers Initiative

YPLAN – Young Placemakers Initiative

Young Placemakers Initiative (YPLAN) was an innovative project implemented by the URBAN2020 Association, in partnership with the Centre for Excellence in Planning (CEP) and HSR IRAP University from Switzerland. It was designed by URBAN 2020 and implemented between 2015-2016 under the Swiss-Romanian Cooperation Programme, setting the foundations for a continued collaboration with the local civil society as well as successful spin-off projects, including at international level (Kosovo).

YPLAN’s primary objective is to facilitate the transition towards sustainable participatory planning and civil empowerment in Romanian cities through innovative best practice transfer of Swiss youth involvement experience and an applied public space co-design process.The project aims at generating long-term changes in the way the urban planning process is implemented in Romanian cities, reducing the gap between the level of citizen engagement in planning in Romania and the well-developed European countries such as Switzerland. In order to achieve this, we have worked with youth, mentors, NGOs, highschools and universities in Bucharest in order to reach over 800 students and involve a small pilot group in co-designing and co-implementing urban public space redevelopment in Bucharest’s Sector 2.


The YPLAN project had three main specific objectives:

A. To achieve heightened awareness towards social public space, planning and civic involvement among 7,000 students in Bucharest, of which a pilot group of 30 high school students and 6 volunteers from the University, which have been involved in further piloting activities.

In the first few months of the project, we focused our attention on raising awareness in 12 high schools in Bucharest and in the online environment, mentoring youth on the topic of public space.

B. To mentor a pilot group of students for co-designing and negotiating the development of public space in Bucharest and be actively involved in their community.

YPLAN organized interactive Urban Walks and workshops with students, through a holistic hands-on urban planning and design experience. We had Bucharest urban walks with interactive “urban observations” discussions aimed at stimulating creativity, initiative and building a knowledge base in planning, but also Urban Treasure Hunts.

Furthermore, in partnership with the “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Planning, Nod Makerspace and La Firul Ierbii, we implemented 6 thematic interactive planning workshops, in which students co-designed 8 public spaces, Meetings with the Chief Architect of Sector 2 ensured rigorous review of the ideas, and helped negotiate a final number of 8 projects, ready to deploy.

C. To implement on-site a number of 4 redesign projects and to diffuse the project achievements through an online platform, a publication and a final presentation event as a means to ensure the continuity and lasting impact of the initiative.

Our final goal is ambitions: we aim at developing, together with youth, a “One hundred ideas for public spaces in Bucharest” sustainable redesign project and advance it to the Municipality of Bucharest as a position document for currently lacking urban policies.

Our first step was through YPLAN, implementing 4 redevelopment projects from the students’ work targeting “soft” interventions in the urban space, in cooperation with the local administration and community members.

Last but not least, our final booklet of the YPLAN experience represents an illustrated methodology on public space co-design through youth civil empowerment in Romanian cities: