YOUNG PEOPLE ARE IMPORTANT STAKEHOLDERS IN OUR CITIES
Listening to the voice of youth is a vital part of understanding our society as a whole. Their voices share innovative solutions to some of the critical challenges we face today. In this City to City Letter we cast light on how to engage and train young people in developing concepts that can contribute to a cool and safe city for all. The key message here is inclusion. So, stay tuned, as we show you a best-case example from Kristiansand and the newest update on youth involvement in Copenhagen.
KRISTIANSAND: HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY INVOLVE THE YOUTH
In the spring of 2016, the municipality of Kristiansand registered a dramatic change in the crime scene. It showed increasing violence, threats and aggressive behavior among the youth. The condition culminated in December 2016 as the region was hit by a serious incident. A young man committed a double murder. The effects reinforced a negative trend among youth with increased crime and serious violence. Subsequently, the authorities decided to initiate extensive work to prevent such escalating behaviour. The project was named SNU (Stop-Negative-Development).
LET US ASK THE YOUTH THEMSELVES
The All’ IN camp – KomINN Kristiansand – was then a key initiative developed to further support the existing framework of the SNU project. In preparation for the All’ IN camp held in August 2018, student representatives from the high schools in Kristiansand were invited to talk about the challenges that affect the young people in the city. The camp supported common themes such as a safe city, youth violence and crime prevention. Nearly 100 students created 12 different ideas to prevent violence and criminal activity amongst youth.
FOR THE YOUTH BY THE YOUTH
One of the ideas was a digital activity calendar, which listed activities and social events in the city for young people between 13-20 years old. The idea contained a solution for some of the problem, that the youth had pointed out. The digital activity calendar would:
- Get young people away from hanging in the streets
- Create more activities
- Create awareness of already exiting events, that young people were not aware of
- Decrease loneliness among the youth
- Create a channel where organizers could reach a young audience
The idea was then developed further by and for the youth, involving them in every step of the process. The final product of a digital activity calendar resulted in an App. The App “SEES” was launched in August 2019 and has already been downloaded 2000 times. It consists of more than 50 activities and more activity organizers are continuously signing up.
Today several municipalities wish to be part of the network. The case is a good example of how the youth can become involved and contribute to probable solutions. Who is better to find solutions to problems about the youth than the youth themselves? And the cities have the ability to support and empower the voices of young people by listening to what their needs are and responding with structural and financial support.
Together we can share experiences, strengthen collaboration and build positive relationships between the youth, local stakeholders and the city.
At last, to return to the SNU operations, the project has now achieved the goal of halting the negative development and the youth crime in Kristiansand has sharply reduced. The project shows that when cities reach out and recognize the youth as important stakeholders in the city, with credible voices and valuable experiences and ideas, it comes to fruition.
DO YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE SNU PROJECT?
Johanne Marie Benitez Nilsen (SLT- coordinator)
ALL’ IN CAMP COPENHAGEN
Two weeks ago we held another youth All’In Camp. This time in Copenhagen – KomIND København.
Here 70 young people from different districts of Copenhagen were invited to share their ideas on how to create a safe city. They dealt with serious cases specifically from Copenhagen, such as the issue of gangs and gang shootings in certain districts, far-right groups conducting disruptive demonstrations, and the number of young people hanging out in the streets without purpose.
By the end of the day, the young participants delivered 10 solutions to 10 challenges. Solutions consisting of the App YOLO CPH (You Only Live Once Copenhagen), which throws light on one of Copenhagen’s’ shady districts and aims to create awareness of the beauty within the neighbourhood. The Dance for Food & Peace project, which unites people from different backgrounds through the activities of dancing and making food. And the App Catchy, which aims to catch people in gangs and get them off the streets by offering alternative activities.
The work is not over yet. The young people are now working to strengthen and improve their ideas, to move them from creative ideas to a solid reality. We are very excited to work further with the youth of Copenhagen and see how some of these ideas can come to life.
All’ IN – YOUTH AS A KEY TO PROVIDE SAFE CITIES
All’IN is part of the Nordic Safe Cities program. The project aims to build a generation of safe city change-makers in the Nordic region. The initiative functions as a creative platform designed to engage and help the youth to develop concepts that can contribute to a cool and safe city.
So far, the camp has been held both in Larvik and Kristiansand in Norway and more recently in Copenhagen, Denmark.
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE ALL’IN CAMPS AND CONCEPT?
Lotte Fast Carlsen (Nordic Safe Cities)
Tlf: (+45) 2893 4823