Announcing the Young Urbanists Small Grants Scheme 2016/17 Recipients
We were pleased by the response we got to the call for submissions to the Young Urbanists Small Grants Scheme. The projects were inspiring and ambitious and it was a tough decision to narrow the field to three. However, we are pleased to announce the recipients of the Small Grants Scheme. Congratulations to our recipients Saskia Huizinga, Julie Plichon, and Mariangela Veronesi!!
Cycling the Dutch Way in London
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has just announced a record level of cycling investment in London. It amounts to £17 per head per year – a similar level to that spent in Denmark and parts of the Netherlands. It is indeed obvious to many now, that encouraging and facilitating cycling in London is a key strategy to reach urban liveability and sustainability with positive outcomes for the environment, people and the economy.
As a Dutch living in London and cycling everyday to work, to shop, to go out or to visit each corner of this amazing city, Saskia Huizinga can’t help noticing how easy, quick and cheap it would be to improve the cycling experience in London thanks to minor improvements in terms of street design and ‘cycling style’. With the unique ‘Cycling the Dutch Way in London’ project, Saskia hopes to show how little adaptations are at least complementary and at most maybe more efficient and inclusive than the big cycling projects going on.
With the organisation of annual cycling trips to the Netherlands and Denmark (in 2015 and 2016 respectively), the Young Urbanists (YU) have started a very useful process of understanding and promoting another way of cycling: a comfortable, practical, safe, fun, accessible and easy way. ‘Cycling the Dutch Way in London’ aims to disseminate a similar learning.
This learning will be shared amongst other YU and members of the Academy through a dedicated website complete with articles and illustrations, alongside a brochure and associated event to discuss possible actions to make the propositions real and to find ways to support the project for a longer period of time.
‘Empathy Walks’ is an open source project aimed at triggering a greater understanding and interaction between people living differently in the same city. The focus is on how immigrants integrate and create the city, showing they are “city makers and not city takers” (Susie Hall).
The current government vision for immigration separates the ‘good’ from the ‘bad’ immigrant, or the desirable from the not desired, based on the ‘skills’ they have. This hints at a separation between ‘low skilled’ and ‘high skilled’ workers, not only from the perspective of the government, but also reflects on people’s perception of immigrants. The ethos of ‘Empathy Walks’ argues that the so-called ‘low skilled’ immigrants are both city users and city makers – even though they suffer prejudice and their significant contribution to London’s economy is often overlooked and invisible.
In order to bring people together to create respect and better understanding of each other, ‘Empathy Walks’ proposes the act of collectively walking other people’s paths, as a creative and powerful tool to generate empathy. The project believes that walking other people’s paths, mainly invisible ones, can trigger understanding of each other’s experiences and existence, by sensitising people. This generates more respect between citizens and a better coexistence in diverse and dense urban environments that are often seen as anonymous and impersonal.
‘Empathy Walks’ seeks to deliver at least one walk under the guise of the Small Grants Scheme, and to develop a toolkit in order that the Empathy Walks model can be introduced in cities around the world.
The Inclusive City: an LGBTQ perspective
There is limited understanding of how cities can be planned and designed for and by LGBTQ people, as so far discussions on LGBTQ inclusion have often revolved around legislation and societal change – but have rarely addressed what cities have to look like in order to offer adequate solutions and agency to gender and sexual minorities. Only very recently have this topic started drawing some attention.
‘The Inclusive City: an LGBTQ perspective’ specifically addresses the lack of inclusion of gender and sexual minorities in considering how we plan and envision our cities; and the lack of active voices from these communities in urban placemaking. It aims to develop workshops to understand what a city that is adequate for gender and sexual minorities would actually look like, and will aim to include not only ‘mainstream’ LGBTQ people, but also explore the intersectionality with race and ethnicity, religion, disability, etc. in order to conceive a truly inclusive city. The can be developed around 3 axes: a) housing, b) public spaces and infrastructure, and c) facilities and services.
‘The Inclusive City: an LGBTQ perspective’ seeks to deliver a workshop involving several LGBTQ organisations/individuals from diverse backgrounds where the aspirations for an inclusive city in terms of housing, public spaces and infrastructure, and services and facilities will be defined. This will then be transformed into a Visual Manifesto and a culminating workshop open to Young Urbanists where the findings will be presented, discussed and questioned, alongside the Visual Manifesto and a short project video.
Stay tuned for more details on how YUs can get engaged in the projects.