ABOUT THE PROJECT
Project “Let`s free urban activism!” was a bilateral youth exchange between Romania and Estonia, that took place in Tartu between 10th-16th of August 2013. The project was coordinated by the Estonian organization Linnlabor, in partnership with Komunitas Association. Main aim of the project was to bring together enthusiast young people that want to make a difference in their local communities and to create an inspirational environment where they could work together on the same purpose.
The participants had similar interests and experience in terms of development of urban city space through participatory planning, but they came from very different cultural and historical background, which stimulated the exchange of information, ideas and knowledge between the two groups on different levels.
The challenge was also to design and produce, in a short period of time, objects that will catch attention of the locals and remind them of the creative power that they could have if they would work together and function as an active community.
To achieve these goals, 18 participants were offered the possibility to explore the city of Tartu, to examine problems of urban space, participate in generating creative solutions and present them to the local communities. During the 6 days of activities, pieces of urban furniture were created entirely by reusing old materials, proving that the financial issues, that are often implied by the Local administrations to justify the lack of investments for creating public spaces, don’t have to be a problem. After exhibiting them to the general public in different local events, the urban furniture found a permanent place at a Youth Centre in Tartu. The objects created were very successful and attracted many people that were willing “to test “ them over and over…
Participants had the chance to meet and discuss the issues of public space development, urban activism and participatory planning with representatives of the civil society, local government and experts in urban area, in a public seminar organized at the end of the exchange. The participants delivered presentations about good practices and successful interventions in public space from there own country, explaining also the context in which they appeared.
The positive results were quick to appear and now, looking back, we can definitely say that they exceeded our expectations. we managed to remodel the public space in front of a Youth Center and make it a place of interaction, we generated a public discussion about community involvement were about 60 people participated and our message reached even more people through newspaper articles.
Through the intense interaction, non-formal education and enthusiasm, the members of Komunitas and Linnalabor established a strong partnership, and in the present, they develop other activities together, the next collaboration will be hosted in Bucharest at the end of April 2014.