EMPIRIAE Network (Accessible and Fair Cities) meeting in Jasło
An EMPIRIAE Experience Exchange Network meeting with a focus on Accessible and Fair Cities was held on 27 and 28 April, themes associated with young people debated i.a. with young people. Jasło – the “town of multiple climates” – was the host.
Tools for cities

The Accessible and Fair Cities Experience Exchange Network is socially themed.

The two-day meeting in Jasło was attended by advisors from the Association of Polish Cities, and representatives of Jasło, Przemyśl and Goleniów, and of Municipal Youth Councils from Goleniów and Nowy Sącz.

What is the purpose of getting young people involved in Municipal Youth Council work? What is the greatest Municipal Youth Council weakness? What does it mean when you “give young people a voice”? How can you put the voice of young people to use when planning urban development?

Such were the questions debated. Presentations included collective outcomes of youth studies carried out by the Association of Polish Cities as part of the “Local Development” Programme, and the CWD+ (Advisory Assistance Centre, AAC+) project, in towns and cities – project participants. Such studies can be reiterated over successive years.

Debates with young people active in Councils proved how important it is to talk and listen. It turned out that adults frequently source their knowledge of young people in memories (“I used to be young once”), personal observations (often as not family conversations), opinions of others, interpretations. Debate follow-up conclusion: in order to grasp young people’s needs and respond well, we should listen rather than interpret or judge. Advisable forms of listening include regular (qualitative and quantitative) youth studies reiterated every few years, and Oxford debates attended by the young. Young people clearly wish to be listened to and noticed, and take active part in issues concerning them, such as public transportation, developing meeting venues in urban space, youth-accessible locations.

Meeting hosts showcased interesting investments – the GEN Science Generator, and a state-of-the-art Municipal Social Welfare Centre. The GEN is an exemplar of creating a venue, and meeting-and-integration space for varied social groups and non-governmental organisations. This is a place where physics and chemistry are a pleasant experience and source of interesting knowledge, the Municipal Social Welfare Centre – a modern, open and accessible space for persons with special needs. Both venues are teeming with life.

Notably, EMPIRIAE – Experience Exchange Networks have been formed as part of the “Local Development” Programme implemented by the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy within the framework of the 3rd edition of Norway and European Economic Area Grants.