Globalization and urban growth bring with them the challenge of ensuring equitable access to basic services and responding to growing inequalities. UN-Habitat has warned that if this growth is not accompanied by proper urban planning it could lead to social and spatial segregation, contribute to rootlessness and individualism, thus dehumanizing cities and negatively impacting their governance. In order to counter these effects and foster social bonds, the need to make the citizenry co-participants in defining development strategies and the design, implementation and evaluation of urban transformation activities, is becoming increasingly important.
Indeed, the Educating Cities Award on Good Practices on Living Together in Cities
responds to the wish of the International Association of Educating Cities to highlight planning, management and intervention models that can contribute to the elimination of physical, social and communication barriers, reduce urban conflicts and avoid segregation, by fostering the creation of new social bonds and a sense of belonging to the city, a city that requires the contribution of each and every citizen.
Through this award, the IAEC seeks to grow appreciation for and give international recognition to the work carried out by the cities in the Association while inspiring other cities to build more educating, inclusive and cohesive environments where people of different ages, cultures and creeds can live together in harmony.
An international jury, made up of academics, representatives of the IAEC Executive Committee and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), studied the 57 candidacies from 45 cities, from 11 countries in 3 continents. The diversity and richness of the experiences analyzed highlights the educating potential of cities as active agents of social transformation. After a rigorous work of analysis of the initiatives received and a debate rich in nuances, 3 winning good practices were chosen for this First edition of the Educating Cities’ Award for their contribution to better living together in the city.
The jury underscored the importance of education for active citizenship, through firm pedagogical and awareness actions aimed at learning to get involved in one’s environment and to better living together, at developing empathy and acquiring social conscience. Furthermore, the jury concluded that creating spaces that promote crosscultural and cross-generational dialogue, that foster the exchange of knowledge, as well as the setting up of joint projects and conflict management from the perspective of respect for the values of cultural diversity, mutual understanding and peace, surely favours coexistence. Opening the schools to their environment and turning communities into open classrooms allows the members of those communities to forge bonds of complicity for that holistic lifelong education that the Educating City seeks.
We sincerely congratulate to Espoo, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat and Saha-gu, the winning cities of the 2016 Award, along with our thanks to all the cities that participated!