Democracy and participation, Community development

Urban Green

The concrete jungle of green: the blocks of flats city turned into an environment, where the concrete from the grey killer of green, grows into the green supporter.

Creators

Who is behind this?

Izabella Kolsut

Open Mind Foundation

http://www.openmindfund.eu/

Poland

Who is joining forces?

Police City Counsil

http://www.police.pl/

Poland


Idea

Idea pitch

Families disintegration is a major issue in today's society. It spreads outside a family - the most important group for a human-social being. The Urban Green supports a civil society at its foundation. The project invites families, who live together in a block of flats, to a joint venture – both for their family and as a family for the local society. The common good does not only integrates community on every level but also turns the concrete surrounding into an eco-friendly environment.

Where will your project idea take place?

Police, the western part of Poland. The part within the project was built in 70'-80'.

What is the local challenge?

The characteristic of the residents of the estates has been implicated by their motivation to move here. Most of them came here in 70' - 80' of the last century to be employed in a chemical factory. All those people created a crucible local society. No common tradition, stuck in a concrete apartment with thin walls and grey shades around. That was the past political system - cheap estates built fast. Families are living close to each other, still being strangers. Nowadays not only can we contribute as an individual and as a united community to the climate change, but having a common aim - we can make a change in the past communistic architecture following inspiration by Ken Yeang. Let's not talk about democracy, let's practice in its very pure form: despite or because of the COVID-19

How does your idea strengthen democracy and active citizenship at a local and community level?

Despite or because of the COVID-19 implementing the Urban Green makes the best of this period and generate the positive power out of togetherness. The concrete architecture may become a saviour or at least a supporter of the ecosystems. The chemical factory gave the citizens employment, but as an industrial-chemical moloch has had its toxic influence on the environment. The concrete jungle of blocks of flats with its grey shades does not encourage to enjoy the view. The climate changes along with the COVID-19 make people living in fear. One of the ways to overcome it is to experience one's potential of empowerment. To be part of democracy is to be aware that every voice matters. One person may not always be hearable. However, will never be hearable if they do not speak. Let's then speak.

Who are you doing it for?

The project invites little communities consisted of neighbours living close to each other by chance to make their balconies green. It is to engage different perspectives: from an apartment to a block of flats and the city itself. Different local voices of the communities - as the range of residents is unlimited, including those who feel excluded. Everyone may become part of the venture. The target groups - residents of blocks of flats, beneficiaries - residents, citizens and the environment, all are to be affected by the idea. First, the estate councils will be contacted to analyze the voluntary participation of the residents. Second, the housing estates residents appearing to be the most interested (in numbers)in the project are to become part of it.

How do you plan to get there?

The first step is to invite the City Council to support the idea. The project will be implemented under their auspices. Subsequently, the map of Housing Estate Councils (by definition: local self-government community of the residents) will be created. After, the entities will be engaged in the information campaign (leaflets, estate advertisements, the Intenet - the City Council website, FB, the project website. The last but not least is to select the most promising community - the community with the highest number of potential participants. The participants will be able to maintain contact as a network, exchange the ideas, advise each other via the project website. The progress of actions will be registered and displayed by themselves there.

What are the expected results?

The idea is to encourage people to make the effort and cover the blocks of flats with greenery - an individual effort influences the community as a whole. Making this effort collectively the community empowerment is initiated. The most important aims of the Urban Green are the integration of community despite their backgrounds; collateral social inclusion; practising democracy by residents participating in creating "walls of green", where each balcony makes "one vote" in the created ecosystem. I would recognize my success in seeing the residents' solidarity. I would also consider less visible concrete as a victory. For the time being - the more people are engaged in nature, the less energy they waste on analyzing the COVID-19 threat.

How does your initiative contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe?

Quoting Lao Tzu: "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." It might seem inadequate to answer for the call of proposals with the idea of home gardening. However, changing socialistic architecture with social spirit, real socialism into social reality - giving bees more space and place, it all strengthen a resident, a family, a community. The awareness, responsibility and solidarity are the foundation of neighbours with a positive attitude. And who are we to each other in democracy, if not neighbours?

What is your story?

The concrete view with the chemical factory in the background made us wonder if the fascination of f.g. Ken Yeang's eco-friendly architecture solution could be implemented into the socialistic housing, where space has been put in a square place. Of course, modern architecture is complex and includes all the natural renewable energy resources systems. However, The COVID-19 in the air closed us in those spaces. The spring is almost gone, but seeing it around has woken up life. Life is energy - let people welcome energy in their spaces/places. The importance of the Urban Green Project has been explained. Doing nothing brings nothing. Changing socialistic architecture with social spirit, change real socialism into social realism. Let's make friends with each other and nature.

€ 50000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

€ 51000,-

Total budget

Major expenses

150 grants - 250 euro per a family (per a balcony/window for plants and tools) = 37 500 euro
1000 euro - office expences
12500 euro - personnel costs (4 project members responsible for publicity (media/website, communication, involving people and promoting the activities), public relations, territorial animation (involving the local communities and local entities), educational program on the subject/consulting).

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

Any kind of advice, constructive and inspiring comment or feedback is welcome.

Team

IKOLSUT

Idea created on May 22, 2020
Last edit on May 24, 2020

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