Social inclusion, Community development

Youth Spatial Designers

Empowering young people to be peaceful local problem-solvers by co-establishing “The Place” - collective space for community building


Who is behind this?

José Barrios Sevillano

Libre-pensadores de la Sierra de Madrid


Who is joining forces?

Youth Peace Ambassadors Network

Ayuntamiento de Cercedilla



Idea pitch

Place and Space - how to use placemaking and space creation to build peaceful communities?

Cercedilla (small locale close to Madrid) faces youth-out-migration as for constrained choices to develop their potential.

"Youth Spatial Designers" - is a group of 30 young people empowered to be leaders of opportunities and space in Cercedilla.

They will collectively create local place: the heart of Cercedilla community - which would add to youth empowerment and community building.

Where will your project idea take place?

Cercedilla, a town of La Sierra del Guadarrama, a rural area of the region of Madrid

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

La Sierra del Guadarrama is a territory that offers potential for local development.
The existing social challenges that may limit this potential are:
the proximity of a large city (65Km) causing youth-out-migration;
Limited opportunities for youth organizations and youngsters for meaningful engagement in local community creation - youngsters travel to Madrid for the cultural, leisure and work activities;
no spaces for integration of people coming from various backgrounds including the vulnerable ones;
absence of youth friendly places and facilities in the town. The high school is 5Km away from the urban centre;
Political polarization of youngsters leading to threat of their violent radicalisation;
Hate speech against minorities present in public space in a form of graffities.

Who are you doing it for?

Directly: group of 30 young people (16 - 32) of Cercedilla to become:
Place makers - by fulfilling “The Place” with human experiences
Space creators - by designing socio-spatial relations in the local community.

At least 2 local youth organizations with or without the focus on community building
80 youngsters from minority groups, especially descendants of migrants from the MENA.
High School, 540 students. We will find support in the high school to engage non-affiliated youngsters, especially those not very involved in the local activities.
About 250 persons between 20 and 31 years old live in Cercedilla while working or studying in Madrid according to INE. We will engage this group through a communication campaign with the help of the local institutions.

How do you plan to get there?

STEP 0 - support: finlising local alliances (City Hall and schools)

STEP 1: selection of direct participants - 30 young people of Cercedilla (“The Group”)

STEP 2: needs identification - interviews runned in cooperation with the Group to map the community needs

STEP 3: training for the Group on peaceful leadership (using non formal education)

STEP 4: placemaking in practice: designing :”The Place”

5: training for the Group on crafting skills aiming to equip them with skills to be co-creators of “The Place” (designing utilty objects, place)

6: Creation of the small working groups and selection of the intervention spaces

7: Design and realization of the interventions with support of students of architecture.

8: Dissemination. Event of presentation at the local lev

What are the expected results?

At least three interventions in public spaces, both indoor and outdoor.

The most important result will be a group of empowered youngsters conscious about the importance of community cohesion and able to cooperate with peers and experts.
The concept of democracy will be reinforced and the empathy with the needs of other individuals and collectives will be more present after being passed through a participatory process at the local level. Also the local youngsters will be more careful with the public resources. Finally, the institutions will understand that the paternalistic policies are less effective and in the future they will be open to delegate power to the youth.

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

Our challenge is youth-out migrations and lack of spaces where young people of Cercedilla could engage meaningfully and peacefully in community building.
We will address this challenge by placemaking approach combined with creation of educational spaces based on human rights education.
Placemaking inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community. In Cercedilla, we will empower young people to be leaders of such collective reimagination, They will co-establish “The Place” - collective space for community building - to identify needs, design and implement specific interventions in the public places.
We will find synergies and put the youngsters in community building movement.

Why is this idea important to you?

We love our place. Nature, the people, the culture… Sadly it is having trouble adapting to the deep changes that European society is experiencing. Combine the rural life and the natural spaces preservation with the big economy streams and the proximity of a huge city like Madrid sounds difficult for our neighbors and the fear and tensions are the perfect fuel for polarization and violence. We need the next generation ready to take control of the situation and find equilibrium when facing the challenges. This is what Libre-pensadores aims to and we think this project could be a key activity and create a real and powerful impact in the region. We have the knowledge, we have the roots, we need support.

€ 45,-

Total budget

€ 45,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Local training costs - 10000
Materials for production of equipment of the space - 20000
Personnel costs (project coordination and administration) - 10000 EUR
Dissemination costs - 3000 EUR
Miscellaneous expenses (stationery materials) - 1000 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would like to know:
How does the idea resonate with you?
Would you like to get involved in the co-creation of our place and space?
In which fields we could still develop our idea?
What are the challenges that you see in our project? How could we address them?


Libre-pensadores de La Sierra



Idea created on May 27, 2020

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