In recent years, civic engagement aimed at community involvement and collective learning has become a centerpiece of environmental management. People are expected to be interested, inquire, express opinions, make suggestions, and even take responsibility. And EIT Urban Mobility is, among other actors, responsible for motivating them with attractive and meaningful initiatives. Also, understanding that citizens are our customers is vital for making this process feasible and with a clear purpose. And our customers need to be considered and heard.
Committed to our objective of empowering citizens and giving them the tools to speak up their minds, the Innovation Hub South organised two citizen engagement events in collaboration with the EIT Urban Mobility Headquarters unit, Factory, and two of our main partners: Toulouse Metropole and Barcelona City Council.
The first one was a session scheduled into the main programme of the Barcelona Innova Week, a Barcelona City Council initiative to reflect and experiment on the relationship between people, technology, and cities. In collaboration with the EIT Urban Mobility supported project Ces4Kids, and our partner VOI, we coordinated a workshop session where young students were challenged to present their ideas and solutions to their city’s daily mobility challenges. Creativity, engagement, and a bunch of robust and feasible ideas were the results of the workshop. The session also reaffirmed the idea that citizen Engagement must start at an early age, and people should be able to express their ideas and be considered in the process of (re)designing a city.
Our second event brought us to the city of Toulouse. Under the umbrella of “Le Festival Toulouse Innovante et Durable”, EIT Urban Mobility designed an action in collaboration with CARNET, core partner, and Factory. Together we created a space where citizens could discover EIT Urban Mobility and the pilot project implemented in Toulouse, give their inputs about how to improve citizen’s mobility = citizen’s life in the city, learn about sustainable mobility habits in our co-organised workshops and discover the mission and the vision of EIT Urban Mobility. All under one roof and in an appealing context that helped citizens approach us. These direct conversations and information exchanges facilitated the citizens’ engagement and empowerment and helped us position ourselves as key actors in the mobility ecosystem.
We strongly defend that true engagement is not merely providing information and gaining support from citizens, but it is about reinforcing the sense of community and building up citizenship in a participatory process. Events are a powerful tool to connect with the citizens and co-organising them in collaboration with our partners makes sense to our actions.