CircularCityChallenge

Creating a Next Generation Participatory Contest for Young People to integrate Circularity in School Curricula

Project duration: 30 months: 1 march 2022 - 31 august 2024

Funding competition: https://jpi-urbaneurope.eu/calls/enutc/

Lead partner: SYNYO GmbH (Austria)

Research Parteners: “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urban Planning, Maastricht University (Netherlands)

Municipality Partners: Stadtgemeinde Trofaiach (Austria), Bistrita Municipality (România), Ayuntamiento de Logroño (Spain).

Project website: https://project.circularcitychallenge.eu

Executive Summary

Through the CircularCityChallenge project, the concept of circular city will be defined and an international competition for high school students (aged 14-19) will be organized and analyzed. Through this competition, young people's proposals based on the understanding of the circular city idea will be supported, collected, judged and awarded, thus demonstrating the benefits of introducing this approach to learning processes. Moreover, young people who will choose to respond to this challenge can contribute to sustainable local development by practicing a pro-active attitude, documenting skills to validate ideas, organizing team activities, seeking mentors from the community their.

This approach will have a triple effect:

  • the project will help education for sustainable development through a competition based and applied learning approach, by providing a framework in which students' ideas are highlighted and helped to grow - project-based-learning, participatory approach
  • the project will increase the awareness of the connections between the everyday choices around us and the principles of sustainable development - especially those related to circularity, efficient use of resources - nature based solutions for circular cities,
  • the project will help to build local connections between public administration, the business sector and the education system - through the requirements of the competition to present proposals that bring together several categories of actors - local stakeholders' engagement

Research field and areas

The full title of the ERA-NET Cofund Urban Transformation Capacities call in which the project was selected is ”Capacity for urban transformation for sustainability, resilience and increasing the quality of life in European cities.”

The CircularCityChallenge project was submitted to the Circular Urban Economies section of this call. (The other two sections were: Community-Based Development and Urban Innovation Ecosystems, Built Environment and Robust and Resilient Urban Infrastructure).

Project Application Keywords:

  • education for circularity,
  • learning through project / challenge / competition,
  • urban transformation for sustainability

Project Team

  • Principal Investigator – Vera Marin, Dr. Architect, Lecturer
  • Senior Researcher – Monica Mureșanu, Dr. Architect, Lecturer
  • Senior Researcher – Oana Sorina Pavăl, Dr. Architect, Assistant
  • Postdoctoral Researcher – Adrian Ibric, PhD Architect, Scientific Researcher
  • Doctoral researcher – Miruna Drăghia, PhD candidate, Assistant Scientific Researcher
  • Doctoral researcher – Natalia Măgureanu, PhD candidate, Assistant Scientific Researcher

Stages, Objectives and Activities

Stage 1 (2022): Analysis – contest basis & communication

Stage 1 objectives:

  • setting the basis of the contest concept through the analysis of existing education programs, relevant education methods, good practices, but also of the circular city concept to create the CircularCityChallenge in the context of the approach to circularity in cities
  • increasing the interest of the relevant factors towards the project through a communication and dissemination plan with targeted activities, with measurable results to outline a sustainable exploitation strategy.

Activities:

1.1. Management: Contribution to decisions and joint work within the consortium, participation in consortium meetings, detailing the concepts and ethical data management plan

1.2. Applied Research: Analysis of the system of actors (interviews with relevant actors), of selected methods and good practices in the field of education (especially ESD – education for sustainable development), of the specialized literature both for education and for the concepts associated with the circular city.

1.3. Communication: Contribution to the realization of the joint communication and dissemination plan regarding this project, the analysis of dissemination possibilities in Romania

Stage 2 (2023): Co-creation and implementation of the contest

Stage 2 objectives:

  • defining an innovative contest concept, selecting relevant topics and detailing contest categories, presentation formats in co-creation workshops with education experts, municipal representatives and young people.
  • creating an interactive contest platform with multi functional modules, including an open information center with resources, an intuitive application submission system and awareness channels.

Activities:

2.1. Management: Contribution to decisions and joint work within the consortium, participation in international consortium meetings

2.2. Co-creation regarding the concept of the contest: Organization of workshops for the preparation of the competition concept, contribution to the creation of the competition regulations

2.3. The web platform creation: Contribution to the elaboration of the contest regulations and translation of the content into Romanian, identification of some channels for disseminating the contest

2.4. Contest implementation în Romania: Promotion in high schools by organizing Q&A events, providing support - guidance in pilot high schools, contribution to the selection process of the competition winners, contributions to the development of an event concept (design) for the awards ceremony and participation in the event

2.5. Communication: Romanian translation of the project's communication materials, dissemination and online presence, participation in conferences and events

Stage 3 (2024) – impact assessment

Stage 3 objectives:

  • the development of curriculum/educational program objectives and support materials for education in high schools that lead to the understanding of the idea of circularity in cities and the participatory approach based on the experience of implementing the competition
  • raising awareness of this theme towards the education system through communication and dissemination

Activities:

3.1. Management: Contribution to decisions and joint work within the consortium, participation in international consortium meetings

3.2. Evaluation: Evaluation of participation in the competition, definition of the concept, organization and participation in the award ceremony

3.3. Creation of a recommendation guide: Conducting interviews with experts and organizing workshops with high school participants to support the development of a set of principles for the integration of circular economy content in the sustainable development of cities into the school curriculum

3.4. Communication: Ensuring a sustained online presence, creating materials in Romanian and postings on different channels, contributing to the communication of project results to the scientific community

Assumed application results

Competition concept and curriculum contents

The project will develop contents for various study programs, examples incorporating an innovative way of teaching sustainability in general and circularity in particular through a project-based and competition-based learning approach respectively.

Competition platform

The proposal submission system will be flexible and scalable; adaptable to the organization of future editions of the contest - even during the development of the web platform, the project team will focus on its sustainability beyond the lifetime of the project.

Content implementation guide and recommendations

Lessons learned, evaluation results and expert input will be used to define recommendations for implementing the contents in different national contexts.

Events

September 2022 - Attendance report at the consortium meeting in Vienna