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Bologna’s meeting, an intense journey through the city to deepen youth development and job opportunities

31 July 2017

The main goal of the GEN-Y City project is to achieve smart, sustainable and inclusive growth through the definition of stronger forms of cooperation between science, local institutions, businesses and citizens to enhance growth, attractiveness and Conservation of talents in European cities.

Bologna is the land of creative innovation, often compared to California's Silicon Valley, and of technical excellence, home to large international industrial, mechanics, electro mechanics and mechatronics.
This was the main theme of the two-day (July 11th and 12th) transnational meeting of the European GEN-Y City project (, organized by the Metropolitan City of Bologna, which hosted about thirty representatives of Project partner from 9 different European countries (Italy, Spain, Poland, France, Portugal, Great Britain, Norway, Lithuania and Latvia).
In recent years, new realities and new synergies are emerging in Bologna. As examples of good practices, project Partners have been able to visit and appreciate the regenerated an abandoned public space and startup incubator “Serre dei Giardini Margherita”, the place for films’ archival conservation and restoration Cineteca (, the Arcangeli High School of Fine Arts (, the Opificio Golinelli Foundation (, the Ducati Museum and Enterprise ( and the Bologna’s Heritage Industrial Museum (
All the examples shared by their cultural and industrial vitality, where creativity and technology are at the service of the territory and the growth of its citizens through the constant search for innovation, the rediscovery of history and traditions, the education and formation, the use of technology even in sustainable key.
During the first day Incredibol! – l’Innovazione Creativa di Bologna (Bologna’s Creative Innovation) was presented. It’s a project promoted by the Municipality of Bologna and the Emilia-Romagna Region, in order to support innovative professionals and businesses in the cultural and creative field, in particular during their start-up phase. From this initiative were born dozens of new creative companies led by young people.
One of the most appreciated visits was definitely that at Ducati where Partners could see closely how Borgo Panigale's famous motorbikes are born and measure them with the laws of physics in the lab "La Fisica in moto".
Internationally it was also a visit to the Cineteca where Partners saw how many young people participate in the restoration of old movie successes. They are discovering the extraordinary vitality of the films of the past, and their fresh artistic, aesthetic and commercial values.
Despite these activities, Bologna's emigration in 2016 almost touched a thousand units, more than twice as 10 years ago. Of these almost 40% are boys of the Y Generation, also called Millennials, who do not exceed 30 years of age. Most of them are looking for new job opportunities. Many things have been done in Bologna to hold young people but there is still a lot to work on.
Creativity and technique, the two flagships of the Bologna’s economy, often struggle to talk. To curb youth emigration, it is therefore appropriate to develop synergies between these two-industrial areas that could represent the real competitive advantage of the territory.
To improve the working opportunities of young people, Bologna is working on two main directions. On the one hand, the Metropolitan Strategic Plan that includes its policies of entrepreneurship promotion and innovation, training and services for work. On the other hand, the revival of technical culture. For example, the third edition of the Festival of Technical Culture will take place in October with lots of novelties. More space for interactive experiences, many more participating schools with different study addresses, a program more than doubled compared to last year with events across the metropolitan territory, over seventy organizations involved. The principle to follow is that the growth of a territory goes through the cultural, social and economic development of communities.
Finally, in order to revitalize and attract the city to young people, a fundamental role is that of urban regeneration that can make spaces once degraded new areas of urban life. As an example of this, the partners were able to visit the Giardino del Guasto, a little green lung in an urban geography stifled by cement and torn apart by an increasingly progressive degradation; a micro contemporary art park that teaches how cement and steel can be sustainable materials.