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  • Youth work starts where young people are - but how can youth workers get there?

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    NextGen YouthWork - group of youth outdoor
    06/12/2023

    Young people spend more and more time online. But do youth workers know where? And more importantly, how can they get there to provide them with the help they need? 

    Ongoing
    News
    Network
    From urbact
    Off

    European youth spend much of their time online

    With the rise of digitalisation, youth spend much of their time online, mostly in communities on social media like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok or gaming platforms such as PlayStation, Discord and Twitch. Therefore, young people spend less time outside and in physical places like youth centres. According to the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Knowledge Gateway data (2021), the percentage of teenagers spending more than 2 hours on screens at the age of 11 is between 43-67% for males and 30-66% for females. At 15, these numbers are even higher: 53-71% for males and 50-75 for females. According to estimates, young adults spend, on average, 6-7 hours per day on screens. This phenomenon was amplified during the Covid-19 outbreak when researchers saw screen time almost double during lockdowns. They suggested that screen time may decline post-covid, but not to the level we saw before. In short, the trend of spending more time online is here to stay.
    The fact that youth spend an increasing part of their time online and, therefore, less in physical public spaces also means that they need to be reached in the digital sphere and need digital counselling and information. The demand for digital youth work is exceptionally high among youth who experience social isolation, loneliness, anxiety, stress, depression, and digital or gaming addiction. Because of their social anxiety or less-developed social skills, they may experience many mental and physical obstacles when reaching out to youth workers or other professionals in the physical world, such as youth centres and schools.

    Youth workers need to reach youth online and support to do so

    Youth workers are aware of behavioural change among youth and look for ways to better adapt to this phenomenon, thus using digital youth work. They want to be able to reach their target groups online and offline. However, this is challenging as it requires changes to how they work. Youth workers can use the key social media and gaming platforms to be accessible to 'their' young people, interact with them online, or promote their offline activities. In reality, most youth workers are reactive on these platforms; only a minority offer online services and create content more effectively. 
    Most youth workers need more insight into the online living environment of young people. They need to know the roles social media offers young people and what growing up in a digital environment requires regarding guidance. Nevertheless, there are many reasons for not tapping into the potential of digital youth work yet. These reasons range from a lack of funding from public authorities to a lack of education for youth workers. This leaves a gap between young people's needs and youth workers' professional development that requires to be bridged.
    Plenty of tools in digital youth work need to be taken advantage of, such as providing platforms for peer-to-peer discussion on a diversity of themes, using gaming for training and learning, and reaching out to youth who are more challenging to reach offline. Moreover, digital youth work can address many areas relevant to youth, not only mental health issues. Digital tools provide an excellent opportunity for non-formal and informal learning about various specific skills and general topics, such as training, employment, mobility, gender equality and diversity, financial literacy and sexual education. Digital environments support community engagement and social and political participation. There are tools to improve low-threshold access to care or help and have an accessible way to contact professionals.

    Youth and the digital transition are at the forefront of European policies

    Youth work has developed differently across Europe for historical, social, cultural and economic reasons. These differences are further nuanced by digital divergences within the EU. However, both youth work and the digital transition are at the forefront of European policies and represent a vital backstop for the development of the field. The European Commission formulated the European Youth Strategy to engage, connect and empower young people in 2018. and published the agenda of Shaping Europe's digital future in 2020, focusing on digital transformation for the benefit of people and an open, democratic and sustainable society. And finally, 2022 was the European Year of Youth, putting youth at the forefront and shining a light on its importance in building a better – greener, more inclusive and digital – future.

    NextGen YouthWork helps cities address digital youth work at a strategic policy level

    These policy developments provide significant support to European cities to address digital youth work challenges. In addition, the URBACT programme, through the NextGen YouthWork network, will provide tangible, concrete support to 10 European cities to address this challenge and develop a hybrid and sustainable future for youth work at a strategic policy level. Eindhoven, Aarhus, Cartagena, Iași, Klaipėda, Oulu, Perugia, Tetovo, Veszprém and Viladecans will share their best practices and experiences and engage, connect and empower young people. And there are plenty of inspiring practices! Some cities succeeded by transitioning offline youth work tools to the online environment. Others excel at using gaming to engage with youth or even developing new tools for the digital environment. There are good examples of implementing digital shifts at the local level, as well as of pooling resources and knowledge at the regional or national level to ease the financial burden of going digital. Cities often initiate new tools, but grassroots initiatives by youth are also notable examples.

    Are you passionate about empowering the next generation and creating a better future? Stay up to date with NextGen YouthWork cities to learn about truly inspiring practices in youth work!

  • NextGen YouthWork

    LEAD PARTNER : Eindhoven - Netherlands
    • Aarhus - Denmark
    • Cartagena - Spain
    • Iași - Romania
    • Klaipèda - Lithuania
    • Oulu - Finland
    • Perugia - Italy
    • Tetovo - North Macedonia
    • Veszprém - Hungary
    • Viladecans - Spain

    Timeline

    Next NGYW transnational meeting on 20-21 February 2024 in Oulu.

    Also planned: NGYW transnational meeting in Viladecans on 24-25 October 2023.

    Library

    Lead Expert

     

     

    • NextGen YouthWork - group of youth outdoor

      Youth work starts where young people are - but how can youth workers get there?

      Young people spend more and more time online. But do youth workers know where? And more importantly, how can they get there to provide them with the help they need? 

      Zsolt Séra

      See more

    NextGen YouthWork aims to develop further and improve online youth work through innovative digital solutions at the city level. By this, the network works towards better aligning youth work with the opportunities and challenges posed by the online world in which young people spend a lot of time nowadays.

    Developing a Hybrid and Sustainable Future for Youth Work
  • DIGI-INCLUSION

    LEAD PARTNER : Mollet del Vallès - Spain
    • Jelgava - Latvia
    • Alexandroupolis - Greece
    • Torres Vedras - Portugal
    • Gdańsk Entrepreneurship Foundation - Poland
    • Iași - Romania
    • Boulogne sur mer Développment Côte d'Opale - France
    • Lepida ScpA - Italy
    • Department for Development and International Projects of Government of Zenica-Doboj Canton - Bosnia-Herzegovina

    Timeline

    First Transnational meeting in Mollet del Vallès on 14 and 15 November

    Second Transnational meeting on 15-17 of April 2024 in Torres Vedras (Portugal)

    Third Transnational meeting on 10 - 12 of June 2024 in Jelgava (Latvia)

    Fourth Transnational meeting in Autumn 2024 in Iasi (Romania)

    Bilateral meetings, which are strongly recommended, are expected to be held in Spring 2025. 

    Fifth Transnational meeting in Summer 2025 in Boulogne sur Mer (France). 

    Sixth Transnational meeting in Autumn 2025 in Bolognia (Italy). 

    Lead Expert

     

     

    DIGI-INCLUSION network aims to tackle social exclusion and boost digital inclusion not only by granting access to technology but by enabling people to develop the necessary skills and to become sufficiently empowered to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the digital world. 

    Leaving no-one behind in a digital world
  • Civic eState

    Lead Partner : Naples - Italy
    • Amsterdam - Netherlands
    • Barcelona - Spain
    • Gdańsk - Poland
    • Ghent - Belgium
    • Iași - Romania
    • Presov - Slovakia

    Timeline

    Kick-off meeting, Naples (IT)

    Mid-term meeting, Iași (RO)

    26-28 May 2021, Final Network Event (online)

    Transnational meeting, Prešov (SK) / Transnational meeting, Amsterdam (NL)

    The Civic eState network worked on new models of urban co-governance based on the commons. Two years of EU cooperation for promoting urban co-governance and experimenting public-community partnerships to enable inhabitants and local communities constitutional rights to self-organize and collectively act for the urban commons. The network outputs aim at guaranteeing the collective enjoyment as well as collective management of urban essential facilities, to secure fair and open access, participatory decision-making, sustainability and preservation for the benefit of future generations.

    Pooling Urban Commons
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  • Pooling urban commons: the Civic eState

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    15/11/2022

    Naples’ Urban Civic Uses policy is characterised by the way artists, creatives, innovators and city inhabitants are entitled to organise themselves to establish forms of self-government for critical social infrastructure including urban commons such as abandoned, unused or underused city assets. Christian Iaione, URBACT Lead Expert, tells us how Naples’ Good Practice is being transferred to other European cities thanks to the Civic eState project.

    Articles

    The Civic eState network is all about the policy challenge of recognising and/or co-designing legal and sustainable urban commons governance mechanisms enabling city inhabitants and local communities constitutional rights to collectively act in the general interest.

    The urban commons are tangible and intangible assets, services and infrastructures functional to the exercise of fundamental rights considered by the city of Naples as collectively owned and therefore removed from the “exclusive use” proprietary logic to be governed through civic “direct management”.

    The revitalisation of the urban historical heritage represents a cultural, economic and social challenge, but also a spur for the city to re-elaborate its identity, creating a new bond with and between the local activists, civic entrepreneurs and the active citizenship scene.

    The city of Naples carved out a policy based on several city council and mayor’s office resolutions to overcome the traditional top-down command-and-control approach bringing city inhabitants to the centre of the decision-making and city assets management process, strengthening participation in political decisions relevant for the care and regeneration of the urban commons.

    These are new policy tools that aim to give back to the community public and private abandoned properties.

    Transferring Naples’ Good Practice on urban commons collective governance

    Naples’ Good Practice consists of enabling collective management of urban essential facilities conceived as urban commons. This public-community governance approach secures fair and open access, co-design, preservation and a social and economic sustainability model of urban assets and infrastructures, all for the benefit of future generations.

    Collective governance is carried out through the involvement of the community of neighbourhood inhabitants in designing, experimenting, managing, and delivering new forms of cultural and social services.

    The network’s objective is to transfer, with appropriate adaptations and improvements, Naples’ Good Practice to partner cities: Barcelona (ES), Gdansk (PL), Ghent (BE), Amsterdam (NL), Iasi (RO) and Presov (SK).

    The path to civic use

    During the last decade, the city of Naples has been experimenting with new urban governance tools to give new life to abandoned and/or deprived buildings. Different movements and informal organizations have highlighted the need for such spaces to be used and managed by city inhabitants in common through self-organization mechanisms that turn such spaces into new institutions. The civic use of these empty buildings implied a temporary use and it represented a starting point for their “renaissance”. It also created a stimulus to start searching for innovative mechanisms to use such spaces as community-managed or a community-managed estate.

    By revisiting the ancient legal institution of “civic use” and adapting it to the urban context, the administration structured a new form of participatory governance that intends to go beyond the classic “concession agreement model”, which is based on a dichotomous view of the public-private partnership.

    The civic use recognises the existence of a relationship between the community and these public assets. This process makes community-led initiatives recognisable and institutionalised, ensuring the autonomy of both parties involved. On one hand the citizens are engaged in the reuse of the urban commons and on the other hand the city administration enables the practice.

    Urban commons

    The first asset recognised as common property, to be managed through the collective governance mechanism of the civic use, was the ex-asilo Filangieri, an URBACT Good Practice (resolution of Naples City Council n. 893/2015). It is there that the first Declaration of Civic and Collective Urban Use was carved out.

    One year later, 7 other public properties were recognised by Naples City Council as “relevant civic spaces to be ascribed to the category of urban commons”: ex-Convento delle Teresiane: Giardino Liberato; Lido Pola; Villa Medusa; ex-OGP di Materdei; ex-Carcere Minorile – Scugnizzo Liberato; ex-Conservatorio S. Maria della Fede; ex-Scuola Schipa (resolution n. 446, 27 May 2016).

    The recognition will be finalised with appropriate agreements after the communities managing the spaces draft a Declaration of Civic and Collective Use, on the model of those of the ex-asilo, securing inclusivity, accessibility, impartiality and usability of the governance of the assets.

     

     


    In the future, the list can be enriched with more urban common resources. These assets were unutilised or under-utilised urban buildings and spaces, informally occupied and re-generated by informal communities that animate them and still contribute to their regeneration (in many cases, the renovation works could not be completed at the beginning of the informal management and were carried out through self-funding schemes). These assets constitute the civic heritage of the city of Naples, co-used and co-managed by Naples’ city inhabitants in the general interest.

     

    Public-civic partnerships: a transferable model

    Naples’ Good Practice (i.e. the civic uses resolution) has forged one of the first examples of a new generation of public partnerships, the public-community or public-civic partnership (PCPs). PCPs are aimed at transforming city assets into sustainable social infrastructures that produce public value and social impact through social & solidarity, cultural & creative, collaborative, digital and circular economy initiatives.

    Nicola Masella, lead partner, stresses the value of the Naples’ Good Practice for the EU by saying that “the mechanism proposed by the city of Naples, although anchored in the Italian legal system, is certainly characterised by a high degree of adaptability to other European urban contexts as it is based on largely shared ethical, legal and social values. In contrast to the models proposed by other Italian and European cities, where the municipality is in charge of setting up of the rules for the management of commons, the tool implemented in Naples has been built by recognising the citizens’ self-organization models, through a continuous exchange between the community and the municipality.

    A blueprint for the future?

     

    The Civic eState approach could generate a prototype methodology for cities to generate a new breed of cooperative agreements or projects between city governments and civic, social, local businesses aimed at developing cities through an integrated approach. In particular the civic uses resolution could be considered a blueprint for a larger category of legal tools in compliance with EU law, especially the relevant EU legislation on public procurement and state aid, stifling cooperation among urban actors in order to build and deliver social infrastructure and services such as education, healthcare and housing.

    It might also be able to generate through the hybridisation of these places and economic models new community-based job opportunities and forms of civic entrepreneurships. These cooperative agreements, partnerships or projects could be the basis for more sophisticated and solid forms of financing that could fund social projects through new funding mechanisms including social impact bonds, social project finance schemes and many other new public-private partnerships that involve the participation of long-term investors to generate a sustainability model through social bonds and impact investing mechanisms.

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    Visit the network's page: Civic eState

     

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  • RE-Block

    Timeline

    Project launch
    Project completed

    REviving high-rise Blocks for cohesive and green neighborhoods. The main objective addressed by RE-Block is to foster efficient regeneration of these neighborhoods, making them more attractive and improving their environmental quality, whilst creating an integrated tailor-made approach to combat poverty.

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