Ålesund’s Youth Claim Their Spot in Future Urban Planning

Four young people with the person in front holding up a diploma, presumingly for having had the best idea.

Image by Ungt Entreprenørskap Møre og Romsdal

How should we develop our cities? What makes cities attractive to young people? And how can we ensure driving urban development forward in a climate-neutral way?

Those were the questions asked of the more than 100 students and pupils at a vocational school and an upper secondary school in Ålesund during the first two Norwegian ‘Innovation Camps’ organised by JA Norway/Ungt Entreprenørskap within the Re-Value project. 

The area of Sørsida, the local pilot site of Re-Value in Ålesund, was the theme of the camps, and the vocational school (Fagskolen Møre og Romsdal) worked on ideas on the theme "Sustainable building site", while Ålesund upper secondary school addressed the theme "Irresistible Everyday City ".

By “everyday city”, the challenge was to suggest ideas making it attractive for the youth around the clock, all week, and the students took the challenge seriously. The common denominator for the proposed solutions in "Irresistible Everyday City" was that Ålesund lacks meeting places for young people. Informal places where young people can hang out without spending a lot of money. The winning proposal, Greenhouse, had a brilliant idea of ​​a greenhouse and outdoor area that is free and provides a good place to be with friends and acquaintances. 

The solutions that the students at the Vocational School came up with to help Sørsida create the most climate-neutral building and construction phase possible, revolved around everything from tiles that produce electricity for lighting when you walk on them to district heating systems in the sea to cover the need for heating and cooling. Many technically good, relevant, sustainable and feasible ideas emerged, which the local Re-Value partner Sørsida Utvikling will now take forward.

Both the jury and the audience saw a large benefit in getting the perspective of young people as the work in Sørsida progresses - not least, because they shed light on new opportunities and needs.

About the Innovation Camps

Ålesund Municipality, together with Sørsida Utvikling AS, wants to make Sørsida a vibrant district with lots of activity; a place where people like to be and which creates activity and fertile ground for the business world. These Innovation Camps are the first in the EU-funded ReValue project, of which Ålesund and Ungt Entreprenørskap are a part. 

An Innovation camp is an idea competition and a learning method for creativity and innovation. During a limited period of time, the pupils and students deliver their solutions to the challenges presented to them. It is an innovative learning method based on a tripartite collaboration between local work and business, the educational institution and the local chapter of JA Europe.

This article was heavily inspired by articles produced in Norwegian available here (ue.no) and here (Sørsida.no).

A person on stage wearing a shirt saying Ungt Entrepenorskab, which translates into Young entrepeneurship

Image by Ungt Entreprenørskap Møre og Romsdal

A group of young people engaged in conversation around a table.

Image by Ungt Entreprenørskap Møre og Romsdal

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