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Involving Young Citizens in Urban Sustainability and Climate Mitigation Action


In the project UrbanTestbeds.JR, public authorities use artificial intelligence and
storytelling to co-create, together with the youth, climate and sustainability plans
for urban spaces.

The project URBANTESTBEDS.JR intends to encourage experimentation as a significant means to build resilient communities. Focus is on inclusive spaces for tangible experiences in sustainability and climate mitigation action with and for young citizens. Aim is to strengthen the participatory capacity for young citizens whilst at the same time fostering perspective changes in urban planning with and for the new generations. This project views the participatory capacity as a prerequisite to be inclusive in regard to a resilient community, in our case: young citizens.
In 2021, the German Constitutional Court ruled that climate action plans need to be altered so that the burden of climate change adaptation would not be left to future generations. Municipalities and districts across Europe and the Baltic Sea Region are at various readiness levels to include young citizens in urban planning and experimentation. Our project wants to contribute to the enablement of young citizens to participate in planning and application by means of experimentation capacity building and the aforementioned perspective changes. 
The encouragement of experimentation in the context of sustainability and climate mitigation includes urban testbed experimentation, service experimentation and experimental governance. The capacity building has three components: 1) AI supported understanding and deconstructing of climate plans and their transformational paths for a local perspective, relevant for experimentation, 2) scoping meaningful and tangible urban experimentation in testbeds, and 3) storytelling the impact and perspective of the experimentation by means of data-based storytelling with local relevance AND interregional transferability.
Our transnational cooperation generates meaningful local scenarios for experimentation, helps to manifest the method and approach in regard to the diversity of young citizens in the respective cities and last but least, builds upon additive experimentation experiences such as an urban testbed identification methodology in Hamburg in Germany, service experimentation in Aarhus in Denmark as well as AI support for such experimentation in Lulea in Sweden. At th same time we have an ongoing cooperation in the field of urban arenas, in Aarhus and Hamburg, and service experimentation, in Aarhus and Lulea. All actors have engaged in young citizens' empowerment and open data-driven urban developments.
URBAN TESTBEDS.JR intends to build trust between the research partners, their municipalities and interest groups as target groups based on a joint engagement methodology and process with young citizens. This should lead to further cooperation initiatives beyond the initiating partners, both in regard to research and municipal networks. Ideally, young citizens interest groups will also become part of a transnational network. 
The project URBAN TESTBEDS.JR ist planned for 18 months, with a three months set-up phase, a nine months period for iterative co-design and development sprints with young citizens and a six months phase for evaluation and a playbook production for interregional transferability. Outcome will be the URBAN TESTBEDS.JR playbook and a prototypical AI module for understanding and deconstructing climate change strategies and plans, especially for young citizens.