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  • Writer's pictureARTE.M

Urban Regeneration and Social Inclusion with My Soft City

Updated: Dec 13, 2023

Have you ever wandered the streets of one of these cities: Nimes (France), Constanta (Romania), or Lund (Sweden)? If no, probably you know our city Funchal (Portugal), and if yes, then you must have wondered about the unexplored potential of the(ir) cultural heritage. That's why "My Soft City: From Flaneur to Entrepreneur," a transformative three-year project, was born and has been making waves in these four diverse European cities.

Let's explain one more time: What is My Soft City?

Four nations, eight organizations, professionals, and young change-makers from a variety of fields, including art, entrepreneurship, youth work, and non-formal education, are all a part of the exceptional urban regeneration project "My Soft City." Through a creative, educational, inclusive, and intercultural approach to European cultural heritage, the project's main objective is to promote urban regeneration, but it also has goals of promoting social inclusion, employability, and cohesion.

How was the project implemented?

From November 1, 2020, to August 31, 2023, the project spanned three years and involved exploration, learning, and creativity. Participants engaged in more than nine mobilities and study visits across partner cities and countries, enabling them to involve themselves in diverse cultures and discover distinctive elements of urban life.

The project included many, many workshops aimed at helping participants view their cities from different angles. Through these workshops, they were able to learn new ways to engage with the urban environment and develop a deeper connection and sense of responsibility for their communities. Playing, exploring, and experiencing their cities in fresh ways were all part of the workshop experience.

Urban Attraction: Mapping and Gamification

During some of the workshops, participants took part in various activities that focused on mapping, art, illustration, and gamification. As a result, they were able to create detailed maps with beautiful illustrations for all four cities, which showcased significant cultural, natural, and artistic landmarks that are worth exploring. Additionally, they were able to invent interactive games that added a fun and engaging element, making the cities more appealing to both residents and visitors who would play these games.

Inspiring Success Stories

Part of the project was showcasing the successful stories of five entrepreneurs from each of the four countries, 20 in total. We introduced them to our project, embarked on a thrilling adventure through Funchal with our interactive game, engaged in direct conversations with the characters from our book, and, most importantly, had a blast together. A total of 61 participants joined us, and yes, we absolutely rocked it!

Oue E-book heroes have become examples of the possibilities that exist when creativity, innovation, and determination come together. Their inspiring journeys are set to be featured in an e-book that aims to motivate and empower other young people to pursue their dreams fearlessly. And, part of these stories we already shared with you on our BLOG.

The Final Exhibition

The project's ending was announced with a final exhibition of all illustrations, which was actually a great success. The event was attended by the mayor and city hall representatives, who were impressed by the talent of the artists who illustrated the map and the map itself. The attendees were enthusiastic about the initiative, and as a result, the city authorities agreed to support it by printing over 3000 copies of the map for free distribution. And we thank them enormously!

Extending the Reach Online

The impact of "My Soft City" has been significant, with almost 500 individuals participating in workshops and games. The project's website, which serves as a virtual space for maps, stories, and activity blogs, has further extended its reach. Also, on our blog we share a lot of useful information about everything we do.

Overall, "My Soft City: From Flaneur to Entrepreneur" shows the potential of combining cultural heritage, creative approaches, and community engagement to bring about positive change in urban environments. By empowering young minds, this project has opened up opportunities for a brighter, more inclusive future for the four cities and their residents.

Cheers to many more collaborations and huge projects like this one!

And many, many thanks to all our partners, participants, artsists, supporters! We could have not done it without you!

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