The CIVITAS Forum 2019 has successfully taken place from October 2nd to 4th, in the city of Graz (Austria). This year’s topic, „Back to the Future”, may confuse many. Transport mobility is forward-looking, so why do we look back? The Forum has made it clear that all our ground rules are right behind us. Looking backward is sometimes more disruptive than looking forward, but it is only understanding where we come from that we can get the future directions we need. Therefore, this year’s edition has successfully combined multiple perspectives, approaches and learning processes that have transformed several cities into active living labs.
The Cities-4-People project attended the 3-days event with a stand in the exhibition space. Participants had the chance not only to learn about Cities-4-People, but also to try out one of our project’s tools, the blueprint. With the help of a blueprint template, everyone had the chance to visualise and organise the front stage and backstage actions that constitute and are necessary to implement their own projects.
Our pilots, Oxford and Üsküdar, presented their experiences during the session “Inclusive community engagement at the neighbourhood level”. The session saw the participation of all sister projects funded under the H2020-MG-4.5-2016 call. The projects’ representatives presented their work and successful stories. Inclusive engagement is about engaging the non-usual suspects, the groups that usually are the most vulnerable and marginal. Especially when we take these groups into account, we realise that the most basic needs are often not met. Within this framework, Oxford and Üsküdar presented the solutions developed and implemented to support older and disabled people in their communities. Public participation and constant dialogue with citizens have emerged as essential practices to plan and make cities a better place.
The three days in Graz have contributed to make clear where we stand now in terms of sustainable mobility and what type of questions we need to ask ourselves before taking the next steps. Most importantly, it has been the occasion to exchange knowledge and best practices implemented by cities all over Europe.