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Unigrowcity: experience  based learning for a more sustainable city of the future.

Nomadisch Grün
Nomadisch Grün is a non-profit organisation in Berlin, Germany that endeavours to create places of shared learning on the topics of biodiversity, climate change, ecological farming and healthy eating. Our objective is to facilitate learning in the sense of a collective acquiring of knowledge in order to create sustainable alternatives. These offers are designed so that we reach a wide variety of people, especially social, cultural and generational groups that usually have little contact with the targeted topics. Our aim is to combine knowledge and skills from different areas. These range from academic research to traditional knowledge, for example, as we have found in some older migrant women in our neighbourhood. An important goal for us is to supplement our efforts at the local level through tight cooperation with related international actors and projects. We assume that 1) we can work together on local models for action intended to handle global challenges, that 2) these actors can play a decisive role in developing future-oriented strategies as grass-roots initiatives and create strong trans-national networks.
Nomadisch Grün will coordinate the project. In 2010 we also successfully completed the Grundtvig workshop "Urban Farming and Local Empowerment". In doing so, we gathered valuable experience with international cooperation projects and expanded our European network. We would like to continue and deepen the thereby initiated process of creating close ties between different actors and organisations involved in the development of new learning sites for sustainable action in Europe.

In the context of “linking the local with the global”, the "Prinzessinnengarten" is in particular a project about establishing a place of learning, which reaches out the most diverse groups and contributes to a broad exchange of experience and expertise. In a neighbourhood that is otherwise characterised by high child poverty, a poor educational environment and little greenery, the garden invites visitors to collaborate, to exchange ideas, share knowledge and acquire new skills. Since more than 2 years this place is dedicated to sensitise all kinds of people about their surroundings, habits, possibilities to initiate change and start a dialogue with each other. Nomadisch Grün won the Utopia Award 2010 for its activities and was designated a "Werkstatt-N" project by the German Council for Sustainable Development. Through numerous partnerships with local institutions, universities and nongovernmental organisations, we have gained valuable experience in working together on an innovative urban learning environment.
 The New Beauty Council
The art project The New Beauty Council is a non-profit organization based in Stockholm, Sweden focussing on adult education. Examining how architecture and urban planning can be seen in different ways and rethinking the public sphere and the challenges of city-space and urban conditions, our focus is on how the social and performative aspects of the city can be recognised and changed through additions and actions, which can open alternative ways of experiencing the public realm by blurring the boundaries between educational, creative, social and political forces. We often engage and try to reach groups that have difficulties in making their voices heard in city planning decisions.
Our projects include city walks, public conversations or other live performances as well as written dialogues in publications on urban development, art, architecture and design. Within this project we will include our expertise NBC creates changes of scenes and stages to make us think differently and open up for new understandings of what urbanity can possibly contain and look like.

As part of our practice the NBC engages with organisations and institutions that have the privilege to form and interpret a city’s appearance and functions, such as the city planning office, architectural firms, the cultural minister, the city museum and different adult educational institutions.
GAIA - Grupo de Acção e Intervenção Ambiental - is a Portuguese non-governmental environmental organization (ONGA). It was founded 13 years ago by young environmentalists in Lisbon and currently has 3 nodes: Lisbon (headquarters), Oporto and the Alentejo, and about 400 volunteer members. GAIA cooperates with several national movements and associations and is a member of international networks such as YEE and EYFA and is one of Portugal’s leading environmental associations. With the aim of creating workable alternatives for a sustainable and just society, GAIA supports a sociological and political bottom-up approach to environmental issues. We defend a critical analysis of today's society, the testing of social, economic and cultural alternatives, the stimulation of citizen autonomy, self-training and participation and finally creative and non-violent direct action to further our causes.

GAIA is a partner organization. we gathered valuable experience with international cooperation projects, have organized and promoted several exchanges and participated in adult learning programs, expanding our international network during the last 10 years. We will bring this experience to the project and set up a wiki platform for documentation and interaction purposes of the project, accessible to all participating organisations.

GAIA is dedicated to learning by doing processes, non-formal and informal adult education. The organisation is entirely run by volunteers following a non-hierarchical, pluralist and cooperative structure. Examples of our campaigns/projects are: the food sovereignity campaign 'Free Seeds/Sementes Livres'; "Open Space" style Debates and DIY Workshops; Urban Organic (Community) Vegetable Gardens; Eco-consumption Campaigns (Eco-Xmas; Buy-Nothing-Day,..), or Peace and Non-violence, while promoting fair trade and alternatives to monetary-trading based in trust and community sharing in a daily-basis. Also, we have a rural sustainable village project in "Aldeia das Amoreiras Sustentável", a Social Centre based in Alentejo to promote community, improve ecological, social and cultural ways of life in this human desertified rural region. 

 City Mine(d)
City Mine(d) is a non-profit organisation based in London, UK. Since 1997, City Mine(d) practice connects urban gardeners to cyclists, DIY-ers to urban planners, and kitchen chefs to IT-ers through projects in public space. What these people have in common is the use of their creativity to make daily life in cities more fun and more fair. These initiatives don’t exist to make money or to gain power, but they emerge according to desires or in response to local and urgent needs. Community organising, DIY and changing derelict places in urban gardens are all positive and creative initiatives, but they are also answers to big challenges relating to environment, solidarity or democracy.

Using their experience and know-how, City Mine(d) will take care of the setup of an ICT communication infrastructure  consisting of regular telephone, chat and video conferences, accessible by all participating organisations

By means of art and environmental projects, campaigns and open public debate, City Mine(d) puts current themes from neighbourhood to the European level on the public and political agenda and  offers a framework in which experience, contacts and information can be shared. It believes that urban and economic development may be achieved not only through official agencies, but also through small, temporary and informal initiatives. City Mine(d) creates participatory spaces at a scale that ordinary people are comfortable with and can contribute to via a positive dynamic.

 Academy of Contemporary Art in Tromsø
The Academy of Contemporary Art in Tromsø, part of University Tromsø, is the world's northernmost art academy. The setting in North Norway, is the Gateway to the Arctic. The city serves as a natural focal point in the circumpolar area. The region possesses a great wealth of both natural and cultural resources. It is sparsely settled, yet socially and culturally complex and characterized by environmental adaptation. Beside providing an artistic education on a high professional level, the academy focuses with its new Master Program on sustainability, the complex and disputed relation between society, art and the notion of sustainability. The Master in Contemporary Art 2011-2013 will provide a context of research, practice and artistic-theoretical development along the complex lines and interconnections of the concept of sustainability, the development and theory of economy/capitalism and art.

Role: The MA program at the Academy of Contemporary Art in Tromsø will take care of a reading list providing links to theoretical material recommended by the different participants and important to the process.

With local and regional conditions as a foundation, and in the understanding of the complexity of place, lies the potential for a global orientation. Through active participation and cooperation the Academy forms associations and networks. Insight into cultural, social and ethnic disparities increases the potential for a sustainable practice of art. The understanding of the connections between nature and culture - human ecology - is emphasised.



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