EASYTOWN, European Accessible Sustainable Young TOWNS, is a two-year project funded by the European Programme “Europe for Citizens”.
11 cities in 10 different European countries will cooperate on the theme of multiculturalism and integration.
Ultimate goal is to increase the capacity of the cities involved in dealing with the issue of integration linked to multicultural urban environment taking into account the views of young people.
EASY TOWNS project will contribute to foster European citizenship by supporting citizens’ involvement in the debate and the policy-making process, with reference to a foremost relevance theme for European identity: integration and multiculturalism.
The project gathers together 11 different towns from 10 different countries, all dealing with the theme of immigration, multiculturalism and integration, with different approaches. Partner cities will analyze how citizens perceive multiculturalism, integration and the current degree of efficacy of local, national and EU related policies; moreover innovative methods of citizens involvement will be developed and tested. Particular attention will be given to engaging and taking into account requirements and indications of younger citizens, including the “second-generation Europeans”. Youth have been selected as the strategic category of citizens to work with because differently from what could happen in the past, they can experiment, since they are born, a multicultural society, in which they will grow, study, work and live. It is therefore important to understand how they perceive this situation, in many cases so different from the one experimented by their parents and relatives, and in particular how they perceive the roles of institutions in developing policies and measures focused on building an integrated society, able to valorize different cultures.
The usage of both innovative and more traditional forms of civic participation – i.e. the creativity contest joint with public conferences – will increase the opportunities for active engagement of different kind of citizens, and with a special focus on those normally not interested in societal participation activities. This will contribute in promoting a constructive debate and cooperation among different groups of citizens and between citizens and local administrators.
Through the “creativity contest” tool, people age 15-29 will be invited to express their feelings, needs, requirements and suggestions on the project topic, thus contributing to draft their idea of Europe. In addition, the participation of single (young) citizens in the international events and study visits together with public administrators and participants from other European towns will increase citizens’ understanding of the Union policy making-process, and favor transnational cooperation and lasting relations among project partners.
EASY TOWNS will act “EU-locally”, to achieve a wide awareness about the idea that the European Union is made of its citizens and for its citizens! This will be done at transnational and local level creating connections between institutions and communities in each participating cities, and supporting the creation of a stable EU thematic network thanks to which citizens and institutions will be able to continue exchanging ideas and develop new solutions.
EASY TOWNS project structure has been tailored not only for the exchange of good practices but for the development of new approaches, bottom-up driven for a long-lasting cooperation able to contribute to the achievement of the main priorities set up at European level. By participating in the debate on the future of Europe, the project will contribute to the development of a shared identity for the Union’s citizens that could be more engaging, especially for the younger generation, while being forward-looking and history based at the same time.
The project will be developed through five international events and 22 local events: a network of actions that will stimulate debate at local and European level bringing out the most different opinions and expanding the of the participants and citizens involved’s horizon.
The transnational events programme is the follow:
1st Transnational Event – October 2015 – Heist-op-den-berg (Belgium)
2nd Transnational Event – April 2016 – L’Alfas del Pi (Spain)
3rd Transnational Event – October 2016 – Pforzheim (Germany)
4th Transnational Event – April 2017 – Gozo (Malta)
5th Transnational Event – September 2017 – Vicenza (Italy)