VUB scientists and young people reflect on future of Brussels

VUB scientists and young people reflect on future of Brussels

VUB, ULB and Brussels2030 organise second edition Brussels2030 Summer Assembly.

From Wednesday 28 June to Sunday 2 July 2023, VUB is organising the second edition of the Brussels2030 Summer Assembly in collaboration with ULB and Brussels2030. During this week, various Brussels organisations will join forces to shape the candidacy of Brussels as the cultural capital of Europe. "As an urban engaged university, VUB is part of this interdisciplinary gathering," says Lien Mostmans, VUB Community Engaged Research and Learning team. "Because the future of Brussels concerns us all. Brussels has been an inspiration and breeding ground for many of our lecturers, researchers and students for so long. But we can also inspire Brussels in return. How better than to come together in an interdisciplinary meeting with other urban and cultural actors, artists and thinkers?"

Keynotes and debates will take place in the morning. In the afternoon, participants are invited to actively think, work and learn in co-creation labs, walks and exhibitions. Themes include sustainability, new forms of democracy, solidarity and inclusion, as well as imagination, care and heritage. For instance, Brussels youth can participate in a study by some VUB researchers. "From 28 June to 30 June, around the Halles of Schaerbeek, we will question young Brussels residents about the future of Brussels as a cultural metropolis", says professor of media and communication sciences Joke Bauwens. "We are trying to get a layered picture of how they experience and see their city as a cultural place. The substantive and methodological match with the Summer Assembly is clear. Content-wise, we explore how Brussels is seen as a possible cultural capital by young people. Methodologically, we use creative and participatory methods that invite young people to put their imagination to work. With the data we collect, we will continue our work." The project is a collaboration between VUB and EhB with Eva De Smedt, Minne Huysmans and Maya Van Leemput.

The VUB-Mobilise research group will also be present, on Wednesday 28 June. Researchers Imre Keserü and Lluis Martinez want to talk about co-creation. "We are organising a workshop in which we explain the basic concepts of co-creation", says Martinez. "We want participants to learn about our methodology as they co-create solutions for mobility in Brussels." The Mobilise research group specialises in sustainable mobility and logistics solutions. "With this project, we want to share our knowledge, empower participants so they can initiate co-creation processes for their local context, and also learn about the problems and potential solutions concerning mobility in the region."


Co-creating a more sustainable urban future: the case of Brussels’ urban mobility

Hosts: VUB-Mobilise
​What: co-creation lab
​When: Wednesday 28.06 – 14h-17h
​Participants: max. 30
​Language: FR/ENG
​Where: Maison des Arts – Salon 7

How can everyone find their way towards a more sustainable lifestyle? How can we achieve sustainable urban mobility? A cocreation process can help us gain valuable knowledge and hopefully, find the right answers. Defined as ‘active, creative and social collaboration of different groups of people to develop new solutions’, co-creation is an increasingly popular approach to solving complex problems. However, the extent to which co-creation can benefit society depends on the equity, representativity and inclusivity of the process. During this interactive workshop, you will learn more about co-creation, several methodologies to put this approach into practice, and how to make sure no one is left behind during the process. Focusing on the transportation system of Brussels, we will cocreate solutions to facilitate the transition towards sustainable urban mobility. This workshop is open to everyone, and no previous experience or specific knowledge is required.

A futures palimpsest for Brussels: Speculating 2039 with Youngsters

Hosts: Erasmushogeschool Brussel, VUB
​What: co-creation lab
​When: Wednesday 28.06 to Friday 30.06 – 14h-17h
​Participants: no registration needed
​Language: NL/FR/ENG
​Where: outside Les Halles

This co-creation lab aims to stimulate, nurture, and collect young people’s images of the future for culture in Brussels through spontaneous conversations in the immediate surroundings of Les Halles. The lab is focused on the rigorous imagination of young people about culture in Brussels in 2039, 9 years after the city’s potential celebration as European Capital of Culture. During the lab, a continuous screening of a map of Brussels in Les Halles will show the urban choreographies of interviewers and interviewees and accumulate into a complex webbing of images and audio recordings of the futures talks. The lab aims to create a ‘futures palimpsest’ that will trigger individual and collective agency in the present and near future.

Speak Up Brussels!

Hosts: Brussels2030 x Made By Brussels
​Where: Maison Des Arts – salon 7
​When: Friday 30.06 and Saturday 01.07

During the Summer Assembly, the Speak Up Project will have the opportunity to continue its debates/discussions on the questions that young Brussels residents under the age of 30 are asking themselves about their future in Brussels in 2030. This time Speak Up Brussels! will be collaborating with Made By Brussels, which aims to raise the profile of young people taking positive initiatives in Brussels through podcasts. At the podcast table, we will have: Firdaouss Ryan (student at the VUB and facilitator of the podcast) and Storm Bulens (student at the VUB and in charge of the technical aspects and editing of the podcast), 2 young project leaders from Brussels, as well as 2 young people wishing to take part in the discussion. The podcast recording will be available for viewing at the Summer Assembly.

More information:

All activities are free, registration is required.
​Each participant will receive a certificate of participation afterward and will be recognized as a contributor to the Brussels2030 story.
​Questions? Contact Lien Mostmans: l[email protected]

Koen Stein
Koen Stein Perscontact wetenschap & innovatie
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