Our consortium partners, Jessica Carmen Guy and Óscar González from Fab Lab Barcelona at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia share insights on the process of the development of the Citizen-Led Action Toolkit.
CitiObs consortium partners at the Barcelona plenary workshop exploring the Citizen-Led Action concepts
CitiObs is a project with powerful missions, one of which is to consolidate and apply tools and practice-based knowledge for co-creating data, knowledge, and local action through Citizen Observatories. These Observatories aim to enhance our understanding of urban environmental issues and empower citizens and marginalized communities to take action.
Unlocking Citizen-Led Change: The CitiObs Citizen-Led Action Toolkit
The toolkit “Citizen-led Action Toolkit” developed by Fab Lab Barcelona at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia aims to provide these tools to support citizen communities within Citizen Observatories that are motivated to take action in the context of environmental protection. In order to do so, it provides a selection of co-creation tools to help devise, organise, and deliver a citizen-led action, or series of actions, that can make an impact and bring about positive change. Furthermore, it strives to establish connections with the principles of the New European Bauhaus by offering tools that align with its inclusive and enriching ethos.
With this goal in mind, the toolkit also provides valuable resources for cultivating relationships between Citizen Observatories and various local communities, particularly those of artists, creators, local (maker)spaces, and cultural groups situated in the areas where the Citizen Observatories are based. This is achieved by providing these communities with tools and facilitating connections through the Distributed Design Platform. This platform functions as a networking hub, with a well-established member base consisting of diverse European cultural and creative institutions, connecting individuals such as makers, designers, and creatives.
A work in progress
The development of the initial version of the Citizen-led Action Toolkit was a collaborative effort involving various partners within the CitiObs project. This collaborative journey began in January 2023 during the kickoff plenary meeting in Oslo, where consortium members were introduced to the toolkit's primary objectives and invited to provide their insights to align their diverse experiences and backgrounds with the goals set by the task leaders.
Given that this toolkit is designed to consolidate a bottom-up, yet diverse approach to co-creating citizen-led actions, a collective working session was organized, during which all project partners were encouraged to share their perspectives and experiences related to citizen-led actions. They were particularly asked to provide examples of actions they had either participated in or were aware of, with a specific focus on environmental protection. This initial collaboration helped set the ground for the development of the toolkit, which was iterated upon until July. This first version will be used by the CitiObs cases in Frontrunner Cities, providing valuable insights for continuous improvement throughout the project and later on it will become accessible in the CitiObs Knowledge Platform.
A value driven approach
The "Citizen-led Action Toolkit" aims to provide more than just a set of tools. It's a reflection of a set of values that underpin its mission. These values serve as the guiding light for those who utilize the toolkit.
Here, we present a series of values that the toolkit highlights as a foundation for a common vision shared between the toolkit's content and the values of the New European Bauhaus and the Distributed Design Platform. While the toolkit outlines these fundamental principles in a broad context, it recognizes that these values may require additional elaboration and adaptation based on the distinct experiences and features of each Citizen Observatory (CO) initiative. We promote a process that allows for the fine-tuning of these principles to suit the specific local contexts, taking into account the unique needs and aspirations of local communities.
Openness refers to the mentality and approach to share and make processes transparent, replicable, and accessible. It enables the iterative and replicable nature of actions. This openness extends to various strategic priorities, including open design, open science, open technology and data, and being open to the world, fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange.
Encouraging a dialogue across cultures, disciplines, genders, and ages is essential for fostering inclusivity, diversity, and a comprehensive understanding of complex issues. By promoting cross-cultural exchange, interdisciplinary collaboration, and inclusivity in all aspects, we create an environment where diverse perspectives and experiences can enrich discussions, inspire innovative solutions, and facilitate collective learning.
Empowerment and changemaking
Co-creation and participatory practices
Your Contribution Matters
Do you have examples of citizen-led actions from your local community? We want to hear from you! Get in contact with us to have your work featured in the citizen-led actions toolkit of CitiObs. Your contributions can make a real difference in the quest for environmental protection and sustainable change.
The "Citizen-led Action Toolkit" is a resource for empowering citizens and fostering real change. Let's make a positive impact on our environment, one citizen-led action at a time.