In the Capacityes project, the active involvement of children and adolescents is reflected in the design and construction of the Hub4Kids. This structure, created through the regeneration of an abandoned farmhouse, becomes a center for creating inclusion in the urban scale, but above all a place full of innovations that allows children, from different cultural and social backgrounds, to express together, and to the maximum, their creative potential.

The Capacityes project addresses the problem of urban poverty using three well known ingredients, but not often used in the right doses:

  1. Innovative ideas generated through the active involvement of children and adolescents in the participatory planning processes inherent to the urban regeneration paths.

  2. The added value, introduced in the neighborhoods to be regenerated, of the installations and performances linked to the involvement of artists.

  3. The ability to give a central role to families in extreme difficulty, often first generation migrants, frequently fleeing from difficult situations: they are not only target-groups of project actions, but also co-designers, co-creators of project solutions which will improve their housing conditions.

The beneficiary families of the CAPACITyES project take part in training courses in tailoring

In this web article, we focus on the results, on the projects, which see the children and adolescents involved as protagonists in the creation of the Hub4Kids. The Hub4Kids, first of all, has to be understood as a new centrality within a neighborhood that presents a functional fragmentation from the point of view of land use management, but above all it is explained how this Hub works:

  • as an aggregator of families,

  • as a creator of community bonds and

  • as a provider of innovative services.

The Hub is characterized as an action of mending the urban fabric. A mending that takes the form of many new services, for children/adolescents they proposed themselves through a participatory path consisting of different moments (workshops, events, gatherings…). The Hub4Kids is also an accelerator of community dialogues and a link among the different areas of the city. In fact, this project involves the target children/adolescents on an urban scale, it is not a project strictly at the service of the neighborhood in which it is located, but it involves the entire city and civic fabric: The Hub4Kids becomes the language and narrative of a new dialogue between the neighborhood that hosts it and the entire city of Bergamo.

Hub4Kids in music
Bergamo's children discover in the Hub4Kids the magic powers of music. 

In order to involve citizens and bring them closer to the Hub and its activities, the project partners responsible for this task have decided to organize activities throughout the city. The idea is to create a widespread hub and to keep children, adolescents and their families interacting.

The Hub, therefore, meets the neighborhood communities and makes itself known. The Hub offers heterogeneous activities to meet the needs and desires of the different target groups and to understand with them what they would like to find realized in this new structure. To make the Hub recognizable, an ad hoc logo was created. This logo accompanies the various proposals and initiatives implemented through the Hub4Kids. The logo was designed by a little girl and then revisited by a graphic designer.

How does this Hub work, which initiatives are being taken?

  1. A successful initiative is linked to the workshops of silk-screened fables: A fairytale is told accompanied by images, the images relating to the fairytale are then printed with a silk-screen technique and colored. The paper will then be taken home by the children. Of particular interest are the multi-cultural silk-screened fables: the fairytale is told by a cultural mediator in the original language and at the same time is mimicked to make it understandable to everyone.

  2. The Loose Part Laboratory offers various activities that use recycled material and will accompany children to experiment with practical activities and to understand and develop the principles of the circular economy.
  3. Another interesting workshop is the one that combines circus activities and 3D printing workshops. The children, 6-11 range, begins with the circus path while the adolescents with the 3D laboratory. At the second hour, roles will be swapped, so that everyone can try out the different activities and, at the same time, maintain a balanced level of commitment and ability.
  4. An engaging activity is "a day for the family" based on music. Adults are together with the children with voice and body in motion, learning and having fun. An innovative laboratory to experience a different way of making music.

  5. Finally, surfing is a new game for which participants will have to experiment with their own balance on a wooden board which, thanks to elastic bands, simulates the movement of the board in the sea.


La citta immaginata
The imagined city  is the third poster art intervention carried out as part of the Capacityes project. The work began with an exercise in imagination by the boys and girls of Bergamo, they were asked to imagine their ideal city!

These reported activities are only the starting point, the start out of Hub4Kids. All the proposed activities aim to bring children, adolescents and their families closer to the Hub and to create important urban and territorial networks that allow the different ideas, present in the city, to be interconnected and through the creation of synergies, generate more opportunities for children in the city of Bergamo.

preparingfor design
Il percorso all’interno di CAPACITyES ha seguito un tipico processo di design thinking che prevede quattro macro-fasi:
esplorazione del problema e delle risorse,
interpretazione del problema e identificazione delle opportunità progettuali,
generazione di idee per nuovi servizi/spazi o miglioramento dell’esistente,
sviluppo delle soluzioni più promettenti.


About this resource

Pietro Elisei
Bergamo, Italy Small and medium-sized cities (50k > 250k)
About UIA
Urban Innovative Actions

The Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) is a European Union initiative that provided funding to urban areas across Europe to test new and unproven solutions to urban challenges. The initiative had a total ERDF budget of €372 million for 2014-2020.

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