The case of Gdynia

a description of the process and results of the project: „South Baltic Youth Core Group Network”

The Youth City Council of Gdynia was established in the Resolution XII/223/11 of the City Council of Gdynia concerning the establishment of the Gdynia Municipality Youth City Council and Statute granting on 28 September 2011. The Resolution XIV/273/11 of the City Council of Gdynia amended the Statute of the Youth City Council of Gdynia.
On 24 October 2018, the election to the Youth City Council of Gdynia for its 5th term was held

results in short

In Gdynia, young citizens took part in the decision-making process of the following public decisions and together with the authorities they addressed the following public issues:

  1. Public transport in Gdynia: on 8 December 2018, Vice President of the Youth City Council in the name of YCC during the meeting with Katarzyna Gruszecka-Spychala proposed changes to the timetables of buses in Gdynia. The requests regarded increasing the frequency of buses running to Gdynia Orłowo in the morning hours (due to the middle schools that are located there) so that they are adjusted to the school schedules.
  2. They started the topic of increasing the involvement of young people in the City participatory budgeting. The authorities expressed willingness to consult forms of promotion and to inform the youth about the participatory budgeting and the ways of including the projects of the young people in it. In consequence of the talks, actions and reaching the youth and the YCC with information about the participatory budgeting, on 2 February 2019, there was a training for the YCC about the rules and aims of the participatory budgeting of Gdynia.

What was the biggest effect of the cooperation with the authorities in Gdynia was generating a catalogue of subjects and public decisions which the authorities can and will consider allowing the youth to have a say in; subjects and decision which come from the specificity of the City of Gdynia, willingness and openness of the authorities and officials as well as the city’s needs to use opinions of the young people.

Another achievement was the involvement of the Social Innovations Laboratory (Laboratorium Innowacji Społecznych) – a city institution responsible for civic dialogue between the authorities and residents – in the direct talks with the YCC. The city authorities and the Social Innovations Laboratory declared that they would include the YCC in ongoing processes of social consultations, as well as they would try to dedicate separate actions to the YCC, which, in a particular way, would engage them in the dialogue with the authorities.

the process – a description of undertaken actions

The first debate between the authorities and young people – so-called round table – 13 June 2019

On 13 June 2019 between 2:30 pm and 4:00 pm, there was an event called “Pocket parks in Gdynia – a round table”, during which the youth, adults and associations’ representatives worked in groups on the topics concerning the possibility of pocket parks creation in Gdynia. The meeting took place in Wymiennikownia – the Youth Centre of Social Innovation and Design.

The objective was to interest the youth about citizen activity, to create a dialogue between the youth and decision-makers, to exchange opinions between the people interested in art, greenery and city aesthetics. The debate was attended by a large group of representatives of the City Council, District Councils, Greenery and Aesthetics Department, Gardener’s Office, education representatives, teachers who are the supervisors of school governments, Nasze Orłowo Association, Cool-awi Association as well as the representatives of the Association of Euroregion Baltic Municipalities.

In September of 2019, the project of pocket parks creation was accepted to be carried out in the Participatory Budgeting of Gdynia. You can access the article by clicking here (in Polish): https://www.bo.gdynia.pl/Drugi_miejski_projekt_do_BO_zostanie_zrealizowany.html

The representatives of authorities, President of the City Council Joanna Zielińska and councillors of various districts took part in the meeting. In total, there were about 50 participants from school governments, associations and the city.

During the debate, the participants discussed (in separate groups) the following issues:

  • Locations. Where could pocket parks be established?
  • Functions and expectations. Who will use pocket parks? What are your expectations towards the parks?
  • Appearance. How would the pocket parks be equipped? What form should they take to fit in the climate of the district? Is the safety of the park important and how is it connected to the equipment?
  • Accessibility. How to adjust the pocket parks to the needs of the people with disabilities (motor, sensory and intellectual), the elderly, children and animals?

The young people presented conclusions and recommendations from the round table at the session of the Municipal Services Committee – so-called first public hearing – 19 September 2019.

During the session of the Municipal Services Committee, which is presided by Elżbieta Sierżęga, President of the Youth City Council of Gdynia Kamil Serapuk presented the results of the first round table talks.

The second debate between authorities and young people – so-called round table – 30 October 2019

The topic of the second round table between the City authorities and the young citizens was public transportation in Gdynia. During the debate, the round table, the youth together with the City authorities worked in various groups on the following topics:

  • How should the timetables be set so that they would meet the expectations and needs of young people?
  • What possibilities that you know of can influence the comfort of using public transportation in Gdynia and is it possible that one of the youth’s idea can be implemented into our city?
  • Are pedestrians safe in Gdynia?

Requests from the debate were as follows:

  1. To improve the configuration of interchange connections
  2. To increase the running frequency of several buses
  3. To adjust the timetable to the school schedules
  4. To increase access to public transportation for a bigger number of people
  5. To make passenger information available on a bigger number of bus stops
  6. To increase the visibility of information about changes to bus routes

The young people presented conclusions and recommendations from the round table at the session of the City Council of Gdynia – so-called second public hearing – 28 January 2020.

On 28 January 2020, the representatives of the Youth City Council: a councillor Julia Wyczk and curator Marta Otrębska participated in the meeting of the Municipal Services Committee of the City Council of Gdynia. The meeting aimed to inform the City councillors about the recommendations worked out during the round table talks concerning adjusting public transportation in Gdynia to the youth’s needs.

Julia Wyczyk presented the most important recommendations worked out during the first round table. At the end, the councillors had a chance to ask questions about the recommendations and to address the requests of the young people.

context

In Gdynia, we worked directly with Wymiennikownia (https://wymiennikownia.org/), the Social Innovations Laboratory (http://lis.gdynia.pl/), Magdalena Annuszek (the Chief of the City Council Service Department in Gdynia) and Joanna Zielińska (the President of the City Council of Gdynia). Magdalena Dębna, a staff member of Wymienikownia, and Marta Dębska, the curator of the Youth City Council, were responsible for the work of the team.

The Social Innovations Laboratory is an independent budget entity of the Municipality of Gdynia responsible for the development and support of the innovative social solutions directed to the residents. Wymiennikowa is a Youth Centre of Social Innovation and Design. It is a place for people aged between 13 and 35, where they can take part in activities and workshops, exchange their passions and ideas, get to know interesting people, spend time freely or rest. Moreover, there are workshops for schools, organizations meetings and various events organized by the youth for the youth.



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