BY ASSEL ALASHPEKOVA
UNYA held “Student Talks” about enthralling student projects in the field of sustainable development to raise awareness among residents about the students’ involvement in creating a more sustainable Aalborg. Three projects were presented by three groups of Aalborg University students.
The first group of students stood up to present their outstanding project, which was “Urban Energy and Environmental Planning – Cities & Sustainability”.
These students developed a sustainability-oriented project for Aalborg East in November 2017 under the student competition named “Aalborg East 2030 – Visions & Investments”, organized by Himmerland Housing Association, supported by Aalborg University, the Mmunicipality and Business Network 9220. The goal of this competition was to gather ideas for sustainable development of Aalborg East by 2030 taking into accont the Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN.
Their project was based on revitalizing the Planetcentre in Aalborg East by creating liveability through public spaces and shared services. Aalborg East, in general, is characterised by isolated neighbourhoods and infrastructure prioritizing car usage. Therefore, public life in the streets is sparse. The Planetcentre is an old shopping mall from the 1970s and is characterised by frigid and empty spaces. Therefore, the students chose to revitalise it to increase its attractiveness and to boost the liveability of the area. They focused on responsible use of the area, products and materials, community involvement, sharing economy and accessibility by bike and walking. Furthermore, they developed an exciting timeline with progressing events and activities at the Planetcentre until 2030. Their enlightening project definitely drew the attention of Himmerland Housing Association, Aalborg University and municipality in the competition.
The next project was developed by Erasmus+ master students from the “Joint European Master in Environmental Studies – Cities and Sustainability” programme for the same competition in November 2017. The project, which I am a part of, was focused on a different field of sustainability, namely integrating sustainability education into the existing system of school education. The major objective was to ensure quality education for the youth, and decent work, good health and well-being for the residents of Aalborg East in a longer run. Our main credo was that better quality of education in the East will bring more people to the area and will enhance the liveability as well as improve the economic situation there.
The project focused on establishing a new department in one of the schools of Aalborg East. The proposed department had several internal and external functions to manage the new study focus. The exceptional part of this project was the proposal of a membership card specifically for the residents of Aalborg East to increase the liveability and to boost sustainability education at schools as one of the offers for parents. All over, this outstanding project was noticed by the school manager and other persons during its development in November 2017, but has not been considered further due to the current different focus of the municipality in the development of school education.
The last presentation was held by the students engaged in International Network of Green Agents (INGA). INGA was established by the Sustainability department of Aalborg municipality and focuses on students’ involvement in the transition towards sustainability of Aalborg city. It is a quite new organization (established in September 2017) and has been first coordinated by the Australian manager Timothy Shue. Now, INGA consists of 9 interdisciplinary students from Aalborg University coming from different countries. The previous year, within 12 weeks, the INGA 1.0 team has assisted the Centre for Green Transition to assess the current stage of the campaign “Gør os alle grønnere” and to develop further strategies for the campaign. The outcome of their project gave 8 recommendations for future steps. Indeed, they are not going to finish with one result! This year, they will continue to assess in a campaign and with sustainable transition of the city with a new upgrade INGA 2.0. They are willing to foster collaboration with different actors, such as universities, AAU Case Competition, AAU Match, etc. to broaden their potential. Moreover, they will assist in developing the Sustainability Festival 2018.
For more information about the projects of each group, please contact the following emails:
- Sustainability Education at Aalborg East: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Recommendations from INGA: email@example.com
- Revitalization of Planetcentre at Aalborg East: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our speakers addressed the following SDGs: