Educating cities – what are they?
"It takes a whole village to raise one child"
"In the centre of Fedora, that grey stone metropolis, stands a metal building with a crystal globe in every room. Looking into each globe, you see a blue city, the model of a different Fedora. These are the forms the city could have taken if, for one reason or another, it had not become what we see today. In every age someone, looking at Fedora as it was, imagined a way of making it the ideal city, but while he constructed his miniature model, Fedora was already no longer the same as before, and what had been until yesterday a possible future became only a toy in a glass globe.""
Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino
Fedora is not alone. Many real cities across the world allow their daily routine to leave them deprived of vision and soul. Lately though we are witnessing a trend for change: more and more cities, localities, and whole regions are making efforts, for various reasons, to emphasize their uniqueness.
In 1990, during the first International Convention for Educating Cities, when Barcelona presented the concept, it did so based on the belief that a city’s educating role comes from its being a city - since all the factors impacting on the development and “education” of individuals, are in place there. So the city has a commitment to create and present uncompromising, programs are aimed at involving the entire city. This is because the city’s mode of action has implications for interrelations between groups, and the creation of new values in education.
Many things affect a city’s unique texture - urban planning, culture, the quality of civil services, schools, after-school activities, safety, welfare, community partnership and involvement, youth movements, economy and budgeting. They are what creates the “human experience” of living there.
Many town leaders in have transformed that understanding into an opportunity. They have decided to invest in education as leverage for the city, making it a more attractive place for its current residents – and future high quality population.
The idea of Educating Cities means that the city itself, in all its aspects, acts as a source of learning for its residents.
On the Educating Cities international website, the educating city’s goal is presented as follows:
“The purpose of the educating city is to shape and embed an educational worldview in a whole community. Educational perceptions should affect the policies of various institutions, and be implemented through activities dedicated to improving people’s the quality of life, and enhancing their involvement and commitment to their community. That process is enabled through cooperation between all involved, including residents, institutions, and every public and private organisation operating in the city.”
The Institute for Democratic Education supports the idea of “Educating Cities”
What is an educating city – an article: ‘What are the four principals of educating cities, and how should they be implemented?”