Expert article
Edit 15 April 2021

Changing People and Places through an Act of Fantasy.

Children preparing for Easter Days
The CAPACITyES PROJECT  identifies and manages the problems of urban poverty and marginalization through an urban regeneration paths characterized by strong innovative and creative assets. Creativity is put at the center of the process looking for sustainable solutions to urban issues related to co-housing, migrant families and integration of social services. The Children, with their fantasy, play a relevant role in finding the way leading to the solutions.  




In compliance with the limitations that govern the life of all of us in this unfortunate period, the CAPACITyES project advances in carrying out the planned activities, but in the context of this permanent instability, the project partnership must often be ready to change the designated path at any moment. From day to day, it has to be looked for the alternative path that allows the project to keep the course marked for its realization. Every step requires an exercise in creativity to keep together, on the same page, through synergies and integrations, the stakeholders of the envisaged urban transformations. There are some activities that have proved to be fundamental at the beginning of the year, in particular:

  1. Maintaining the connection with the families (migrant families with low economic capacity, and often, but not always, with school deficits to make up for).
  2. The gradual activation of educational support (necessary to access the world of work and professions).
  3. The individual meetings held with mediators and families (keeping families together in the project, in a hard time of crisis, requires continuous dialogue and continuous construction of perspective to face the current housing problems and imagine a different future in the context of co-housing experiment).

The value of mediation in designing spaces for co-housing

Keeping the involved families together in an innovative project, when the effects of the pandemic come to compromise even more their fragile condition, adds degrees of difficulty to the challenges faced by the CAPACITyES project. In this sense, the role of cultural mediators was fundamental to keep the target group close to the co-housing experimentation launched by this project. It should be emphasized that this difficult role of opening dialogue and building relationships between different cultures is mainly managed by women, as professionals mediators, but also at the level of the involved families. Mediators are managing to bring together the different meanings that behaviours, spaces, words can assume in different cultures in order to share a common understanding of needs. This understanding of needs, in this case above all related to living, becomes fundamental for designers in order to create flexible and adaptable living spaces to a context of common life characterized by strong interculturality, and therefore diversity: driving force to think, design and manage living spaces in an innovative way.

Video Interview with intercultural mediators
Video Interview with intercultural mediators:

The strength of children

Another significant aspect of this period concerns the involvement of children, who are the creative force behind the CAPACITYES project, but whom the pandemic has relegated to playing a role of limited participation. The project has implemented creative solutions, in fact, the children, through the creation of avatars, were able to participate and express their opinion on how to organize HUB4KIDS, thus giving the designers valuable information on how to advance with the design and recovery of the building where to create this hub (the interviews through the creation of avatars for the children, users of HUB4KIDS, guaranteed the privacy of the children involved, but at the same time allowed to designers to receive their creative contribution).

children participatory planning process
The #CAPACITyES project aims to actively involve the whole community and especially the children, so that the Bergamo of tomorrow can be the product of a shared and participatory process.
# unacittàinTESTA:

But the creativity, imagination, of children also emerges through the work that is fueling one of three fundamental projects of the regenerative action promoted by CAPACITYES. The street art work connects the other two areas of intervention (the redevelopment of the building for co-housing and the construction of the HUB4KIDS) through the creation of an "urban corridor" consisting of murals.

Art and urban regeneration

This urban corridor made by murals draws the attention of the inhabitants of Bergamo to this regeneration project by materializing children's ideas and drawings through the representation of their imagination. Fantasy that becomes an act of regeneration and re-contextualization of the urban places crossed by this band of color and creativity.
Children's imagination, the style of a street artist and colors conquer the streets of the city. In these days, the murals dedicated to the Odyssey created by the artist Luogo Comune, who took inspiration from the drawings of the little protagonists of the creative workshops of CAPACITyES, came to life.
Luogo Comune has given bright colors to the ideas proposed by children and young people, telling the adventures of Ulysses in the streets of Bergamo. A story as ancient as it is present, which it still knows how to speak to each of us.

le sirene di Ulisse
The story of the Odyssey, interpreted by children's drawings, becomes a source of inspiration for the artists who create the murals:

The urban regeneration carried out by the CAPACITyES project combines physical interventions within a community building project. The CAPACITyES project is not only a path linked to the realization of a proposal, but it is a generator of multiple proposals that always open new perspectives not only to the target of selected families for the co-housing project, but the project, through continuous experimentation, above all by the involvement of children and artists, offers multiple solutions to alleviate the problems associated with urban poverty in general. Above all, it manages to be a catalyst and integrator of many other social services, already existing in the city, which through the CAPACITyES initiatives, are able to better identify the problems of marginalization that they are called to face and place them within an urban regeneration paths characterized by  strong innovative and creative assets.



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