Children help city councils solve big societal challenges

GOOD NEWS! The region surrounding Aarhus – the second biggest city in Denmark – comprising 19 municipalities – is to become European Cultural Capital in 2017 and we at INDEX: Design to Improve Life® have been given one of the first 44 strategic initiatives: to teach the region’s school children and teachers how they themselves contribute in solving the biggest challenges surrounding them in society.

In the course of three years, 2,000 children from 76 schools in 19 municipalities will – as one of 44 strategic initiatives selected for European Cultural Capital in 2017, Aarhus – learn how to understand societal challenges like e.g. waste management and elderly care in their own region and draw, build and design how they believe these great challenges could be solved. In parallel, teachers from the same 76 schools are also to be trained so that they are equipped to teach the many children in a whole new way – using Design to Improve Life Education.

How is it done?
Once during every school year, the 19 city councils will identify one of the biggest societal challenges facing the region, and subsequently the children in schools will begin finding out how they think the particular challenge could or should be solved. The children then present their solutions at a big event where selected citizens, counsellors and business leaders choose the best one.

After three years of work, three ‘Design to Improve Life Challenges’ with three different themes, and many hundreds of design solutions, the 2,000 children will gather at a five-day camp in Aarhus city centre and combine their very best solutions in a huge exhibition model of the city they want to live in – in the future.

The teaching methods on which the initiative is based, is developed as a part of Denmark’s new national innovation strategy. And the initiative, which also includes several exhibitions and conferences, has been established to ensure that the school systems in all 19 municipalities are well equipped to teach strong creative and cultural skills.

Kigge Hvid, CEO of INDEX: Design to Improve Life® says: ‘We are very happy to assist Aarhus2017 with an initiative that involves all municipalities behind Aarhus 2017, gives kids and young people strong visability in the 2017 program and ensures long-term creative skills across the region for children ,youth and teachers.


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