According to the 2018 “Civic Cities” ranking by Europolis, which measured engagement of the citizens in public affairs, Białystok was ranked as 45th out of 65th cities ranked. The low engagement of its citizens can be also observed through a low turnout during its neighborhood boards elections, which renders Neighborhood Boards’ operations impossible. This project is addressed to the people of six neighborhoods in Białystok: Bema, Tysiąclecia, Przyjaźń, Piasta, Białostoczek and TBS. These are all neighborhoods with varying histories, traditions, and size. You can find folks who lived here since “forever,” as well as newcomers.
We will meet with the representatives from local institutions and other citizens in order to collaborate on stories that tell the history of these places and of people who live there. We will get to know each other and plan and organize events that will strengthen the sense of local identity. We are looking forward to historical walks, field games, and “people meeting people” events. We will document and photograph places worth remembering and publish local mini guidebooks. We will also organize the Neighborhood, Street and Apartment Days. After concluding our Future Workshops, the most interesting ideas will be implemented as a part of the Local Initiatives program. Simultaneously, our animators will support the work of six Active Citizen Forums, which will enable local leaders to collaborate with the City Hall and the councilmen, but, most importantly, will create a space necessary to find an answer to the question: “What does the place we live in mean to us?”
Arendal Adult Centre from Norway is our partner in the project. We will visit the organization in order to learn more about different methods for enabling engagement of citizens in social activities and creating a friendly urban space (e.g. People Meeting People and “With Heart for Arendal”).