This article is part of the EPALE Austria publication "Upskilling Pathways - Equal opportunities and participation through adult education" which will be published in November 2018.
Author: Claudia Auzinger | queraum. kultur- und sozialforschung
The Mobility Scouts approach
‘Mobility Scouts. Engaging older people in creating an age-friendly environment’ is an Erasmus+ project implemented between October 2016 and September 2018 by partners working in the fields of social policy and research, social gerontology and adult education in Austria, Germany, Italy, Lithuania and the Netherlands. In Austria, the project was implemented by queraum. cultural and social research (queraum. kultur- und sozialforschung) and supported by the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection.
The guiding principles of the Mobility Scouts approach are the inclusion and participation of older people. The project picks up on aspects related to active ageing, age-friendly environments, life-long learning, volunteering and co-production.
The overall objective of the Mobility Scouts project is to involve older men and women in decision-making processes and to enable and empower them to contribute to the creation of age-friendly environments as co-producers. Mobility Scouts are ‘front runners’ committed to putting the issue of age-friendly environments on the local agenda and giving it a boost through the initiation of local mobility projects.
In concrete terms, older men and women received Mobility Scouts training, which helped them initiate and support joint activities run by public authorities, companies or service providers as well as older people for the creation of age-friendly environments. Mobility Scouts training increased the participants’ knowledge of accessibility, age-friendly infrastructure and urban development. What’s more, the implementation of a practical project enabled participants to get involved constructively in social, political and economic fields and to cooperate with relevant stakeholders from city administration and local politics in new ways. These, in turn, opened up to the inclusion of older people and benefited from their knowledge and experience.
What does the Mobility Scouts training in Vienna look like?
The Mobility Scouts training in Vienna started in February 2018 and will be concluded by the end of September 2018. It gives the 13 participants the opportunity to develop and implement their own ideas for practical projects in parallel with the contents of the training sessions. The training consists of three phases:
- Learning phase
- Implementation phase
- Reflection and celebration phase
The learning phase involves sharing knowledge and exchanging prior experiences. Basic knowledge about the age-friendly design of public spaces and mobility in Vienna is imparted in thematic workshops. The Mobility Scouts learn about the various elements of an age-friendly environment, gain an overview of the most important stakeholders (in fields such as urban planning, urban design, accessibility) and their fields of responsibility. Opportunities for participation in the re(design) of public spaces and mobility services and examples from practice are discussed.
In order to design and implement these thematic workshops, experts from various relevant fields were consulted. These included representatives from the Agency of Local Agenda 21 Vienna (participation), the Mobility Agency Vienna (mobility, accessibility) and the municipal departments of Vienna (Urban Development and Planning (MA18) & Architecture and Urban Design (MA19)).
In the accompanying practical modules, the Mobility Scouts develop their practical projects with the support of the project team. A range of tools (project draft, action plan, environment analysis) are presented and applied in order to ensure successful project development.
In the implementation phase, which spans several months, the Mobility Scouts further develop their project ideas and implement the practical projects. In the process, the teams receive individual support according to their needs (e.g. when forging partnerships with external parties, with project management), as well as coaching from the trainers.
The conclusion of the training forms the reflection and celebration phase. A reflection workshop focuses on looking back on training and practical projects and looking forward to the future (sustainability, subsequent projects etc.).
Further information can be found at: www.mobility-scouts.eu
Photos: © OeAD-GmbH/APA-Fotoservice/ Hörmandinger
Since the beginning of 2018, Claudia Auzinger has been working for queraum. cultural and social research (queraum. kultur- und sozialforschung) on projects involved with enabling and empowering people to have a say in the design of their own living environments. After studying Landscape Architecture (The University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences [BOKU], Vienna) and Spatial Planning (TU Wien), she was initially involved with urban development and urban management, where she initiated and managed neighbourhood projects and was the local contact person for residents with questions about the living environment.