How can we ensure that citizens are equipped to learn and engage better, improving their own lives and that of future generations? These are the questions experts seek to give insight on in this selection of articles on developing lifelong learning models for cities of the future.
Should Happiness be the Aim of Education?
Mr. Aurelio Amaral
Partnerships and Policy Development Officer, World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE)
Cities as a Powerful Resource for Knowledge
Dr. Samer Bagaeen
Professor of Planning & Urban Resilience, University of Kent
Building Lifelong Learning Communities for Smart Cities
Executive Director, National Institute for Lifelong Education
Instead of seeking to enact change via policies stemming from national and local government, it is the citizens that take initiative and come up with solutions to often complex problems arising from cities. At the Han Riverside Park in Seoul, residents collaborated with transportation experts and businesses to install safety lights to reduce night-time cycle accidents. This is one of many examples of smart city changes that have been taking place within South Korea.
In a smart society individuals become the agents of change, taking direct responsibility for identifying, resolving and disseminating information. Study circles can provide opportunities for citizens to put their learning into practice and to contribute to the formation of learning community networks. Study circles are small groups of approximately ten people who voluntarily meet on a regular basis to study together and discuss about topics of mutual interest. The study circle can contribute to the establishment of a learning community as it helps the local residents play a role as local leaders, whilst learning and growing together. Some examples of this include the Vertical Alley Revitalization Project and the Busan West District Regeneration Project in South Korea.
- “Vertical Alley Revitalization Project: Elevators, Alleys Connecting Citizens’ Learning”, Seodaemun District, Lifelong Learning City: This project aimed to turn insignificant shared spaces, such as neighborhood alleys, into spaces where residents of Seodaemun District could have meaningful interactions with each other. Citizens could propose their own ideas and develop their own lessons with the assistance of the Seodaemun District Office. With residents participating as both learners and teachers, apartment buildings that were once devoid of communication were seeing the beginnings of interpersonal communication, resolving the issues that affect local communities. Citizens were also taking the knowledge that they acquired to commodify and earn money. In an age when single-person households are on the rise, this project utilizes the urban learning community to connect households and raise social capital.
- “Busan West District Regeneration Project”: This village regeneration program was tasked with the restoration of learning communities, such as expanding support for study circles and activities related to the production of village fairy-tale books, food donations, and village storytelling. Community problems were beginning to be resolved due to increased civic participation in a wide range of study circles – such as ‘house repairs in areas of underdeveloped housing’, ‘telling the stories of our neighborhood’, and ‘cultivating a community vegetable garden’. In essence, study circles facilitate the realization of a spectrum of lifelong learning.
1 160 of the 227 local governments in South Korea are implementing the project of lifelong learning city. The mean increase rate of the number of study circles (9.35%) in these lifelong learning cities is significantly larger compared to the rate (2.34%) in other cities.