Central Älvstaden

Central Älvstaden – Gårdsten School and Hammarkullen School

The process underway in Central Älvstaden (central riverbank) is of interest to the pilot project. This two-year project (2011-2012) was initiated by the city executive board in Gothenburg to develop visions about how the riverbanks in the city center could be used when there is no longer a need for a commercial port. One of Central Älvstaden’s strategies has been to work with civil society in various ways, and one action was to involve a school from every city district, thus a total of ten schools, in this visionary work. Two schools from Angered are involved, the International School Gårdsten and Hammarkullen School, the latter being responsible for summarizing what the former had arrived at. In this summarizing work, pupils from Hammarkullen School received support from the teacher training programs previously involved in the pilot project.

One of the tools Central Älvstaden used was a steamboat trip on the river that included all of the classes involved. Using an Urban Game, they learned about the port’s historical background. Results from the entire workshop on the schools’ visions will probably be presented at the beginning of 2012 as a kind of electronic exhibition that can be built out.

The pilot project then suggested that Central Älvstaden should  further develop these experiences into a toolbox that works to regularly involve elementary students (one per city district every year, as a part of their schoolwork) in design and collaborative community development. One lesson from the pilot project concerns the possibilities for democracy work in the preschools and schools that lie in being able to choose an actual physical place that is to be changed in some way. This can occur in the city center as well as in its suburbs. Community development is not just about jointly shaping one’s own neighborhood, but also to a great degree about being involved in designing other parts of the city. The toolbox could even be developed to work for interested folk high schools, high schools and associations where participants wish to be collaborative community builders as part of their ordinary activities. The relationship to the International School of Gårdsten has also been prolonged in that three students from the social work program, together with the teacher and the class in Gårdsten, will continue to investigate how capacity-building processes for participation and learning can become an everyday resource in the elementary schools.