Aalto University: Aalto University solves urban challenges as a part of the Urban GoodCamp project

The Erasmus+ project Urban GoodCamp aims to empower Higher Education Institutions and their urban stakeholders to tackle pressing urban challenges. The project’s primary mission is to develop and implement multidisciplinary learning interventions for university students, researchers, and life-long learners and establish real-life solutions to pressing urban challenges.

The three-year EU-funded project Urban GoodCamp (UCAMP) started its journey early this year. The UCAMP partners are based in seven European cities – Helsinki, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Venice, Paris, Madrid, Ljubljana. The partners will be focusing on the pressing challenges that the ongoing urbanisation has caused. Some of the UCAMP’s key development areas are circular economy, urban biodiversity, sustainable communities, and urban mobility.

The UCAMP activities aim to tackle the cities’ challenges through

research and community engagement,
developing and implementing urban challenge bootcamps and innovation tours, as well as
generating and disseminating replicable tools and resources for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and urban communities in Europe.
Currently, the UCAMP partners are finalising the research and methodology work package. Insights from the findings will also be shared on aalto.fi when the project proceeds.

Challenge-based bootcamps
The UCAMP project’s educational approach is to develop and implement multidisciplinary learning interventions. One outcome will be a bootcamp model for university students and staff for developing real-life solutions to the pressing urban challenges. Aalto will lead the pilot testing and implementation of the bootcamp model in 2022. The educational focus at Aalto is on multidisciplinary challenge-based learning, preparing students for solving grand challenges in the future.

‘We have a strong background in challenge-based learning and company collaboration, which will benefit the UCAMP project. Here, we have a great chance to engage various local stakeholders in solving urban challenges. Being part of the European-wide UCAMP project is a unique learning experience and a possibility for developing co-design practices with other HEIs, companies and societal organisations. I’m eagerly looking forward to next year when we will pilot test the bootcamp programme!’, comments Silva Saulio, Project Specialist at Aalto.

One outcome will be a bootcamp model for university students and staff for developing real-life solutions to the pressing urban challenges.

Engaging local stakeholders for sustainable cities
The UCAMP project emphasises an integrated approach, where strong partnerships between local citizens, civil society, industry and various levels of government are the keys to success in urban development. The role of HEIs is crucial as anchor organisations that are leading transformational change in their urban environments.

‘The Helsinki region is transitioning towards sustainability on multiple fronts. Endeavours towards a socially, economically and ecologically sustainable city are often interconnected and require cross-sectoral collaboration for effective coordination. Aalto University is perfectly positioned to incubate new solutions to urban challenges such as effective use of resources, energy transition and sustainable mobility. Through cross-sectoral collaboration and challenge-based learning, UCAMP mobilises students, experts and professionals to seek and implement new practices and technologies that will, simply put, make for a better life through better cities,’ says UCAMP Research Assistant Eetu Niemi.

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