The 2nd Local Stakeholder Workshop in Szombathely

Szombathely 3 July 2023
From school children to parents - thinking together to improve urban green spaces

Students, parents and residents were invited to the second workshop of the JUSTNature project at the Dési Huber István Primary School.

On the afternoon of 17 May, we held two separate events, as it is important that as many people as possible get to know about the project and that many of them can help shape the implementation of the improvements with their ideas and opinions.

The first workshop was attended by students from the Dési school, as the school and its courtyard are one of the project sites. The pupils worked in groups to brainstorm ideas about what they could imagine replacing the current schoolyard, where the area could be greener, and what solutions could be considered. They learned a lot about nature-based solutions and their positive effects on everyday life - air quality and climate.

We then invited their parents and people living in the areas around the target sites to participate in a workshop. We also invited the designers and landscape architects working on the project, who did a great job facilitating the group work at the different tables. We also handed out maps to the adults of the courtyard of the Dési school and the other target area, which is the public park on Hunyadi Road next to the church of Szőlősi. They spent more than two hours thinking about these areas, how to improve air quality and well-being, and how to make the public park an easily accessible and attractive recreation area for as many people as possible.

The results of this work will be used by landscape architects in the planning process in the upcoming next few months. Ideas from students and residents will also be incorporated into the concrete implementation.

The second part of the 2nd Local Stakeholder Workshop was held the next day, the 18th of July. Following the first workshop resulted in designing new functions for the areas around Gyöngyös stream and Dési Huber István Primary School – two of the locations of the city practice lab, commissioned landscape designers prepared three different scenarios for both the Hunyadi public park and the Dési Huber István Schoolyard.

During the workshop, they briefly presented their plans by highlighting the most essential intervention areas regarding nature-based solutions. This was followed by a long interactive session, where the participants could evaluate the alternative scenarios based on their expected impact and potential risks. It is important to emphasize that the participants of this workshop were local experts who had the power and knowledge to influence the planning and maintenance of the sites. For example, the city’s head gardener, people from the local water authority, people from the local school district, and other interested parties. Their inclusion aimed to ensure that the planned nature-based solutions and other functions are feasible to realize and maintain.

JUSTNature project builds on the principle of co-governance: civil society and private domains collaborate to achieve a positive change in their local environment.

Fair societal and structural changes can only be achieved through working together for our common interests: for humans and nature alike.