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Children can now roll up their sleeves and reshape the urban environment

Small town in Belgium involves kids with ideas in urban redevelopment

Small town in Belgium involves kids with ideas in urban redevelopment

Beerse has a budget for projects created by young people between 12 and 25 in order to make them an active part of the town's fate

The small Belgian town of Beerse recently decided to include young people aged 12 to 25 in the decision-making process when it comes to organizing the municipal budget. Thus, its government created a special 40,000-euro subsidy to fund projects created by young people.

After some municipally sponsored coaching, several projects have made it through to the jury stage and local authorities will review and decide on the funding.

Young people want to roll up their sleeves and get to work

The decision to include young people in the Beerse municipal and urban development came about after a survey among citizens aged 12 to 25 titled ‘Let us hear from you’. The survey found that the majority think that youth should have a bigger say in the town's fate.

According to a statement by the municipality, local youth organisations meet young people brimming with ideas all the time. Moreover, the new budget is a great way to put these ideas to use, especially in infrastructure dedicated specifically towards kids and young people. What can be more democratic than children proposing redevelopment projects for playgrounds, for example?

To keep the application process as open as possible, there is no unifying theme behind the projects. Instead, they only have to meet the application criteria. Furthermore, local youth organisations will take an active role as consultants, that will help young people shape their pitches in front of the applications committee.

Five projects will make to the committee this year. One is dedicated to cycling paths and safety. It calls for marking bicycle paths around playgrounds with striking colours. Another is an initiative to reduce littering on playgrounds by making garbage cans look cooler.

There is also a project that focuses on outdoor sporting facilities with a callisthenics park and one that aims to promote tolerance and diversity among younger children through diverse skin colour pencil sets, reminiscent of an earlier initiative in the city of Ghent. The last project proposes a programme to help guide children and young people through their first steps in the world of culture.

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