After gathering in Berlin and Amsterdam last year, this month Enter the Void headed to Budapest. The European think-tank explored the alternative youth scene in the Hungarian capital, uncovering city-making practices that foster creativity and solution stories on how to improve the access of young actors in the urban space. First stop, the Auróra project, a social hub focused on community building and bridging the gap between civil and activist organisations in the city.
The international project, between the cities of Amsterdam, Berlin, Budapest and Riga, is well on its way. The third gathering of Enter the Void set up headquarters at Auróra, a community house in Budapest which opened in 2014. Having its name from the street on which the building is located, Auróra has been working for the past three years on developing community practices and initiatives together with eight NGOs and volunteers from various practices, such as architecture, design or communication.
‘Auróra’s long-term goal is to create an innovative and self-sustaining practice which increases the number of socially active citizens to advance the broadening of democratic practices in Hungary.’ – Auróra
Created around the principle of participatory democracy, Auróra is committed on forming a stable base of community practices in Budapest, strengthening the civil sector. Among their projects, From Eight to Eight is a community building initiative striving to bring together people living in the Csarnok quarter, part of the 8th district in Budapest. The 8th district is one of the city areas undergoing radical transformations in terms of housing and amenities. For the past years, more cultural hubs, speciality bars and cafes have opened up, gradually gentrifying the district. Located in a socially and ethnically heterogeneous part of the city, Auróra’s project is focused on neighbourhood communication and self-organising practices, which in return activate people’s involvement in city-making.
As the headquarters for Enter the Void assemble in Budapest, Auróra brought together several groups representing youth city-makers from the four cities collaborating in the European project. Among the local participants from Budapest, there are also representatives from Black Rabbit Collective and Nachtburgemeester Amsterdam. With youth activism and participation rising in the Hungarian capital, ideas and practices on youth representation in decision-making processes were shared.
‘In Amsterdam, the State seems to be much more supportive than in Hungary. Even if you have a problems, and you have this discussion about being pushed out of the city centre, I still have the feeling that the State is supportive.’ – Judith Schanz, KEK: Contemporary Architecture Centre Budapest
During Enter the Void’s gathering at Pakhuis de Zwijger last November, it became evident that the four cities face different struggles in terms of participation and city-making. Cities like Amsterdam, which have a long history of participatory planning, provide a good knowledge base for other European capitals, like Budapest, where this practice is starting to grow.
With youth participation in city transformations and involvement in policy-making becoming a key focus on the European Agenda, projects like Enter the Void highlight the means thorough which youth representation can be taken one step further, from agenda setting into practice.
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