Future Urban Activators

Our Future Activators showcase event 2023.

Delivering human-centred design training and practice in higher education.

Project stage: Developing and Testing (

The problem: Evidenced skills gap in the development of university students to build capacity in human centred system design.

Target Groups: University students (postgraduate, PhD students, master students), who have an interest in the development of urban regeneration projects, experienced professionals who want to improve their professional profile by developing new skills and activating new research paths, young graduates approaching urban regeneration and young professionals working freelance.

Geographic Areas: Dublin, Bologna, Klaipeda, Cartagena. 

Partners: Demetra Formazione, Città della Cultura/Cultura della Città, University College Dublin, University of Klaipeda, University of Cartagena.

 Solution: Co-creation of a training and immersion programme that builds the capacity of these actors through upskilling them in engaging and innovative practices on citizen and human centred system design (from urban to human!), facilitating them in connecting with local communities to co-produce integrated projects on urban issues, leaving a plan and community champions to continue the implementation of same.

Funder: Erasmus +

Changes made: Provision of knowledge and capacity to students to ignite human-centred design in our communities through their future work. 

What people said:

Student (December, 2022), “The activity where I learned most was in the workshop, the things that I learned and enjoyed most: – The creation of an idea to give a solution to a problem. – The interviews with the stakeholders were very useful and made us change the direction of our idea and also helped us to ground the idea better. – The presentation, I was nervous, but the background that you get from different people with different professions and backgrounds is incredible.”

Student (December, 2022), ”It was an amazing experience; the support of the team was incredible and I would have loved to continue working on the Ballymun programme.”

Academic Staff (December, 2022), “It would be good to invite other schools of architecture to a dissemination event where we could share outputs and get feedback on the programme from others who might identify further audiences, beneficiaries and communities of practice”.

Next step: The model was tested in Ireland with University College Dublin through their Carbon, Climate, Cities and Change Master’s programme 2022/23 and we will be working with them to extend the living lab to other modules within the University and across other schools of architecture in Ireland.

Sustainable Development Goals

Goal 04 - Quality Education
Goal 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
Goal 09 - Industry Inoovation and Infrastructure
Goal 10 - Reduced Inequalities
Goal 11 - Sustainable cIties and Communities
Goal 17 - Partnerships for the goals