“Smart Urbanism: Utopian or Survival Vision For 2030?” — Youth Empowerment in the Movement

On June 29, 2021, we hosted an exciting webinar on Smart Urbanism featuring world-class experts Marcelo Garcia, Bell Beh, and Boyd Cohen. You can watch the webinar here

Last time, we introduced the definitions of smart urbanism and the impacts of COVID-19. You can read the article here.

In this article, we will explore youth empowerment.

Any new movements in smart urbanisms that focus on youth inclusion and empowerment?

Bell said she frequently engages with youth and learns a lot from them. It propels her to double down on what they are doing. To further engage with youth, she is rolling out a mobile app called Happy Toon.

“For the next few years, I’m just going to double down and keep rolling out applications that make people happy and healthy. That is really our goal.” 

Marcelo mentioned his nonprofit, Wisdom Accelerator for Youth, where they have monthly online sessions via Neo One Way.org. They are trying to make teenagers smarter and cultivate their self-awareness. He also wants to make sure teenagers are given the opportunities to have more meaning in their lives. By doing things that generate value for teenagers and their inner circles, they will be in a better position to create value for society.

“I’m not dealing with teenagers like, ‘Oh poor things. How can I help?’ No. It’s like, how can we help them help themselves?”

Boyd also worked with youth around smart cities. He thinks children are much more innovative and creative than adults. He said children are extremely attuned to things that many people have lost concern for, like nature and society. Adults tend to lose sight of some of these essential things around humanity and the planet, whereas those are front and center for youth.

“I mean, my daughter’s nine, and we created this little fictitious company between us called Re Circle. And it’s all about finding materials that could be reconstituted and even become a product. And we name the product, and we build these little versions and just put them in the house just for fun. But it was really inspired by her more than me. It’s in their nature.”

Boyd said we should harness the power of youth and probably give them more leadership rules than adults have.

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