United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO has rewarded the City of Espoo for its exemplary progress as a learning city.
The city was awarded in a ceremony held in the 2nd International Conference on Learning Cities, Building Sustainable Learning Cities, in Mexico City on the 28th of September 2015. The worldwide network of learning cities was established in 2014. Already a year earlier the City of Espoo participated in the first conference of learning cities and announced that it wants to participate actively in the network.
Director of Development Kristiina Erkkilä and Deputy Mayor Sampo Suihko were glad
about the recognition.
A Learning City is built together
The City of Espoo and other learning cities recognize the significance of learning as a foundation of wellbeing and growth of the city and all its residents. The learning cities have visionary aspirations for both their cities and their citizens and they are creative and pioneering in their desire to respond to a changing world with new ideas. Lifelong learning is also a key factor in building a sustainable society.
A learning city is built on innovations which are created and implemented in co-operation with different partners. That is why the aim is promoted together with citizens, educational organizations, enterprises, associations and communities. The City of Espoo offers them a possibility to participate in developing new solutions and makes effective use of their expertize as well locally as nationally and internationally. The role of the city is to create prerequisites, to build networks and offer the best possible foundation for learning.
Competent Espoo residents
Enabling people to continue learning throughout their lives is important for the well-being of each individual and also for the future of the society. In its education development plan Espoo pledges to follow the common principles of the Learning Cities network concerning lifelong learning.
The aim of lifelong learning is a competent resident who in his own life carries out ecological, social, cultural and economic sustainable development. Learning is supported by a consistent learning path, new learning environments and digital technology.
The City of Espoo is an example
Espoo is one of twelve showcase cities presented in a publication in connection with the conference. The publication presents e.g. how the City of Espoo builds a sustainable future, how it utilizes digital technology in learning and the accessible cultural services in the city.
In the conference Espoo presented its experiences and insights on building a learning city. Espoo brought up e.g. the project Flexible Spaces for Learning, the minisociety learning environment for primary school students Me and MyCity, Library Makerspaces, Konsti Family Support concept to support families, the digital meeting place for senior citizens and Espoo´s energy information system. It was also stated that Espoo still has many challenges to face but by developing the learning city approach it is possible to find answers to them.
The Espoo way of working, the main projects and good practices are also presented to a group of experts in a special seminar.