14 SES 04 A, Multidisciplinary Approaches to Learning in and from Urban Spaces: The City as a Learning Experience - Part 1
In 2013, the municipality in Horsens, a medium-sized provincial town in Denmark, bestowed the city's children and young people a skater facility at the city's central squares. Officially, the municipality donated the facility to give local children and young people an opportunity to use their leisure time stimulating their bodies, having a great time with friends and other urban dwellers. The gift is accompanied by a number of (more or less camouflaged) crime prevention- and social education agendas, carried out by the SSP (a special Social services, School and Police unit), that observe, mingle and socialize at the facility. The social workers affiliated with the SSP understand and define their role in contradiction to the official agenda. The social workers seek to pull the young people off the street and get them to enroll in educational leisure clubs instead. In that perspective, seemingly some groups of adolescents are more entitled to use the facility, whereas groups that confront, interpret and exploit the facility in other ways than the municipality intended, are constructed as less authorized users. In my presentation I examine examples of such contradictory agendas and also debate the young people’s reaction to these opposing messages. In continuation of this I ask what learning experiences the young people accumulate during their use of the skater park facility and what morals and normative expectations, both explicit and symbolic, they must cope with, if they want to explore inner city life?
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