Empower Youth, Build Capacities

Taking up TRUSTMAKING as an active and applicable response to the challenges of living together in cities, this research project aims to empower urban youth and build capacities of city governments for the new green transition.

Establishing a trustful basis is key for well-informed, intergenerational, and cross-sector collaboration with city governments, entrepreneurs, and civil society organizations during urban development processes.


Through place-making practices we aim at fostering confidence of youth to co-create urban spaces, working in and with green infrastructures in four European cities: Oslo (Norway), Panevėžys (Lithuania), Vienna (Austria), and Rotterdam (The Netherlands). Through Urban Living Labs, tools for youth co-creation of green infrastructure are identified and developed, and cross-section collaboration mechanisms are designed in summer/winter schools.


Lastly, the development of TRUSTMAKING guidelines addresses capacity building in public service for integrating youth perspectives and competences that bridge short-term concerns and long-term objectives in urban transformation.

Project Aims

Access to green and public spaces is vital for youth development, with placemaking enhancing trust. This project created 4 Urban Living Labs, in Austria, Lithuania, Norway, and in the Netherlands, existing and new tools for youth co-creation of green infrastructure are designed and developed.  during these urban living labs, we also create cross-section collaboration and learning mechanisms through summer/winter schools. This is done to develop guidelines of youth co-design and access of green infrastructures to increase capacities in public service for integrating youth’s perspectives and their abilities to “bridge short-term concerns and long-term objectives” in urban transformation processes.


The project will result in applicable principles for trust-building in public spaces. The knowledge-exchange through co-research and co-creation of youth and the partners with different expertise in interpreting collected data, will determine valuable insights for all the related practitioners and policymakers on a European level. The project’s aim is to lay down cornerstones for EU cities-shaping professionals to act out trust-creating principles in their work, while at the same time supporting youth in taking up their role as change makers of urban spaces. If achieved, such a result contributes to cities’ recovery from the pandemic and opens alternatives to deal with future uncertainties.


TRUSTMAKING is an innovative approach to enhance placemaking practice with trust-creating principles revealed from transdisciplinary research beyond city planning domains.

This Trustmaking aims to improve social cohesion through youth-led public space co-production. The project aims to empower cities to apply trust-based principles and support youth as urban change-makers. Methodologically, it follows a transformative research approach, employing co-research, Urban Living Labs, and cross-learning. Co-research involves methods like collective mapping and photovoice to include youth perspectives. Urban Living Labs facilitate joint knowledge production among stakeholders, focusing on hands-on co-creation using placemaking tools. Cross-learning activities ensure upscaling and the development of trust-based principles, facilitated by an exchange network platform. Ultimately, the project seeks to provide city administrations with a guidebook for sustained engagement in trust-building co-creation processes.

Research and Innovation Aspects

The project explores how cities can enhance green infrastructure co-creation through inclusive co-creation, expanding placemaking knowledge for future research and policy strategies. By fostering inclusive spaces, it contributes to urban research, recognizing diverse perspectives among social groups like youth.

Testing research findings informs decision makers on effective city improvements. Emphasizing trust-building in public spaces enriches city planning, fostering bottom-up resilience. It considers both subjective human perceptions and objective urban infrastructure, recognizing urban spaces as dynamic systems. The project promotes circular thinking in urban transformation, advocating for nature-based solutions and circular economy practices like closed-loop construction and urban mining. Through cross-learning, it facilitates knowledge exchange among stakeholders, promoting innovative approaches for sustainable urban development.


Through Place-making practices we aim at fostering confidence of youth to co-create urban spaces.