The inclusive simulation game called ‘City in the City’ creates a future model for a fair and ecological city.
What will Leipzig look like in the future? What will Addis Ababa look like in the future? What kind of city do we want? Moreover, what can we contribute to this vision?
Wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in a world allowing us to live together peacefully – in solidarity, in harmony with ecological values, in a fair and creative way?!
Through the method of playful learning, the City within the City simulation game succeeds in planning and building an inclusive model city, and bringing it to life. The ‘City within the City’ holiday activity benefits from its many years of experience gained since 2006. The project is designed as a cooperation project, and it facilitates the networking of skills, competences, resources, and contacts. We understand knowledge transfer and culture as key elements of living together. Every day, up to 250 children aged between six and twelve years play and build their own city made of wood. Theatre, painting, sports, dance, handicrafts, and games – the children can try whatever they want. In workshops, they can get to know different crafts and practically experience sustainable processes of economy, ecology, social aspects, and democracy. The project is primarily intended to help children recognise their creative potential and use it accordingly. The carers, aged between 13 and 75, are only allowed to assist the children.
The ‘City within the City’ holiday activity involves all generations, people with and without disabilities, people of different social groups, educational backgrounds, ethnic groups, home countries, and religious beliefs. Committed volunteers, business sponsors, and the municipality provide support and funding. The project promotes creativity and talent, serves the common good, and brings about solidarity between different social strata and actors. The children of today are the decision-makers of tomorrow. What they understand today, they will apply in the future. Up to 120 carers and helpers work daily for the project, and more than 90 percent support it on a voluntary basis. They organise the Leipzig simulation game every year during the first two weeks of the summer holidays. The patron of the event is the mayor of the city of Leipzig, Burkhard Jung.
This inclusive project helps children and carers to accept the disabilities of others. It also supports these children in their development. Both aspects provide valuable experience for the participating children in the „holiday workshop city“. What they learn now will later influence their thinking and acting. Children with social problems learn to work in a team, to accept other decisions, and to implement their own ideas. They understand that they can be respected and make friends if they accept and apply social norms. The Ethiopian project focuses on the poorest children. They experience a carefree time in the project, and feel how successful they can become by themselves.
Since 2016, we have been jointly developing the project of an inclusive children’s city with our Ethiopian partners in Addis Ababa, and we keep on learning from each other. Each project partner contributes its strengths, but also its own learning objectives. Since that time, we have been finding out which paths of education, qualification, and integration our Ethiopian partners take. Furthermore, the Ethiopian participation in Leipzig contributes to the tolerant and cosmopolitan atmosphere of the children’s city allowing children from other home countries, such as refugee children, to feel at home. These German and Ethiopian projects aim at motivating children, young people, and adults to develop their talents, but also at integrating socially disadvantaged people. Furthermore, they shall promote volunteer work, and give unemployed people and students responsibility and the opportunity for further education.