Digital Cities & Citizens

Sustainable thinking for younger ones is central for us

Caroline Wendt
August 9, 2021

Unga smarta byar (Young Smart Villages) is an association in Veberöd that was started to harness young people’s ideas about technology and sustainability. The membership is of course free of charge for all under age 25. During spring time members were able to try to design their own toys with help of a 3D printer. The association works broadly with sustainability – from analysing the water in Veberödsbacken to presenting at a European fair on rural development.

Creating a sustainable society is important for many people but particularly for the younger generation. Therefore, Unga Smarta Byar (Young Smart Villages) was initiated, a spinoff of Smarta Byar (Smart Villages) in Veberöd, where modern technology is used to crate social, economic and ecological sustainability.

– One often talks about that society has to adapt to the young ones, but I think developments often run past children, says the associations Chairwomen Linn Malmgren. Sustainability thinking for the young is central for us and we have started the association to let children and the young come into the adult room. Of course, children should be a part of the smart and sustainable society.

Smarta byars offices in Veberöd are equipped with 3D printers. A drawing suffices to print out different objects. In spring 2021, they tested printing out toys, for example a helicopter, to get kids interested in becoming part of the association. Luckily, the idea worked and a group of children even designed their own driving models as a result.

– We want to be flexible in our place so that it can fit as many as possible to work here, explains Linn. The place should be an open environment where children can come and learn. We want to attract more younger people and we will try invite them here through the community youth center.

An association for young people that wants to create sustainability is also interesting for adults. Linn Malmgren was invited to talk during a workshop at ”Rural Vision Week”, a digital fair organized by the European Network for Rural Development, and financed by the EU-Commission. Linn talked about digitalisation as an interesting tool that can be used to solve challenges in rural development without sacrificing the village vibe and the advantages that come with living in the countryside.

As the name suggests the focus of discussion during the Future & Welfare 2020 was the wellbeing. There was a strong interest which mirrored in the participation of municipal representatives from all over Sweden. Linn took part as well and informed about the work they are doing to get children interested in sustainability issues and how young people helped to analyse the water quality in Veberödsbäcken.

The youngsters helped analysing the water of a stream during summer 2020. Through measuring contamination levels at points before and after the village the children could get an idea of how Veberöds community influenced the water course.

– It showed that it was approximately the same values before and after, says Linn. There were certain increases which can be due to tire deposits and cultivation residues but the values increase was small.

During the corona pandemic the association also printed masks for the health care sector and sent surplus masks to people in need in Nepal.

Translated by Christin Scheller


More to read