Urban Mobility Labs in Schools as a "Game Changer" for the European Green Deal - Experiences from the Horizon 2020 project Shared Green Deal


  • Nadine Haufe TU Wien, Institute of Spatial Planning, Centre for Sociology


mobility lab, Co-Creation, schools, young people, European Green Deal




EU countries are committed to achieving climate neutrality by 2050. The European Green Deal is the EU's strategy for achieving the 2050 target. The Green Deal is not simply a set of technical ambitions, it also seeks to fundamentally societal transformations and support behavioural changes (EC 2019).

In light of pressing challenges such as climate change, real-life, participatory, adaptive, and reflexive experimental interventions are described as indispensable incubators for transformative change towards climate neutrality (Harderer et al. 2023). The EU funded Horizon 2020 project SHARED GREEN DEAL-- "Social Sciences & Humanities for Achieving a Responsible, Equitable and Desirable GREEN DEAL" focuses on the societal changes needed to make the EU Green Deal a reality. By providing Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) tools, SHARED GREEN DEAL aims to stimulate actions in different Green Deal fields (Clean Energy, Circular Economy, Efficient Renovations, Sustainable Food, Preserving Biodiversity, Sustainable Mobility) with social experiments across Europe to support the implementation of the EU Green Deal policy, at the local and regional level.

Transport emissions represent around 25% of the EU's total greenhouse gas emissions and urban mobility has been singled out as a key focus area for the European Green Deal through its mission to have Europe be climate neutral by 2050 (EC 2020). A number of studies show that in Europe, even in cities, children are still being driven to school by carers to a high degree rather than independently travel to school by more sustainable modes (e.g. Fyhri et al. 2011). his not only results in lost health benefits for school children and increased dependency of children on their carers, but also leads to more car traffic around schools and in the mobility system in general (e.g. Waygood et al. 2017; EC 2021). School-related mobility is an important driver of children and young people’s learned mobility behaviours. However, schools also bring together different people from the wider community and are thus excellent ‘hubs’ for collective change (Horelli 1998). Therefore, the EU-funded Horizon 2020 project SHARED GREEN DEAL supported the creation of ‘Urban Mobility Labs’ in the context of schools to accelerate the shift towards sustainable school mobility.

As part of the Shared Green Deal project, Mobility Labs within schools were implemented in 4 European cities - Sofia (Bulgaria) and Panevezys (Lithuania), Braga (Portugal) and Galway (Ireland), each involving the participation of young people (aged 10-16) from 3 different schools and professionals (including teachers; school administration; municipality). To facilitate collective learning and co-creation, age-appropriate and actor-specific activities (e.g. workshops, excursions, online tools, games) were used to understand current mobility practices and to assess opportunities for change. Each mobility lab co-created context-specific solutions (e.g. games, exhibitions, education material) to raise awareness, supported acceptance to sustainable mobility around schools. Each mobility lab formulated also policy recommendations for travel to school strategies and thereby foster representation of young people in policy making.

This contribution discusses the experiences and outcomes of co-creating urban mobility solutions with future generations and implementing 'Urban Mobility Labs' in the context of schools for the shift to sustainable school mobility. It also discusses the potential impact of Urban Mobility Labs in schools on the social transition and the Green Deal target of climate neutrality by 2050.


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