5 September, Youth in the Cluj Development Strategy 2014-2021


488 days left, and the party is on on developing the Development Strategy of Cluj-Napoca for 2014-2021. Where is the place of youth in this question?  That’s the question to be answered until December 2013.

Why 2021 instead of 2020?

As you may already know, Cluj will bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2021, this is the other major specific milestone of the new strategic period. The European Capital of Culture can become  a result of every action which is taken based on this newly developed general strategy.

What we still lack is vision

Although the youth sector doesn’t have the role of forming the vision of the city, any vision should be set for 2040 or 2050 (long term in any case). But if it’s a long term vision then it is about today’s youth as a direct beneficiary. Until now, nobody managed to create a long term vision in Romania, so Cluj might be a pioneer (again) in creating a vision for the second largest city of Romania.

Generations in the strategy

What we propose is to set targets and objectives, which are also based on age. We identify four different groups based on this characteristic:

  • PULSE Generation: people born before 1980, who had some relation with the communist period, they felt it, or if they were young, have some kind of memories from this period. This generation gives the core leadership of key institutions, companies, organizations in Cluj.
  • SHAPE Generation: people born between 1980-1989, who are the key power of how the city now develops. They grew up in a period when the new society wasn’t yet settled, this is why most of them had a role in forming a new perception about how life, development directions should look like. They should be the most important target group in creating the institutional, participatory forms of work and cooperation that implements the Development Plan for 2014-2021.
  • SHARE Generation: they are today’s most important youth category. They have nothing to do with the former communist period, their socialization started when Internet and then the virtual world started to emerge. This generation is very open to new, „hi-tech” approaches, but their education happened in a more consolidated (but still changing) surrounding. They should be the key target group of the most important driving tools of development.
  • Millenium (or 2000+) Generation: they are the most important target group of the Vision of Cluj-Napoca 2050. This generation will be the driving force of the city in 2050, they will live in the Cluj we envision today on a long term.

What is the European Youth Capital 2015 in this context?

This is one of the key operational questions in forming the strategy for 2014-2021. It is a fact: Cluj-Napoca is the European Youth Capital in 2015 and this title already generated new, innovative forms of cooperation that will evolve further during the preparation years and the capital year itself.

Youth as a temporary priority…

There are two possible approaches, our team is not decided on what the best one is. Youth and the unusually large number of inhabitants below 35 years in Cluj is a comparative advantage if it is possible to put this in value in the development processes. Taking into account the general census of 2011 and the statistics of the academic institutions from Cluj we already concluded that about 51,5% of the inhabitants during the academic year are aged below 35%, a rather unusual proportion compared to other cities with approximately the same demographic characteristics.

The European Youth Capital 2015 in a development strategy for 2014-2021 is a stage, not an objective itself. But the question is there: how can this specific youth-related situation be used by another activity sector in achieving their own goals in this strategic period?

The two approaches are the following:

  1. Youth should be considered as a temporary main priority only for a single period (only until 2021). This period should have the role to set the role of youth in every other area, sector. This approach means using youth as a vertical priority and results in processes, specific forms of activities
  2. Youth should be considered as a horizontal priority for a longer term. This is possible on the presumption that the intensity of academic activities remains the same or even grows in the next decades. It is a fact, students arriving from outside the city gives a permanent refreshment in every aspect of life.

What we will do…

We will work on our own priorities that are set in the Youth@Cluj-Napoca 2015 Programme. However, the strategy is more than just the programme. The youth capital will have the role to generate a lot of processes that can be consolidated in the aftermath (or the impact monitoring period of) 2016-2018.

We imagine the strategic period…

  • 2013: ending strategic planning and envisioning Cluj through the European Youth Capital
  • 2014: planning the most important, major programme in the youth field having connections with the other 24 activity sectors and topics included in the Cluj-Napoca Development Plan for 2014-2021.
  • 2015: the reference year from the youth sector’s point of view.
  • 2016-2018: monitoring the impact of the main intervention concerning youth and monitoring the impact of the capital programme on every activity sector.
  • 2019: a final assessment on what the European Youth Capital programme generated as internal processes, cross-sectoral cooperation, etc.
  • 2020-2021: Cluj will be the European Capital of Culture in 2021: in this case youth should be probably a key pillar of the capital programme. It is also the final stage of the strategic period. If the city will not be selected as the European Capital of Culture, this period should mean the consolidation of the results and planning the next period, either with youth as key horizontal priority (see version B of the general approach on youth) or in a more simple way, as a specific aspect of other sectors, but only monitored (see version A).

Follow the strategy development…

CMPG.RO,  this is the webpage where you can follow all the development process that will result in the general Development Strategy of Cluj-Napoca for 2014-2021.