During the 2018-2019 school year, we worked with a class of 26 students from the Istituto Geometri di Monza to implement the Mo.Bi.Scuo.La project.
The training initiative is part of funding provided under the 2018 Environmental Connection to promote alternative forms of mobility to the car in home-to-school and home-to-work travel.
The project was carried out in collaboration with FIAB Onlus and the City of Monza and was an incredible opportunity to engage with young people about to get a driver’s license in a sort of highly successful sociological experiment.
We started with a couple of documentaries, discussed in class: the first on climate change (“Before the Flood “-“Point of No Return” by Fisher Stevens with Leonardo Di Caprio) and one on the relationship between cars and bikes in cities (“Bike Vs Cars” by Fredrik Gertten).
We then did a workshop to think about and hypothesize a communication campaign to be dedicated to the City of Monza on proper driving styles and road safety.
The following is one of the 6 creations made, the others can be found in the slideshow at the bottom of the page:
Group outing in the Monza area.
The first outing on the territory was in wheelchairs: we rented 26 wheelchairs and let them experience the route they usually take to school in a new way. The initiative had the effect of making children think about the quality of public space.
The entire outing was filmed to make a video:
At two other meetings, we presented them with European best practices in sustainable and active mobility, with a focus aimed at bicycle infrastructure. And we brought a traffic psychologist into the classroom who addressed with them the topics of space perception, distraction, and alcohol/drug driving.
The second outing was devoted to surveys of vehicular traffic in the vicinity of the educational institution.
With a laser gun we measured speeds in front of schools (peaks of 74 km/h in the middle of the afternoon) and with meters we checked how many people were using cell phones while driving (13% on two different streets), the occupancy rate of cars.
Educational trip to Freiburg.
The class participated in a three-day educational trip to the city of Freiburg, Germany’s green capital, where sustainable mobility is fostered through an efficient public transportation system and a widespread network of bicycle routes.
The educational trip focused in particular on the urban planning choices of the downtown and residential neighborhoods of Vauban and Rieselfeld where residents can enjoy an abundance of public spaces for conviviality and play thanks to streets where space is taken away from cars and given back to citizens.
The week following the field trip, we took the children to ride the bicycle infrastructure in Monza to assess its quality and safety level. We concluded with a workshop on the arrogance of space and a questionnaire for an assessment of students’ perception of the streets and the Mo.Bi.Scuo.La project as a whole.