NEB ambition

The ultimate ambition of the New European Bauhaus is to achieve transformation. To do this, the NEB Compass has identified specific levels of ambition that outline the desired outcomes for each of the NEB values.

Action areas

These areas refer to the five key domains of intervention that CrAFt's New European Bauhaus Impact Model considers essential for guiding and evaluating complex urban initiatives.

Participation level

The participation level refers to the degree or extent to which individuals or groups are actively involved or engaged in a particular activity, project, or process. It assesses the depth of their involvement, contributions, and commitment, ranging from minimal or passive participation to active and dedicated participation.

NEB values

The New European Bauhaus (NEB) aims to promote the values of sustainability, aesthetics, and inclusion in the design and transformation of urban spaces. It emphasises the integration of environmental, social, and economic considerations to create harmonious and innovative living environments.

Implementation Stage

According to the Smart City Guidance Package, there are seven stages to plan and implement smart city projects. These stages propose a logical and coherent roadmap for city initiatives involving many stakeholders.

Student perspectives on enhancing vibrancy and inclusivity

This double interview delves into Matilde’s and A'mina’s insights on Bologna's cultural landscape, their experiences with the transformative urban space DumBO, and their perspectives on enhancing its vibrancy and inclusivity.


  • Urban Regeneration Potential: Matilde and A'mina recognise DumBO as a key urban regeneration project in Bologna, noting its transformation and multifunctional nature. However, they also acknowledge that further development is needed for it to reach its full potential.
  • Underuse and Accessibility Issues: Both Matilde and A'mina express concerns about DumBO's underutilization, citing its lack of consistent visitors outside of events. They highlight accessibility challenges, such as its location outside the city center and limited public transport options, as contributing factors. High prices for food and drinks also deter visitors, particularly students.
  • Improvement Suggestions: Drawing from their CrAFt project involvement, Matilde and A'mina propose integrating intergenerational activities and green spaces into DumBO to enhance its appeal. They advocate for fostering connections between different age groups and creating a more vibrant environment conducive to learning and community engagement.

Matilde and A’mina are two dynamic 22-year-old students studying Architecture and Engineering in the city of Bologna. Matilde, an Italian with a thirst for global exploration, and A’mina, hailing from a multicultural background, share a passion for learning and creativity.

As members of CrAFt’s Core Group of Students, they played pivotal roles in fostering student engagement across 60 cities.

What is your name?

  • MATILDE: Hi! It’s Matilde here!

  • A’MINA: And here’s A’mina!

Describe in short yourself and what you do in your life:

  • MATILDE: I’m 22 years old and currently studying Architecture and Engineering. I consider myself an authentic Italian, but I am curious about what else the world has to offer. I love learning new things every day, sharing ideas with people around me, and participating in all sorts of activities where creativity is needed.

  • A’MINA: I’m also 22 years old and studying construction engineering and architecture in Bologna. I grew up in a multicultural family, from which I inherited a love for learning about new cultures. I am also passionate about art, literature, music and photography.

What’s your role in the craft program?

  • MATILDE: I’m part of CrAFt’s Core Group of Students, a group of 8 students and 2 coaches responsible for proposing participatory models and setting up mechanisms to engage other students across 60 CrAFt cities.

  • A’MINA: Same here! We also organise our own interdisciplinary student events, like the one we had in Manchester and the one we had in Amsterdam.

As both of you live in Bologna, how’s the city?

  • MATILDE: I’ve been living in Bologna for the past four years, and I like this city so much! It is not too big, and everything can be reached quickly. At the same time, there is a large and bustling student community that provides great opportunities to socialise and make new friends, and there are tons of experiences you can live and enjoy. 

  • A’MINA: I’ve lived here for 5 years and immediately fell in love with it! It’s full of opportunities for young people and art and musical events in all possible and imaginable genres!

What are the places you live the most in the city and why?

  • MATILDE: Unfortunately, the place I live the most in is the classroom of the university I study in. But outside that, I spend the most time in the city centre, mostly enjoying the city with my friends. When I have the time, I also love going to parks like Giardini Margherita or Parco della Certosa to get some fresh air and study outside.

  • A’MINA: I frequent cultural clubs a lot, mainly because they offer the possibility of attending live music in the evening, in peace, while sipping a drink in company.

Have you heard about DumBO? 

  • MATILDE: Yes! It’s a critical study case for Bologna’s urban regeneration! I heard it used to be the main train station in Bologna to exchange goods, but now I know it has been transformed into a new space where quite a few events are happening.

  • A’MINA: The old hangars have been used as flexible spaces that can be modified as needed. They usually host large concerts, vintage fairs, or exhibitions. In addition to the exhibition spaces, the complex currently hosts bars, a study room, coworking spaces, and various small businesses, most of which are in collaboration with the Bologna Attiva association.

Have you ever been there, and if so, what have you been there for?

  • MATILDE: I’ve been there only twice, and not actually to experience the place myself but mostly to see how it is, how it has been transformed from a station to a place to live inside the city! Can’t wait to be able to go there to live in this space and enjoy one of the events!

  • A’MINA: To tell the truth, I often frequent it, especially in the summer. I have been to many concerts and vintage fairs, such as Vinokilo. It is a market for used clothes that is purchased by weight, and I saw that it is also present in other European cities. Among the most famous concerts is the Robot Festival, a techno music event held in October.

What are your thoughts about this place? 

  • MATILDE: I’ve appreciated how spaces have been rethought and resized, but right from the entrance, I felt that the place still needed to be finished and that there’s still work to do to complete the transformation. The space is enormous and super convenient for the city, and it gives a nice industrial feeling inside with colourful and renewed buildings. Yet, both times I visited, there was no one there.

  • A’MINA: It’s a place with huge potential but not being used to its full potential. During the day, it is rare to see people there unless there is a particular event, which is a shame, as there would be many spaces that can be used at any time. Perhaps one reason that prevents people from going there is the distance from the centre. Let me explain better: the complex is located outside the city centre’s walls, while life mainly takes place within them. The fact is that, in the centre, the distances to travel are minimal and therefore more easily reachable. I pointed out how much I frequent DumBO, mainly during the summer season: during the winter, it is cold, and to get there, you would have to take public transport. Still, there are few connections, especially during the night hours. Another problem could be the excessive prices of food and drinks… However, as there are few restaurants, there is no competition,,, so they can afford to keep prices high. In this way, however, users are not encouraged to spend an evening there (especially students).

Could these spaces be part of an exciting study case?

  • MATILDE: Of course! It’s a place with a lot of potential that should be explored. Understanding how people feel and live in the place is essential to implementing the services, facilities, and activities and increasing its attractiveness.

  • A’MINA: Absolutely yes! It would be exciting to understand how to reconcile the life of all age groups within the complex so that it does not remain a mere sterile place but is always full of activity and life, which can be as inclusive as possible.

Considering your work in the Craft project, what suggestions can you provide to improve the Dumbo spaces?

  • MATILDE: In our experience as part of the core group of students, we had the opportunity to develop two fundamental topics regarding urban regeneration: Intergenerationality and green spaces by gardening. Both topics could play a leading role in rethinking these spaces in the future to make them more enjoyable and liveable.

  • A’MINA: Exactly as I mentioned before, intergenerationality could be a strong point of the place. For example, activities could be organised to connect young and old through learning crafts such as sewing, gardening, or anything that can be taught by someone with more experience. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the older one teaching the younger one!

Written by A’mina Santina and Matilde Gardini
Copy editing by Jose Rodriguez
Photography by 

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NEB Values

Participation level

Implementation stage

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