Local Community Centers | Opið samtal

How can we create a platform to combat loneliness and social isolation? How are places that connect people? Changes have been made to social services for elderly in the last years. The centers have been developing more into community centers for all age groups by Þjónustumiðstöð Vesturbæjar, Miðborgar og Hlíða. The cultural programming is also getting more diverse and attracting a broader group of participants. Like the library, the aim of the community centers is to create an accessible platform for all to become active members of the community.

Sigríður Arndís Jóhannsdóttir, Drífa Baldursdóttir and Sirí Gísladóttir took part in an open conversation about the development of the community centers. Those are now located in Vitatorg, Aflagranda 40 and Bólastaðahlíð 43. They are constantly creating new connections with partners, who would like to use the space in a different way to connect better with the local community.  It takes time to change our perception of places. It might still take many by surprise that at the library you do not have to be silent, here you find a makerspace, different activities, events and clubs.

Open spaces for all is the name of the policy of the Reykjavík city library. We share the goal with the community centers of becoming a platform where people simply be as they are and need no justification for being here or a have a certain background. We would like experts in all fields of life to use the space to interact with their partners and clients in an environment that supports equity in access to service and information. The first step is to open up by showing what is inside - open the curtains.  Next step is to get people to take a step inside, those who would not think it was a place for them. Only then, we can start to create new ways to connect people. And then we have to ask ourselves, what are the deciding factors that make people want to share a space and generate some sort of ownership in it? Is it good food, attractive café environment or a certain common interest that attracts? 

Thank you for taking part in the discussion. We are open to new ideas on how to create a platform for active citizenship and democratic discussions. 

What is Opið samtal? A conversation platform for an open discussion about issues relating to rights, active citizenship and equity in access to society.

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Further information
Dögg Sigmarsdóttir
Project manager | Civic Participation

UpdatedWednesday October 26th 2022, 10:47