4. The Local Hub for learning and doing: place as a cross-connector

In the UEL project, a local hub can be an underused building or a shop with space for both university activities such as workshops and local activities such as public meetings. The Hubs can be described as “embassies” of the universities/educational institutions. They are locally embedded to get a deep understanding of the communities’ concerns, so that even smaller interventions can have a long-term impact.
Hubs allow for the fundamental urban dynamic of the unplanned encounter. People can take part in their activities with different levels of commitment (not only communities or associations). Local presence allows for spontaneous and improvised actions or situations to happen, giving students a chance not only to study the dynamics of the city but also be an active part of it. The Hub is ‘nomadic’, and after 2-3 years it moves on to a new location. Yet, the new UEL online tool strengthens and creates new networks of engaged citizens.