Students from IÉSEG’s Master in Management for Sustainability take part in the “Grand Hackathon Urbain” 

On November 24 and 25, Master in Management for Sustainability students met at Plaines Images, in Tourcoing (near Lille, North of France), to take part in the “Grand Hackathon Urbain” – an hackathon organized by Linkcity and Impact Campus. Nearly 300 students from IÉSEG, the University of Lille and IAE Lille worked for 36 hours to reinvent the places that will make the city of tomorrow a vibrant place to live. 

Divided into teams, the students had to complete, under tight deadlines, an enriching collective creativity challenge, involving the rehabilitation and reflection on the uses of three sites in the Lille area: the Cité Administrative, the Plaine des Possibles and the Usine Lepoutre. Mentored by architects, project developers and sustainable development experts, they were challenged to think of ways to revitalize the city through positive-impact entrepreneurial projects. 

This hackathon offered an interesting learning opportunity for the students of the Master in Management for Sustainability where they could apply a variety of the things they learned in courses such as systems change, climate policy or leading and governing for sustainability, and apply this in a real-world context. The teams were planned to be mixed between students of IESEG and other participating schools, such as IAE and ULille.
One of the teams with IÉSEG students made it to the finals, proposing a plan to develop a project to stimulate the circular economy in the MEL area. The other teams worked on projects focusing on vertical farming, co-living spaces for elderly and students, and an urban garden hub. An engaging, stimulating experience!

Frank DE BAKKER, Academic Director of the Master in Management for Sustainability

An opinion shared by Anu OLANREWAJU, one of the students of the Master who took part in this event.

At first, I was a bit skeptical. It was going to be a 2-day boot camp hackathon, but it was an experience that would be a reference point in my learning journey! My first experience participating in a boot camp hackathon was collaborating and working with some fellow student from different schools I had never met. It took me out of my comfort zone. I learned about possibilities and creativity in diversity – from the ideation phase of brainstorming ideas for the “Usine Lepoutre” project to sorting and selecting the final idea to designing a prototype, is something to be proud of.
I worked on the project in a team of six with different academic backgrounds. As a student in the Master in Management for Sustainability, I brought in my sustainability knowledge by proposing urban (hydroponic) farming and upcycling as ideas for sustainable methods to improve the building’s economic, environmental, and social impact. At the same time, the community was put at the center of the project.
Over the intensive two days, the collaborative spirit was palpable as we tackled real-life urban challenges, blending innovative ideas with practical solutions. The experience broadened my perspective on urban planning and underscored the immense potential of collective creativity in shaping sustainable and resilient cities for generations to come.
If you wonder whether to join a boot camp hackathon or not, just go for it! Having to ideate from scratch within two days, from planning to execution and working with others, is a valuable experience relevant to your program journey.

Anu OLANREWAJU, IÉSEG student of the Master in Management for Sustainability

The winning projects perfectly illustrate the richness of the students’ ideas during these 36 hours. Thus, the winning students working on the ‘Cité Administrative’ imagined a “Tour des Saveurs” to promote urban and local agriculture by highlighting local products, while raising awareness among the population about food and promoting direct purchasing to producers. Those working on the ‘Plaine des Possibles‘ proposed “Stud’Ant”, a self-managed, sustainable and social student residence, which unites students and farmers. Finally, for Usine Lepoutre, it was the concept of a space for integration or reintegration through sport that appealed most to the jury. The team’s desire was to make the factory a space where men and women, young and old, but also people with disabilities or convalescents could “get moving again” and create something new:. connection through sporting activities. 

Erik REYES, also a student of the Master in Management for Sustainability at IÉSEG, concludes that way.

Sustainability requires not only discipline and understanding of the grand challenges we face in society today, but also a heart and a sense of justice and intersectionality. For future generations of students that might see these activities as only mandatory, I beg you not to — it is through hard work and real-life practice that we get closer to both the issues we will have to deal with as well as to the people we’ll work with. µ
In my case, I had the opportunity to work exclusively with people I already knew. But somehow, they were like new people to me as I had to work with them in a professional setting, under pressure and not “just” for a grade.
It was as tiring as it was rewarding and I’m pleased with this experience. We were taken seriously, we were advised by experts and we put a lot of our acquired knowledge into practice.

Erik REYES, IÉSEG student of the Master in Management for Sustainability
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