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Reducing Boundaries

Final Report Summary - REDUCING BOUNDARIES (Reducing Boundaries)

Reducing Boundaries has fully accomplished to the general objective of understanding and comparing strategies and interventions for securing private and public spaces in different key case studies (Porto Alegre-Canoas, Brussels and the Veneto Region) through public policies and self-made interventions.
The joint program has aimed at highlighting how a sense of ‘safety’ and ‘security’ is perceived and reproduced by upper classes and how it modifies the urban territory.
On the one hand, we achieved it detecting prejudices in the perception of risk and safety and on the other hand we successfully aimed to make specific urban trends ‘recognizable’ and ‘manageable’ by local institutions. We also reached the point of focusing on the different strategies (from material to immaterial) of appropriation and defence of space that the higher classes have developed in order to create a secure, comfortable environment for them, their families and businesses.

The following methodology has been adopted in order to accomplish to the research goals:
• preliminary discussion on comparable/consistent parameters;
• development of fieldworks according to the declared objectives. This included meetings and interviews to key local actors and experts (scholars as well as civil servants), gathering of appropriate data sets;
• detection and selection of specific gentrified city areas, in order to concentrate activities on them;
• bibliographic research and study of selected specific references.
Finally, the research group is still elaborating a serie of texts, visual essays, maps, drawings on the three case studies. Part of the material is available on the website another part will be conveyed in a book dedicated to the research final results. A series of conferences, workshops and lectures held by the research members has helped in focussing on the different aspects of the project, during the whole work frame.

At its final stage of accomplishment, the research is contributing to the studies aiming at ensuring security and freedom in European cities (within and across national borders) despite general phenomena such as the growing economic gap among social classes, ageing, inequalities and migration flows, the digital divide, that tend to increase social exclusion and poverty.
Among others, the following aims have been successfully reached:
• Exchange and international networks: The research has contributed to enhance the internationalization both of the involved academic institutions (including partners and other contacts in the academic world mobilized during the project activities) and urban stakeholders
• Effectiveness interactions within the "knowledge triangle" (education, research and innovation) amongst the partners and collaborating institutions
• Comparative perspective: Learning from different contexts facing similar challenge proved to be fundamental to achieve a global perspective Through cross-national comparative research embracing Italy, Belgium and Brazil, the Project contributed to advance the knowledge base that underpins the formulation and implementation of policies regarding the construction of defensive devices (spatial, technological etc.) in urban contexts both at local and global level. Comparing the two EU case studies with Porto Alegre and Canoas - where the growing economy and the rising of the middle class is imposing new urban mechanisms of exclusion and defence - is key to understand better the driving forces of global interactions and interdependencies, the relations between world regions, the factors shaping different policies and the possible forward looking perspectives at the urban level.
• Skills development and support for researchers For EU researchers, getting in touch with non-European perspectives, has added scientific excellence to their cultural and professional experience
• Dissemination, dialogue and support: The cooperation and coordination has aimed at providing a clear added value and is still active in optimizing the dissemination of the findings, the circulation and transfer of scientific knowledge.