Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Social innovation and urban revitalization in hyperdiverse local societies

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - NEIGHBOURCHANGE (Social innovation and urban revitalization in hyperdiverse local societies)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2019-05-01 do 2020-04-30

In and beyond Europe today we witness strengthened structural spatial divisions within city neighbourhoods, with increased inequality and sharper lines of division. Neighbourhoods are increasingly diverse in socio-economic, social and ethnic terms, but many differences also exist in lifestyles, attitudes and activities. Continuing immigration and increasing socio-economic and ethnic concentration in neighbourhoods question social cohesion in local societies worldwide.

In Europe, high rates of unemployment, austerity and poverty make diverse neighbourhoods and local societies increasingly complex and contested. The polarisation of urban space exacerbates and ethnic concentration in neighbourhoods overlaps with situations of social exclusion and deprivation.

Against this backdrop, we witness a stalled urban regeneration investment as well as the welfare state provisions across many European cities and disadvantaged neighbourhoods,

with finance enormously inhibited outside core economic areas following the 2007 financial crisis; more importantly, dissimilar top-down revitalisation strategies have resulted in new urban dynamics and urban tensions, gentrification processes and social exclusion.

In this context, urban neighbourhoods have become a privileged unit of policy intervention where community-based initiatives have been experimented with the aim to produce social cohesion and transforming power relations and socio-spatial inequalities. Social innovation has become a buzzword often associated to community-led regeneration processes.

But the efficacy of community-based initiatives inspired by a social innovative approach needs to be further assessed in a condition when the State is constantly retreating.

Given this backdrop, the aim of the project is to investigate whether and how area-based programs inspired by an innovative social approach targeting deprived and hyperdiverse neighbourhoods can intervene on increasing socio-spatial inequalities at the same time promoting institutional learning.
Results achieved so far:

- a literature review on the project topics has been collected and analyzed
- Toronto case study has been accomplished to assess the social and spatial effects of community-based interventions
- Barcelona case study has been accomplished to assess the social and spatial effects of community-based interventions
- a method to assess the capacity of local governments to learn from the innovativeness of community based interventions has been theorized
- 6 publications have been released to spread the project's findings to the academic community
- 2 international conferences has been organized to target the academic community
- 1 policy workshop has been organized to target policy makers and practitioners
- 15 conferences has been attended to spread the Project results
- 1 international scholarship has been awareded
- 2 action-research has been experimented in the City of Padua
- the NEIGHBOURCHANGE's website is on line and constantly updated
- NEIGHBOURCHANGE Project has participated to 10 dissemination events to reach a wider audience that academics and policy makers
- NEIGHBOURCHANGE Poject has collaboated with other 3 EU-funded pojects
- the circulation of good practices among different contexts as well as the transfer of knowledge to other research settings and domains has been fostered
Up to know the Project has advanced the state-of-the-art on the following research questions:

Governance innovation/institutional learning
Public institutions in Europe are increasingly challenged to find new ways to provide public value in an open, transparent way. In a growing number of small and large cities across Europe, citizens are engaged and mobilized in neighboourhood to demonstrate their ability in creating new solutions to respond to emergent needs. NEIGHBOURCHANGE will look at how local institutions change their governance frameworks as well as functioning being confronted with community based initiatives and with the impact of the welfare state constraints in the provision of urban services. The Project will also look at how community based organizations’ action change, being confronted with changing institutions and social needs.

Socio-spatial inequalities
Whether and how community-based initiatives inspired by an innovative social approach targeting deprived neighbourhoods can intervene on increasing socio-spatial inequalities; on which elements should be based the evaluation of their impact.
Citizen-driven innovation increases the possibilities for a broader range of people to become directly involved in all stages of social action, but social and spatial barriers are strongly preventing community participation of most vulnerable groups, particularly in those contexts affected by socio-economic and ethnic differences. NEIGHBOURCHANGE aims at look into the inclusion/exclusion dynamics, focusing on the elements that can promote more inclusive strategies of co-creation and positively intervene on socio-spatial inequalities.

As a consequence, the Project has up to now contributed to the production of knowledge with a wider societal implication on the 3rd Priority of Horizon 2020 ‘Tackling societal challenges for a better society' and with the specific objective ‘Inclusive innovation and secure societies'. Knowledge is continuously shared with academics, policy makers and practitioners but also society at large. Beside 500 people belonging to the academic community, the dissemination activity has reached 1600 people among the general public and the civil society as well as 50 policy makers from different cities in Europe and outside.
Neighbourhood based practices
Neighbourhood based policies and social innovation
Socio-spatial inequalities
Project rationale