Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - SHARINGSPACE (intercultural cities and collective space)

International migration is increasingly an urban phenomenon with public space being where encounter, competition and conflict of individuals, groups and communities become most evident. .SharingSpace has been conceived as a project to promote an inter-disciplinary and cross-national approach to the analysis of public space in the more and more diverse cities of the North as well as of the global South. The activities carried out by SharingSpace have channeled the work of the partner research centers on the issue of public space and social cohesion in the framework of rapidly increasing international migration. Through SharingSpace, the researchers involved have significantly enhanced their understanding of the nexus between international migrants and urban space in the two European cities involved in the project (Venice and Lisbon), as well as in the three TCs participating cities (Johannesburg, Mexico City and Buenos Aires). In addition, the public events carried out at the different stages of the project and in the different cities have contributed to raising the awareness of a public audience much larger than the researchers themselves.

As part of the activities carried out by SharingSpace, several conferences and seminars were organized with academics, policy-makers, practitioners and the civil society at large in all the cities “involved” in the project to debate on the crucial role public space plays in shaping the sense of belonging and citizenship of urban residents. Academic lectures were also delivered to graduate, Master and PhD students to discuss in depth the place public space plays in making contemporary cities more (or less) inclusive in front of the increasing presence of different cultures.

SharingSpace has raised great interest among early stage and experienced researchers affiliated to the partner institutions. The visiting slots - initially planned to last three months for each participant – at the request of the partner institutions were split among more than one person so as to extend the benefits accruing from the international exchange scheme to a larger number of researchers, with a well balanced gender distribution (50% female; 50% male). The scientific exchange and transfer of knowledge opportunity provided by the Project was exponentially enlarged, and the ideas and plans for further collaborations multiplied. In the course of the project a total of 30 researchers with different disciplinary backgrounds were seconded to partner institutions, giving the research work multifaceted perspectives on the topic of public space and migrants

During their visiting periods, seconded scholars shared their research methodologies and approaches with their colleagues in the host institutions, triggering mutual enhancement of theoretical and methodological skills and operational tools to analyse the complexity of contemporary migration processes. In addition, the institutions that hosted SharingSpace fellows engaged the visiting researchers in site visits and meetings with municipal departments and local actors, providing them with the opportunity of experiencing on the ground innovative approaches to the issue.

The project activities and research results have been widely disseminated not only within the academic community, but also throughout the civil society. The meetings mentioned above and several articles appeared in local newspapers have helped making public space a more central issue in the urban debate. Pushed by the debate spurred by the project, in several cases decision makers have benefitted from the research activities, namely Buenos Aires, Lisbon, Mexico City and Lisbon, where meetings were held among local decision-makers and researchers from SharingSpace.

The comparative perspective adopted by the project contributed to contribute to a better understanding of the characters of international migration, the factors shaping migration policies in the different cities under analysis and the main issues at stake in dealing with the phenomenon. In fact, each city presents specific conditions that affect the type of actions they can undertake. Through the project the researchers from SharingSpace had the opportunity to look at the different policies adopted and to investigate their effectiveness, particularly so since, due to their role within the relevant national system of urban centers, Lisbon and Venice (metropolitan area) have met with most of the international migration predicaments Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Johannesburg are doomed to experience. Though not mechanically transferable, the fact that two European cities involved belong to countries (Italy and Portugal) that have gone through a rapid shift from being countries of origin to countries of origin as well as transit and destination, made them cases particularly interesting to investigate on how public space is managed.

SharingSpace contributed to create an effective international exchange of good practices on urban. Through the stronger links it helped to establish among the participating institutions as well as other stakeholders, it promoted the transfer of knowledge as well as greater interaction among different disciplinary backgrounds.

Finally, several researchers involved in the project have published scientific articles in the SSIIM Paper Series and/or in other publications, as a result of their research work carried out in the framework of SharingSpace.

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