Community-based urban security

Edited on 09/01/2024

Project proposal by

  • Institution : Municipality of Torino
  • City : Torino
  • Country : Italy
  • Type of region : More developed
  • Population : 861 636

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To-Nite is a project on urban inclusion that seeks to develop multidisciplinary solutions to manage public spaces and improve residents’ perception of safety at night. This project is based on an inclusive approach involving local communities and stakeholders and fostering social innovation and urban regeneration to promote urban security. To-Nite focuses on several neighbourhoods of Torino (Turin, Italy), situated near the Dora River.


The project encompasses research, analysis, participatory activities and co-designed actions with the objective of designing interventions on these neighbourhoods’ public spaces in a collaborative way. To-Nite offers local stakeholders technical and financial support to create new services that have a positive social impact, with a particular focus on evening and night-time activities.


What SOLUTIONS did the Urban Innovative Action project offer?


To-Nite aims to deliver community-based urban security through community activation and technology-based social sensing. According to the approach of To-Nite, the liveability of an area is closely related to the perception of safety. A neighbourhood is perceived as safe when it is socially cohesive, with active social facilities even in the evening, and vibrant public spaces that the community cares for. To-Nite has promoted interventions aimed at increasing the perception of safety through the regeneration of public spaces that provide new gathering places for the community. 


Through a UIA call for proposals, a widespread network has been activated, to generate a positive impact on the territory through the participation of local communities, with the ultimate goal of improving the perception of safety and the liveability of public spaces, especially at night. 19 projects conducted by partnerships involving 57 local actors, including non-profit organisations, schools and universities were funded.


What DIFFERENCE has it made at local level?


Three urban regeneration interventions were completed. The first one redeveloped the urban space of Viale Ottavio Mai, transforming it into an accessible avenue for pedestrians and cyclists. The second concerned the Giardino Pellegrino, with the installation of new street furniture elements and new play equipment in the children's area. The third intervention focused on the public space along the banks of the Dora River, where multifunctional street furniture was installed, a landmark for the Lungo Dora, which combines seating, lighting and signage of significant places in the area. 


Over 2 200 events and initiatives were organised by local projects and held in target areas. 30 000 citizens took part in the activities and over 6 000 square metres of public and private spaces were regenerated by the community. In addition, 4 pacts of collaboration, the civic negotiation between associations and the Municipality, have been signed for the co-management and care for the common good.  

What PARTICIPATORY APPROACHES have been put in place for the project?


A fundamental characteristic of To-Nite is its inclusive approach to the issue of safety, which is a community-based approach consistent with the territory's vocations and potential. 


Involvement of communities and local stakeholders has been, therefore, a crucial aspect, particularly engaging even the less structured and less accustomed - but highly strategic - actors to collaborate with the city, such as schools, foreign communities, and small associations. 


The engagement activities and dialogue with the territory played a vital role in the design phase of the project "for the allocation of contributions aimed at improving liveability and the perception of safety during evening hours in the areas adjacent to the Dora River" and served two purposes: on the one hand, effectively communicating the chosen approach to urban safety and encouraging participation in the project; on the other hand, deepening the knowledge and defining the needs of the intervention area. 


The project has thus stimulated the idea that the night is a time of possibilities, for generating new social interventions, not only limited to commercial activities or law enforcement interventions, by funding 19 social projects to contribute to the goals of liveability and perceived safety in the target areas.  

How does the project tackle different aspects with an INTEGRATED APPROACH?


To-Nite addressed the issue of liveability of public spaces and the perception of safety in a perspective of social innovation and urban regeneration, with an approach aimed at boosting the potential of the territory and the involvement of local communities, who promoted the implementation of social, artistic and cultural initiatives and services on the territory. 


It was designed to make neighbourhoods more liveable in the evening, improving public services and offering new opportunities for creative businesses. The idea of creating a more beautiful, sustainable and inclusive city was the inspiration behind the project.


Why should other European cities use the solution the project explored?


Urban services and public spaces are nowadays designed mainly for use during the daytime, while recent lifestyle trends show how these spaces and services are becoming increasingly attractive during the night, for the creation of new cultural, economic and civic opportunities.  


Making urban spaces safer at night is a major issue for many European cities. While traditional policies on urban security are showing their limitations in this respect, the adoption of the multidisciplinary and inclusive approach of To-Nite, based on fostering the attractiveness of public spaces, can contribute to preventing urban blight, while at the same time fostering the active inclusion of all the actors in the definition of night policies.