• CoRE

    Austria
    Vienna

    Centre of Refugee Empowerment

    Christoph Reinprecht
    Municipality of Vienna
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    1 897 000

    Summary

    As a response to the dramatic increase in the number of refugees arriving 2015 in Vienna posing huge challenges to social welfare and social housing systems and to the labour market, the CoRE project aimed at strengthening the local integration system and at developing innovative and inclusive integration measures which addressed the specific needs of asylum seekers and refugees. CoRE operated as hub and incubator for empowerment processes, jointly planned, utilised and operated by public institutions, NGOs, civil society initiatives, and refugees. By pooling resources and knowhow and by making refugees equal partners instead of passive beneficiaries, it helped to initiate smart transformation processes for the whole integration system, also aiming at changing public discourse. The physical infrastructure in the form of the CoRE Centre offered community spaces as well as service spaces.
    One of the main achievements so far relates to the certification course for refugees with university diploma and experience in teaching in their home countries, developed and implemented together with the Educational Department of the University of Vienna.  The most innovative dimensions is represented by the CoRE participatory approach. This included (self-)empowerment strategies for refugees, the active involvement of target groups, the prioritisation of bottom up processes vs top down, and the use of multi-level governance approach. Innovative is also the CORE center as a meeting point an

    The innovative solution

    Implementing the “integration from day one-approach” was a key objective of CoRE, based on the principles of the Vienna Integration Concept. Its five pillars are: Language (German and multilingualism); training (education and work); social integration (living together and participation); awareness work (objectivity, assessment and information), and Human Rights. The involvement and commitment of both institutional actors, stakeholders, NGOs, volunteers, but most importantly, targeted groups had been essential e.g. in fighting de-qualification or other integration barriers. The main solutions tests are: information modules, workshops, peer-mentoring (self-empowerment), competences assessment (participation in labour market), -    measures to strengthen skills and qualifications (from support for medical doctors for being enabled to practice in Austria, certification courses for teachers and qualification training for accountants and care assistants to training in professional language skills or entrepreneurship training), -    public events for bringing skills and talents of refugees to the curtain, training for volunteers, and the CORE centre as a meeting and contact point for organised initiatives.

    A collaborative and participative work

    Each project partner represented a key area in the field of integration (social welfare, education, entrepreneurship, labour market, etc.). Their commitment – irrespective of their share of the activities/budget – was one key success factor; same for their willingness to cooperate at eye level with civil society and targeted populations. Another key factor: strong support from local government, and involvement of scientific community.
    The active involvement of refugees was in all phases of project implementation of utmost importance and the key to success. Pooling of resources of the project partners created a context that encouraged refugees to play an active role in their own integration process, and to be involved in the implementation of the project. Refugees acted as protagonists of the project, e.g. by holding workshops and lectures in schools.

    The impact and results

    The framework conditions have changed substantially over the course of the project. At the very beginning, requirements directly related to the arrival of asylum seekers had been priority; later, integration issues on a more structural and emotional level came to the fore. At the political level, national elections brought restrictions in asylum law and tightened anti-immigration discourse, positioning the local government as an antipode. Project implementation was achieved through the capacity of all actors involved to collaborate across sectoral, disciplinary and institutional boundaries.
    CoRE achieved a number of outputs that help making integration more inclusive, strengthening the integration from day one approach, and putting (self-) empowerment into the core of integration work. Concrete and measured results concern e.g. the number of refugees who benefitted from first-hand information, who ate able to stabilize their living and housing situation, who increased their professional skills and (also language) knowledge, attended a certification course, gained first working experiences, passed successfully exams, or who had been involved in activities promoting awareness of issues relating to flight and integration.

    Why this good practices should be transferred to other cities?

    The situation of asylum seekers and refugees is requiring answers both at European, national and in particular local levels. The CoRE project is a complex project, focusing on various aspects of the integration process. As the project was characterized by the specific challenges in Vienna at that time, the project as a whole is not transferable one to one. However, the various activities of the project themselves are transferable – not only to other cities, but partly also to other target groups. But there are also more general lessons to learn from CoRE: The project’s main experience to share with other cities would be to dare to follow the concept of 'integration from day one', and to apply a bottom-up approach. Even if following a bottom-up-approach, with the active involvement of the target group and a high level of participation, might be challenging, the outcomes are worth it. The experiences also suggest not to focus only on results and outcomes of the project, but also on the process itself. Following a participative approach, the process of developing, modifying and testing new solutions together with the target group, is itself just as valuable as the outcomes. On the one hand, the collaborative work promotes a deeper understanding of the target group and on the other hand it changes the role of the target group, from being passive beneficiaries to active co-creators in their own integration process. 

    Is a transfer practice
    0
    Ref nid
    17072
  • FED

    Sweden
    Gothenburg

    Fossil Free Energy Districts - a piece of the puzzle for energy transition

    Stina Rydberg
    Johanneberg Science Park Gothenburg
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    579 281

    Summary

    Global warming has made the transition to renewable energy sources absolutely necessary and urgent. At the same time the power demand is increasing due to electrification of transport and industry and urbanisation, followed by grid constrains and risk for blackouts. 

     

    Local energy systems, digitally connected to and interacting with external, existing energy systems, have the potential to solve challenges connected to renewable systems and could thus be an important piece of tomorrows’ energy system puzzle. The Fossil-free Energy Districts project, FED, was an innovative initiative aiming to find modern solutions to global energy challenges and make it work. 
    FED has built up a local energy system, coupling three energy carriers in the same system: electricity, district heating and district cooling. All three are traded every hour, on the hour, at a digital marketplace, shaving power peaks and optimising the total energy consumption, in the local system. The system is able to provide the external grid with services for grid stability e.g. flexibility aggregation, reactive power and frequency control. 

     

    The results show a 100% fossil-free energy district, where local waste heating and cooling can be utilised and with a potential for energy efficiency of up to 20%. 

    The innovative solution

    FED has proven an innovative, digital solution to meet challenges in the energy transition. It has built up a local energy system, coupling three energy carriers in the same system: electricity, district heating and district cooling. All three are traded every hour at a digital marketplace, shaving power peaks and optimising the total energy consumption, in the local system. The system is able to provide the external grid with services for grid stability e.g. flexibility aggregation, reactive power and frequency control. 
    The results show a 100% fossil-free energy district, where local waste heating and cooling can be utilised and with a potential for energy efficiency up to 20%.  After project end, the actors can offer knowledge and replication strategies to cities, or others, wishing to make use of local energy systems and smart, digital platforms for balancing and optimising local energy systems. 

    A collaborative and participative work

    The well-balanced partnership in FED was made up of actors from public sector, academia and ICT, real estate and energy business. Factors of success were the large elements of learning from each other and the joint development of new knowledge and new technology solutions. The real estate industry could not do this without the energy utility involved, nor vice versa. The research partners provided excellence e.g. regarding market design. Public sector partners added the municipal and governance dimension. The project was jointly developed in an environment, where most partners already were known to each other. Trust was already built among the partners and this, together with the local setting and use of native language, has been pointed out as keys to success. 

    The impact and results

    The FED project has moved the frontline for what is possible on the area of local energy systems. Utilise sector coupling by combining three energy carriers, in the same system and enabling trade of all three of them on a digital platform is unique. FED has done what others just talk about and we have hands-on experience from e.g. connecting more than 50 market participants to one single system, handling large amount of complex data and developing an IoT platform with “smart agents” representing each market participant. A lot of time and effort has been put into identifying opportunities and barriers for local energy systems in real life. Legislation, business models, roles and governance are issues around which a great deal of knowledge has been built. Strategies for replication have been developed. 

    Why this good practices should be transferred to other cities?

    Global warming has made a transition from fossil-based to renewable energy sources urgent, which brings about new challenges, e.g. supply fluctuations due to the weather dependencies and decreased frequency control. Power demand is increasing due to electrification of transport and industry. Strong urbanisation has in some cases lead to severe constrains in power grid, with power shortage and higher risk for blackouts. There is not a single solution to solve all these challenges but local energy systems, connected to and interacting with external, existing energy systems, could play an important role in facing the challenges. A digital solution, e.g. a system like the one developed in FED, is vital for balancing and optimizing the energy systems of tomorrow. The challenges of energy transition are a reality in several areas of Europe and initiatives and projects with smart grid and local energy systems can be found in many cities. We have implemented and demonstrated a system with high technical level and high degree of complexity. The system solution in itself is adaptable and can easily be adjusted to meet local challenges. The experience that the project parties have gained is very valuable for any other city that want to address the challenges of energy transition with the help of a local energy system. 

    Is a transfer practice
    0
    Ref nid
    17071
  • SALUS W SPACE

    Italy
    Bologna

    Sustainable Accessible Livable Usable Social space for intercultural Wellbeing, Welfare and Welcoming

    Inti Bertocchi
    Comune di Bologna
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    388 367

    Summary

    Salus Space will provide a multi-purpose living and working environment for 28 families up to half of whom will be migrants or refugees. 
    The project seeks to overcome the emergency approach in the refugees reception model and find new sustainable solutions, integrated into the social and economic framework. Furthermore it aims to prevent the conflicts and the perception of migrants and refugees as an economic and social burden, to fight the urban and social decay, caused by the economic crisis, to foster an open intercultural society, based on the generative welfare model and solidarity, by enhancing reciprocity between refugees and citizens and knowledge contamination and to help address demographic changes: ageing population, low birth rate, migration of young people.
     

    The innovative solution

    The project proposes to house 28 families of which roughly half will be from a migrant background in a purpose-built facility on the former Villa Salus hospital site on the periphery of the city The project will create a working community, with a generative welfare approach. The whole project is based on a collaborative approach between partners and once launched will involve collaborative management between the new community at Salus space and the City. The site will also play host to a Think Tank focusing on the inclusive economy. 

    A collaborative and participative work

    The project has a wide partnership engaging many local actors.  The partners range from specialist housing providers to a range of social cooperatives that work with specific groups – for example with migrant women. The work the city has done with the partnership is one of the most innovative aspects of the project. Together they have created a charter of values and a management plan for the site. The evolution of the project is a genuine co-creation. 
    The project has pioneered an approach to participative evaluation by training citizens in evaluation techniques. Citizen journalists, mostly from the nearby district of Savena have also been trained to write blogs and document the progress of the project. 
     

    The impact and results

    The project launches for real in January 2021. The first four years have been taken up with the demolition of the original hospital and the construction of permanent living spaces, meeting spaces and three temporary structures. Up until now working on other sites, Salus Space has been able to provide training activities in theatre skills and horticulture for migrants. The partnership have also developed a collaborative management plan for the new facility and develop a charter of values with partners. 
    The new buildings at Salus Space will be officially opened in January 2021. Soon after the first cohort of tenants can move in for a 24-month residential period.  The new site will host 28 families, up to half of whom will be from a migrant background, the rest with an Italian background. Activities on the site will include catering, horticulture, theatre, business creation as well as a think tank on social inclusion. The idea is to create a dynamic learning, working and living environment aimed at accelerating the integration process. 
     

    Why this good practices should be transferred to other cities?

    The project presents an interesting approach to migrant integration by creating a co-living and working space on the urban fringe using a former derelict hospital site. Each family living in Salus Space will have their own living space but will also participate in a range of work, cultural and leisure activities on the site that will also be a welcoming space for visitors. Salus Space will be a living community.
    For other European cities the project will be a live demonstration of how to organise new approaches to migrant integration. The governance and management arrangements are particularly interesting because the whole approach has been developed in a collaborative way with partners from the city including social cooperatives and specialist agencies. The project offers an opportunity to see a project in its early stages of implementation wrestling with real issues in real time. 
    Salus Space is also featuring in a Horizon 2020 project for innovative agriculture which is led by the University of Bologna and is part of a second H2020 bid. 
     

    Is a transfer practice
    0
    Ref nid
    17070
  • 5Bridges

    France
    Nantes

    Creating bridges between homeless and local communities

    Clarie Moureau
    Mairie de Nantes
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    303 382

    SUMMARY

    The more complex life course of socially disconnected people, with longer periods of homelessness and insecurity, with addictions and other psychiatric problems, require new types of response.
    The main objective of the project is to develop solutions based on 5 bridges: employment, housing and health, living together and empowerment towards inclusion of people in a situation of exclusion.
    5Bridges is creating a social urban equipment included in a sustainable, multifunctionnal and liveable area, for: jobs (neighbourhood-restaurant, urban farm, solidarity-shop); housing (temporarily housing as well as social housing); health (low-threshold care, self-esteem activities, gardening); inclusion (active participation alongside solidarity-based involvement of neighbours), empowerment through involvement.
    A key element of the project is that before the delivery of the building, 5Bridges has implement small scale labs to test and develop new services, methodologies and approaches that will be integrated in this first social urban equipment of this kind in Europe.

     

    The experimentation of short term contracts is a real success, the first results are the following: out of 16 people affected, 14 people emerged positively to another type of contract. These positive exits took place after an average of 110 hours on the system.
    The modern and innovative architecture is designed to allow everyone to feel confortable on the site and thus promote the mix of uses and public. 
     

    The innovative solution

    Homelessness is one of the key challenges for cities in their fight against urban poverty. Nantes’ global aim is to be a green, innovative and liveable city FOR ALL. Social cohesion is at the heart of all its public policies. Today, the more complex way of living of socially disconnected people - including longer periods of homelessness and insecurity - requires new types of answers. Meanwhile, socially excluded groups feel socially stigmatised due to their difference. 
    5Bridges project experiment innovative solutions to tackle urban poverty: building an innovative urban equipment, a one-stop shop for different social groups where they can meet : a restaurant, an urban farm, a solidarity store, as well as solidarity-based housing, low threshold health care, and social services opened 24/24 and 7/7; developing an innovative approach: placing the user at the heart of the project's choices and including neighbours to facilitate the integration

    A collaborative and participative work

    The partnership is composed of 6 partners, each of them intervening in their own field of expertise. This partnership between public, private and associative actors has made it possible to carry out this innovative project (Ville de Nantes, Nantes Metropole - Organised Agglomeration, Association Les Eaux Vives – NGO, CDC Habitat - Public/Private Company, Société d’Aménagement de la metropole ouest atlantique (Samoa) - Public/Private Company, Association Emmaus 44 - NGO)
    The project is planning to impact 2000 persons per year : homeless, badly housed or disconnected people, in Nantes and surroundings. During the years of experimentation, the target groups have been involved in the choices concerning the equipment. 
    The equipment now called “5Bridges solidarity village” will be managed by a NGO created by the occupants of the site. 

    The impact and results

    The implementation phase of the project was characterised by two main activities:  the construction of the equipment; and setting up small-scale labs to test and optimise the different designed answers that will be integrated in this social urban equipment. 
    The project had to face many hazards, particularly related to the construction of the building. The partnership's human resources and tools made it possible to meet the challenges related to financial or scheduling risks, sometimes by imagining more interesting solutions than the original proposal.
    Results have been achieved regarding: empowerment and social inclusion through sustained active involvement of users; economic inclusion of users in small scale working labs, providing a work experience and short working contracts; sustainable housing solutions and satisfactory appropriation of mixed social housing; increased expertise of staff and users about support, based on the peer interventions of social workers, volunteers and users.

    Why this good practices should be transferred to other cities?

    The European Observatory on Homelessness reported in 2014, that homelessness is a growing issue in Europe. FEANTSEA (2010) stressed that the predominant model is that local authorities have the main responsibility for enabling and steering such services and NGOs are the main service providers, financed to a large extent by municipalities.”
    Here are some targeted local issues:

    • 2337 persons have never been accommodated in 2014 in Nantes 
    • Lack of coordinated social support services 24/24 and 7/7 
    • Existing structures do not always properly match social/healthcare/housing offers with the users' needs, and their geographic dispersal creates an “organised wandering” throughout the city.

    5Bridges project can be duplicated by other European cities as:

    • It provides a solution to a situation they also face: mismatch between the offer (outdated accommodation, dispatched social services, lack of integrated answers) and the growing and changing needs, which require a integrated and comprehensive answer to homelessness.
    • It relies on a mix of competences and expertise (social work, health care, citizen participation, urban planning) and a portfolio of local stakeholders (NGOs, health services, social housing promoters…) that can be activated by all European cities.

    Many documents and reports have been produced during the implementation of the 5Bridges project and can be provide to other cities willing to duplicate the project. 

    Is a transfer practice
    0
    Ref nid
    17069
  • U-RLP

    Netherlands
    Utrecht

    Utrecht Refugee Launch Pad

    Antonius Imara
    Municipality of Utrecht
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    360 000

    Summary

    The increase in the arrival of refugees in 2015-16 and the rise in hostile attitudes towards them required more innovative and effective reception strategies. The aim was to make better use of the time that asylum seekers spent in reception shelters and that these centres would also provide opportunities for neighbors and local community, allowing to counteract negative narratives.
    The project housed asylum seekers and refugees in the same complex as local young people. It used co-learning, inviting neighbours to take courses together and engage in social activities in a shared social space. The project aimed to engage with concerns from receiving communities and activate asylum seekers ‘from day one’ by providing opportunities for participants to develop their skills, to enhance wellbeing and improve inclusion and community cohesion in the neighbourhood.
    Utrecht's new Integration Plan has been inspired by Plan Einstein and any new asylum shelter to be opened in Utrecht will have to follow the project concept.
    Transforming an Emergency Shelter into a vibrant and innovative setting of a shared living, learning and working space that connects from day one refugees, neighbours and the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.
     

    The innovative solution

    The ultimate place where asylum seekers will settle is uncertain and integration activities only start when asylum is granted. Emergency shelters are often placed in deprived neighbourhoods, where residents themselves face social and economic problems, facilitating hostile attitudes towards refugees. The challenge is to promote effective inclusion starting immediately upon refugee’s arrival, regardless of the country they end up living in, and promoting social acceptance of refugees in local communities.
    Main solutions implemented: offering a combined community housing and shelter concept, with a wide range of social and cultural activities connecting local citizens and asylum seekers, focusing on common goals and the needs of the neighbourhood; providing International Entrepreneurship Training, English courses and peer to peer coaching by successful social entrepreneurs and corporations; offering an Incubator space for new business startups; reframing refugees’ broken narratives to more positive and hopeful narratives, whatever the outcome of their application.

    A collaborative and participative work

    The project integrates social, legal, academic, psychological, economic and political dimensions. That’s why it has combined the expertise of the City and the Dutch Refugee Council on the reception of asylum seekers, together with NGOs and social enterprises and research and educational institutions to provide evidence-based to such an innovative project. 

    The most effective participation processes have been those that have encouraged cooperation between the different target groups (asylum seekers, youngsters and local neighbours) based on equality, common objectives and interests and the recognition and contribution of the different skills and talents, that has helped to foster a common and shared sense of belonging.

    The impact and results

    The project management adopted a horizontal network arrangement based on a principle of cooperation and equality. This approach together with some delays, unexpected changes and the complex collaboration with the central government have posed some challenges that have been tackled from the capacity for adaptation and flexibility of the team and the creation of new roles and spaces for coordination between all the partners, that continue working together in the new phase of the project.

     

    The external evaluators identified some relevant results: the Project had positive impact in generating good relations in the neighbourhood; participants were able to use Plan Einstein as a helpful means of starting to make the transition to the labour market by increasing their skills and networking; residents in both the Shelter and neighbourhood experienced greater levels of mental well-being by improving psychological health and encouraging more social connection and productive time-use.

    Why this good practices should be transferred to other cities?

    The challenge of reception and inclusion of asylum seekers is shared by many European countries. The rise of populist discourses and xenophobic narratives threatens fundamental values and reinforces social polarisation. Cities are key actors in providing innovative responses in favour of inclusion, human rights and coexistence.  
    The project has shown that promoting inclusion from day one by connecting asylum seekers with neighbours, sharing spaces, activities, training and projects to address the needs of the neighbourhood can have positive impacts for all.
    The project is relevant to asylum seekers who spend months in reception centres, being able to use this time to develop new skills, participate in activities and build social networks. But it is also relevant for local neighbours who can take advantage of new services and training, and for the city as a whole which can better take the opportunities posed by diversity and avoid the costs linked to segregation, exclusion or racism. 
    The project's approach is very transferable, because despite the differences in context between cities and countries, what it does is adapt the principles of integration or interculturality to the first phase of reception, by building a diverse network of local actors who collaborate for a common goal. 

    Is a transfer practice
    0
    Ref nid
    17068
  • Vilawatt

    Spain
    Viladecans

    Innovative local public-private-citizen partnership for energy governance

    Marina Jarque
    Municipality of Viladecàns
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    66 168

    Summary

    VILAWATT is boosting the energy transition process in the Catalan city of Viladecans by setting up a public-private-citizen partnership (PPCP, taking the legal form of a Consortium) where citizens of Viladecans and its main social actors play a key role. Viladecans priority was to increase citizen commitment and sense of belonging to promote a sustainable energy transition process. 

     

    Main achievements so far are:

     

    Governance- Citizens have a say at the Consortium through the associations linked to it. These associations have been created thanks to Vilawatt’s participatory strategy, as they did not exist before.

     

    Energy supply– Vilawatt pools the demand for energy and provides energy to all association members (100% Certified Renewable Energy) 
    Faster energy retrofitting of private buildings - Three residential buildings (in an underprivileged district) have received 1,4 M€ investment in a process that has been boosted by the city hall. The neighbours were part of the decision making process of the retrofitting works.
    Consulting services and learning communities - targeted at 10 different social actors: schools, retail sector, companies, unemployed…
    Efficiency incentives – Vilawatt local currency - The creation of a local electronic currency linked to energy savings also revitalises our retail sector (especially innovative in pandemic times). 

    The innovative solution

    • Boosting the shift towards a low-carbon economy: VILAWATT project has created a new organizational structure with a new set of tools to empower citizens and communities on energy saving and deep energy renovation issues.
    • Promoting citizen engagement to boost the change on the energy model: The bottom-up design process amongst all beneficiaries and involved actors (especially kids) has been essential to its success.
    • Enhancing employment possibilities: VILAWATT project has included a special focus on improving capacities of the local professionals, workers and unemployed on deep energy renovation, energy savings assessment and RES integration with thematic workshops and trainings 
    • Revitalising the local sector: With the new digital currency linked to energy transition and energy savings we are revitalising the local sector and contributing to circular economy.

    A collaborative and participative work

    • 9 partners (public and private) coordinated by the municipality of Viladecans have been involved in the project, each of them with a specific field of expertise (energy contracts, local currency, neighbours mediation, rehabilitation works...). 
    • One key achievement has been the development of a Participatory Strategic Plan that analyses the specific role played by 10 different social actors, mainly: neighbours (benefitting from all the company´s services); schools (11 schools are implementing energy-saving programs); construction companies (they exchange ideas and good practices), unemployed (they receive trainings in the energy field) and local trades (they accept the currency).

    The impact and results

    Vilawatt has succeeded on building a complex governance structure and implementing its services in a short implementation period. Some challenges were related to the effective engagement of neighbours in energy transition processes (solution: innovative communication, gamification), the implementation of the local currency, and the fiscal barriers that affected the beneficiaries of the subsidy for renovations (solution: being creative and finding fast alternatives to local barriers). Vilawatt has created so far:

    • 1 one-stop administration offering energy supply, consultancy, local currency, retrofitting works;
    • 1 Consortium governing the structure;
    • 3 retrofitted buildings;
    • 33 participative actions;
    • 14 communication campaigns.

    Why this good practices should be transferred to other cities?

    This project is lined up with the EU Energy Strategy and the policies related for a secure, competitive and sustainable energy. Viladecans Municipality seeks to speed-up its ambitious energy transition project in order to achieve the 2030 Energy Strategy targets (40% less greenhouse gas emissions, 27% share of RES consumption, 27% energy savings).
    At regional and local levels, Vilawatt is also aligned with the Energy Savings Plan 2011-2020, from Spanish Government and also the Catalan regulations on Energy building renovations.  
    Vilawatt’s approach can be interesting for medium cities willing to boost their energy transition strategy. Although Vilawatt structure (meaning its governance structure plus all its services) is complex to implement in a short period of time, some of its aspects can be replicated individually. 
    All phases of the project have been designed in a way that they can be replicated in other cities. However, given that buildings have different energy behavior depending on the geographical area, the retrofitting models & actions need to be specifically-tailored. Also local regulations may vary depending on the local/regional/national context and need to be carefully checked in advance. 

    Is a transfer practice
    0
    Ref nid
    17067
  • OpenAGRI

    Italy
    Milan

    New Skills for new Jobs in Peri-urban Agriculture

    Rossana Torri
    Comune di Milano
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    1 352 000

    Summary

    The City of Milan decided to set up an urban coalition with a series of partners (Universities, companies, associations) in order to apply for the first call of UIA Initiative, with the desire to scale up this positioning in the peri-urban agricultural industry, setting up a stable growth and creating new jobs and skills.
    OpenAgri is mainly an urban policy experimentation that follows the place-based approach, focusing on new skills for new jobs in peri-urban agriculture. The project area can be defined as an “urban fringe”, representing the transition zone between the consolidated part of the City and the agricultural lands. The challenge was to locate an innovative urban service aimed at creating new jobs, skills, start- ups and innovation in agri-food sector while increasing the level of resilience and sustainability of the City.
    OpenAgri (1) improved entrepreneurship by fostering the creation of new innovative firms and social enterprises focusing on sustainability in periurban agriculture and the agri-food sector; (2) Contributed to the overall regeneration of a fringe area promoting a strong focus on social inclusion; and (3) Exploited the potential of several food policy experiments within a single integrated.

    The innovative solution

    OpenAgri is a step forward in the capacity to deliver an innovative integrated strategy. It represents experimental initiatives in the field of labour and innovation policy. The following solutions can be offered:

    • Solution 1: Educational and training environment: competencies validation and certification, educational services delivery, business planning, linkages with educational institutions;
    • Solution 2: Experimentation Lab: explores innovative techniques in urban agriculture and engage a series of partners on making the best use of public owned 33 hectares plot of land surrounding the south Milan Parco Sud boundaries.
    • Solution 3: Entrepreneurship: The process to find innovative projects, agriculture entrepreneurs, companies and/or startups and other organized parties.
    • Solution 4: Resilient territorial development: The peri-urban transformation of Milano changed due to OpenAgri capacity to create strong, mutually supportive linkages between rural and urban areas and to engage stakeholders, like MMA spa, with the capacity to promote further investment.

    A collaborative and participative work

    OpenAgri partnership is a good example of a participative approach, since it brings local stakeholders from education and training, agricultural, cultural, social and policymakers. It is a very complex and integrated project because it keeps together many different dimensions and makes them work in a specific place, but also in a city systematically. It was an opportunity to relate areas of competence of the administration that are very different from one another and that are used to look at problems from their single point of view. This project necessarily had to confront with the people responsible for environment, urban planning, agriculture, labour. Such an integrated project forced to create new relationships and we learned something from this collaboration.

    The impact and results

    The agro-ecological and landscape design developed by the 30-hectare Masterplan created a new locality for the city. This means designing for shared access to systems and services, planning functional infrastructures, and activating networks between people, places and products.
    The focus was on business development and innovation. The best example is the incubation and startups support that developed innovative projects in agriculture and circular economy, with particular focus on the water resource and its use within the food supply chains, along a cycle that goes from production, to transformation, to consumption, to waste and reuse of waste.
    Acting smart in the context of OpenAgri was not only about technology, but more about the smart use of local resources and amenities and finding the right balance of business diversity, to create an economy that is specialised but still resilient.

    Why this good practices should be transferred to other cities?

    OpenAgri is an experimental project that challenge existing practices and regulations in cities, regions, policy fields and local contexts. The project proved to be an excellent opportunity to experiment a hypothesis of work that is inherent to UIA program. This is very interesting because it means to start not from a regeneration of the container, but from the activation of new economic dynamics.
    It was an opportunity to relate areas of competence of the administration that are very different from one another and that are used to look at problems from their single point of view. This project necessarily had to confront with the people responsible for environment, urban planning, agriculture, labour.
    OpenAgri is now a hub for the agri-food sector but the city wants it to be a more complex hub that will work not only on the themes of peri-urban agriculture, but also on circular economy, trying to put them in relation. They have understood that there are interesting connections between peri-urban agriculture and for example the water cycle, thanks to the nearby water purifier. There is clear evidence that the core principles and components will now apply at a larger scale within Milan but also in other European cities.

    Is a transfer practice
    0
    Ref nid
    17066
  • BMINCOME

    Spain
    Barcelona

    Combining guaranteed minimum income and active social policies in deprived urban areas

    Albert Sala
    Besos District
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    36 669

    Summary

    The B-MINCOME, combining a minimum guaranteed income with active social policies in deprived urban areas of Barcelona, is a pilot project that aims to fight poverty and social exclusion.  The project covers  an area north east called Eix Besos one of the most vulnerable of the city. The districts targeted in this project are: Ciutat Meridiana, Vallbona, Torre Baró, Roquetes and Trinitat Nova in the Nou Barris district, Trinitat Vella, Baró de Viver and Bon Pastor in the Sant Andreu district, and Verneda i La Pau, and Besòs i el Maresme in the Sant Martí district. After a selection of 5000 potential candidate identified among inhabitants in the EIx Besos, a random selection of 1000 households joined the pilot of BMINCOME.  Between 2017-2019 BMINCOME benefitted 952 families in the ten neighbourhoods. 

    The innovative solution

    The BMINCOME, combines a minimum guaranteed income ( Called Municipal Inclusion Support -SMI) with active social policies for mutual and solidarity-based economies, adopting  local digital currency ( REC) for boosting local trade.   The aim was to  reach up to 1,000 vulnerable households, with a steady income for the duration of the pilot, whose amount is based on several criteria and the composition of the household. 

     

    Four active policies enables citizens to exit the condition of poverty through the development of social entrepreneurial skills into different areas of solidarity economy:

    1.  Training programme and employment plans, implemented with an active involvement of NGO and associations located in the area.
    2.  Social economy programme for the creation of cooperative, social, solidarity economy and community- interest projects
    3.  Housing renovation programme, support to rent out rooms to improve income. Not implemented as expected. 
    4.  Community participation programmes for common-interest projects.
       

    A collaborative and participative work

    The partners are Ajuntament de Barcelona ( leading the pilot), The Young Foundation - Think Thank, IVALUA. Catalan Institute of Public Policy Evaluation - Research Centr, Autonomous University of Barcelona. IGOP. Institute of Governance and Public Policies - Universit; UPC. Polytechnic University of Catalonia – University; NOVA. Centre for Social Innovation - NGO.
    Under the leadership  of the Department of innovation, BMINCOME  led to innovation in the organisation of municipal social services and municipal policies deliveries counting on NGOs active in the target area. 
    Locally, especially the policy 4, has been dedicated to animate beneficiaries in community building, peer learning. Greater collective involvement of females has been observed in community life. The approach o this policy has forged intercultural ties and local relations between individuals, who express quite a positive view of their neighbourhoods.
     

    The impact and results

    A total of 3,700 people benefitted from  B-MINCOME equal to 952 households in the ten neighborhoods of the Besòs axis. About 84% of SMI recipients are women, receiving about 480 euros on average per month during two years. Results show that  having a guaranteed minimum income  has reduced material deprivation, increased the level of well-being and encouraged participation in community activities. Hence, it has reduced financial uncertainty for the duration of the project,  and generated overall satisfaction. However, some beneficiaries, suffering of material and financial precariousness, persist in facing struggles. 
    The implementation of the digital currency ( REC) experimented in BMINCOME proved to be efficient in boosting local economy As legacy with BMINCOME a campaign launched in November 2020  Le Toca el Barrio  gives continuity to the creation of the citizen currency REC in the same geographical area. 

    Why this good practices should be transferred to other cities?

    The problems tackled by BMINCOME are of complex and multifaceted nature and the pilot did not and could not solve all of them. 
    However, considering the evaluation of the outcome, the pilot showed benefits in improving the conditions of material deprivation, food insecurity and financial precariousness of beneficiaries. This example of municipal-led schemes for guaranteed minimum income could be adopted by other cities given that monetary support cannot solely be covered by local administration. Impacts are not generously rewarding in terms of employment, this data can be reconsidered because little time elapsed from the completion to the pilot. What is instead interesting for other cities , is that the Pilot provided a methodology for encouraging  employability and job creation through training and coaching  in the frame of solidarity and mutual support at community level, which can be replicated in other contexts.  Replicable is also the adoption of the Digital neighbourhood currency (REC) which is further supported in time of pandemic as legacy to BMINCOME to support local economies. The project is also a positive example for reaching out people facing severe deprivation  often invisible or inaccessible via traditional service provision, or cultural initiatives led by the municipality. The SMI benefitted mostly women out penalised by the job market, most of them with a migrant background and lacking basic educational and language skills.

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    Ref nid
    17064
  • CO-CITY

    Italy
    Turin

    The collaborative management of urban commons to counteract poverty and socio-spatial polarisation

    Giovanni Ferrero
    Comune di Torino
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    886 837

    SUMMARY

    <p>CO-CITY addresses the challenge of poverty in distressed neighbourhoods through the regeneration of under-utilised public spaces and assets, turned into places able to trigger a process of sustainable development. The regeneration projects are co-designed by the City and residents. Co-City counteracts social-spatial polarisation through spaces/assets’ regeneration, creating public-community partnerships, mutual trust, cooperation at the neighbourhood level.</p><p>CO-CITY implements “pacts of collaboration” according to the Regulation for the Governance of urban commons, co-designed with city inhabitants’ organisations. They stimulate organisation and define co-governance schemes for the regeneration of spaces hosting activities varying from community gardens; creative placemaking; capacity building processes; community hubs. These pacts are one of the most important co-governance tools increasingly adopted by Italian cities since 2014 to promote and enable the urban commons.</p><p>CUMIANA15 pact foresees the transformation of a former car-manufacturing factory requiring significant physical renovation into a hybrid indoor-outdoor space functioning as a cultural-creative activities community hub. The implementation of a new administrative model rooted in the “pacts of collaboration” and the “Regulation for the Governance of Urban Commons” aiming at empowering inhabitants in the care of urban spaces fostering reciprocal commitment to urban justice.</p>

    THE INNOVATIVE SOLUTION

    <p>CO-CITY addresses urban poverty turning dismissed infrastructures and public land into hubs of neighbourhoods inhabitants’ collective action. It turns them into “urban commons”, contributing to the establishment of civic and entrepreneurial activities leveraging inhabitants’ participation stimulated by the City and facilitated by the Neighbourhood Houses acting as local co-governance units.</p><p>Main solutions implemented include: co-design and co-governance innovative process. The city created an integrated administrative structure to ensure an integrated approach; building and management of the pact of collaboration to accelerate inhabitants’ organisations empowerment in turning public spaces into engines of neighbourhood revitalisation; diversified tools, no one size fits all solution. Resources allocated through a call for proposal foreseeing three measures: a) peripheries and urban cultures; b) under-utilised infrastructure, with a focus on schools; c) civic care of public spaces.&nbsp;<br>&nbsp;</p>

    A COLLABORATIVE AND PARTICIPATIVE WORK

    <p>The project partnership is composed by: the network of Neighbourhood Houses, local community hubs that took care of community building activities; the University of Turin, contributing to the project’s research and theoretical framework; the National Association of Italian Municipalities, in charge of communication and networking.</p><p>50 pacts of collaboration between the City Administration and citizens’ organisations have been signed. The pacts regulate caring for public spaces and many socio-cultural activities. The participative process is focused on two moments:<br>1.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Co-design. All the feasibility issues are fine tuned and finalised.<br>2.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Co-management. The City and the involved organisations share decision-making and responsibilities.&nbsp;<br>&nbsp;</p>

    THE IMPACT AND RESULTS

    <p>The most important project challenge has been the use of a totally new juridical tool (the pact of collaboration) that resulted in a collective learning effort by all the stakeholders involved. This relied on a solid local background and tradition of community engagement which is mainly represented by the local network of Neighbourhood Houses.&nbsp;<br>The project’s implementation has contributed to the development of mutual trust and social inclusion.</p><p>Both public officers (24 city departments, 90 officers) and active citizens (more than 214 organisations) involved in the project implementation consider positively the enabling role of CO-CITY as a way to innovate policies and practices, unlocking the potential of urban development.<br>Among the different pacts, the one of CUMIANA15 can be mentioned - a hybrid space (half renewed industrial building, half covered square), now co-managed to become a new socio-cultural hub.&nbsp;</p>

    WHY THIS GOOD PRACTICES SHOULD BE TRANSFERRED TO OTHER CITIES?

    <p>Cities and citizens play a pivotal role in the EU policy framework tackling climate change and mission-oriented innovation. The European Green Deal and the linked H2020 EGD call both stress the importance of public-community cooperation. The Horizon Europe cities mission foresees a climate neutral city contract. The JRC City Science Initiative considers public-community partnerships a cross-cutting policy tool.</p><p>CO-CITY pacts enable inhabitants’ organisations to work closely together and with City officials, reinforcing trust in institutions, social cohesion, long-term commitment of the entire administrative machine. They were critical in keeping urban spaces safe and alive during the pandemic. Social bonds created by the pacts helped preserve the social interaction.&nbsp;<br>CO-CITY pacts are able to bring together city communities, governments, knowledge institutions, social and private operators. The so-called quintuple helix urban co-governance approach aims at stimulating neighbourhood cooperation. CO-CITY is a good guidance for policymakers and social actors wishing to build public-community cooperation.<br>Each civic deal sanctioned in the CO-CITY pacts could be implemented in every neighbourhood. Several EU cities are already building on similar institutional design principles and co-design methodologies their own urban co-governance policy. Regenerated spaces like CUMIANA15 show how these forms of self-organisation could be self-sustainable.<br>&nbsp;</p>

    Is a transfer practice
    0
    Ref nid
    17063
  • AGRO CITY - MAC

    Italy
    Pozzuoli

    Agro-Urban Landscape to combat poverty and redevelop the urban environment

    Roberto Gerundo
    Comune di Pozzuoli
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    81 824

    Summary

    MAC proposes a series of activities with the aim of redeveloping the urban environment and, at the same time, fighting poverty in the Monterusciello district in Pozzuoli, where the current problems of the social context are combined with a difficult urban environment, characterized by isolation, anonymity and decay of public spaces. The overall objective of the MAC project focuses on the residents' poor economic conditions such as low income and unemployment, the lack of business activities, large abandoned green areas and unused public buildings, as well as a lack of quality relationships and trust between citizens and the administration. Through a process of economic, entrepreneurial, and social development, MAC is creating a new Agro-Urban Landscape based on an interconnection of urban areas and agricultural land. About fifty hectares of Municipal owned open areas are transformed into farmland, developed with the innovative techniques of permaculture to spearhead an economic process and urban growth as a means to combat poverty. The project is based on 4 four pillars: the launch of agricultural activities based on the principles of permaculture and organic urban agriculture; the improvement of the urban environment; professional training; encouraging entrepreneurship and employment.

    The innovative solution

    Urban agriculture is going to offer job opportunities, training, and quality products, while the city will benefit from renewed common spaces and green areas. Along with architectural, urban, landscape and agricultural investments, professional training courses.  The MAC project has put in action a strategy coordinated from a new Agro-Urban Center, which will increase the municipality role in the neighbourhood involving the residents in better identifying local issues and solutions. It has transformed thirty hectares of unused areas through the implementation of innovative agriculture while promoting work in the area  and developing new skills. The project has also developed the local economy through the Laboratory of Ethical Production and Rural Marketing, trained new innovative business enterprises and supported new start-up companies which will be hosted within the Business Incubator Centre.  It developed the Km0 local market through a network with other local producers, hence improving the current open-air week markets. Mac has also acted on the quality of the urban spaces such as architecture interventions and activated spaces within the existing and un-used public buildings for the laboratories and the Agro Urban Centre. Last but not least, it has provided areas for events, a bike path, walkways and seating areas, all to be set along the agriculture areas overlooking the greenery. 

    A collaborative and participative work

    Through the construction of the AGRO URBAN CENTER (AUC) the MAC project installs on the territory, right in the central square of Monterusciello, a space of continuous communication between the municipality, the residents and the key local actors for the identification of local urban problems and the construction of solutions. Participation constitutes a foundation of the present and future actions of the MAC. The principle of local rooting is considered essential for defining co-design processes that lead to the realization of projects accepted by the local community and therefore sustainable. Together with the AUC, the MAC project developed the Consulta Urbana. This is a tool to better structure the process of sharing choices and to give a renewed centrality of the territorial requests within the decision-making processes.

    The impact and results

    Agriculture, and therefore Urban Agriculture, operated at a considerable scale and organized through professional work and means within an urban context, is an economic activity that can continue to be carried out even in periods where many productive activities must to be stopped, undeniably (e.g. the COVID 19), it becomes crucial for the well-being of the whole community: a key resilient economic activity. The contemporaneity of urban planning must look to a new green deal, in this sense, solutions based on nature, and in their integration with the training and production sectors, together with an innovative and shared conception of public spaces, as promoted within the MAC project, make a difference in the quality of life and in the development opportunities offered to citizens.

    Why this Good Practices should be transferred to other cities?

    The MAC is a composite project in which the theme of urban agriculture (UA) defines the plot of a regenerative path that includes several components such as the redevelopment and re-functionalization of the public space, the requalification of public lands abandoned for years and their transformation in a productive asset, but also, of an enlarged public space: The community space. It also includes the redefinition of a cultural landscape: a modernist new town that returns to dialogue with those spaces and functions that it had cancelled with its birth in addition to the recreation and reinforcement of a local community disillusioned with public action, which begins to interact with the project, when the first results are seen. Lastly, it consists of the training and creation of job opportunities for many young people from Monterusciello, those most affected by the problem of stagnant unemployment.

    Is a transfer practice
    0
    Ref nid
    15987