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  • Civic eState


    Community management of common goods through Civic Uses

    Nicola Masella
    Project Coordinator
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    940 126
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    Since 2015 the city of Naples has adopted the "Urban Civic Use Regula-tion" as a policy instrument allowing local communities to manage public assets as common goods. Starting from the pilot project established with the Ex Asilo Filangieri in 2012, more spaces in the city have been interest-ed by this innovative governance model enhancing local communities to use free and shared spaces, resources, knowledge and skills and improv-ing the engagement of citizens in the self-management of common re-sources. Through the participation to the URBACT transfer network Civic eState the City of Naples invested in developing networking among the different experiences self-managing Urban Commons in the city, supported their communication capacity, improved know-how and guidelines for the self-recovery of the buildings and community empowerment and fund raising strategies.

    Solutions offered by the good practice

    By revisiting the outmoded institution of civic use, the good practice of Napoli aims at making spontaneous bottom-up initiatives recognisable and institutionalised, ensuring the autonomy of both parties involved, the proactive citizens and the institutions. The first asset to be recognised as a commons, and therefore proposed as a good practice, is the Ex-Asilo Filangeri, a building that by resolution n.400 (2012) was already identified by the city of Naples as a “place with a complex use in the cultural field, and whose spaces are used to experiment in participative democracy”. At that time, it had been occupied by a group of art and culture professionals protesting against abandonment of the newly restored premises. With the following decision, n.893/2015, the city of Naples recognised the “Urban Civic Use Regulation” of the good, a declaration produced in an autonomous way by the community that benefits from the good, and that puts self-management as the main principle of its administration. Thanks to the good practice's governance model, more than 250 projects came to life, breaking down the production costs by using free and shared spaces, resources, knowledge and skills. During the last decade, the City of Naples has been experimenting with this new governance model to get back in use abandoned or underused buildings subtracted from the life of the city. Conflictual actions of occupation and bottom-up rule-creation were turned into an opportunity.
    By acknowledging this regulation, the public administration assumes the burden of ensuring the usability of the place, while the right to make use of it is free and guaranteed to all citizens, accompanied by a participatory model that is founded on open assemblies and thematic roundtable talks.
    The later resolution n.446/2016, recognised seven more public properties as “relevant civic spaces to be ascribed to the category of common goods”.

    Sustainable and integrated urban approach

    The integration is first and foremost assured through an ad-hoc municipal department, the “social enhancement of municipally owned spaces and common goods”, and with a political coordination in charge of the Urban Planning councillor. This department (technical level) and the above-mentioned councillor (political level) are in charge of promoting the col-laboration with other departments and councillors of the municipality, or other institutions.
    Furthermore, the city waives completely the role of top-down manager and, with a horizontal subsidiarity mechanism, acts like a guarantor and takes its own burdens and responsibilities related to the operation of the good, while recognising the autonomy of the management system adopted by the users.
    The horizontal integration lies also in the basic principles that are stated in the Urban Civic Use Regulation, produced autonomously by the community, and recognised by the Naples city council. The Civic Use of the Common goods is based on the principles of self-management, cooperation and mutualism, and tends to strengthen individual and collective responsibility. Empowerment is established by cooperation, in which each member of the community, whether guest or so-called inhabitant, contributes to the community's activities and management. Accordingly, every community of use has established his own Civic use declaration for the different goods.

    Participatory approach

    Since March 2012 an open and inclusive management model is in place at the Ex -Asilo and has been progressively extended through an increasing number of experiences. Every week, an open meeting is convened (more than 190 since the projects' beginning), as well as several working groups for the implementation of activities (more than 830, with about 18,000 attendances). Besides ensuring transparency, this has established a strong bond between the inhabitants of the city, and narrowed the gap between artists, academics and citizens.
    Main numbers since March 2012:
    • 18,000 people took part in the direct management of the Ex-Asilo through roundtable talks and public management assemblies;
    • 150 public management assemblies for the self-government of the Ex-Asilo;
    • 830 days of public working groups ("tables"), to deepen the projects and proposals. Topics are: "armeria" (visual arts), performing arts, self-government, library, cinema, "tavolo sociale", social, and urban gardening;
    • 2,000 creatives including arts, culture and entertainment professionals, workers, artists, scholars, researchers, academics, associations, institu-tions, and citizens that have used Ex-Asilo spaces and resources, and/or organised activities.

    What difference has it made

    Through the civic eState Transfer Network the City of Napoli has been able to support the improvement of the practice with three key actions:
    - The first identified objective was to improve the “Communication” of the urban commons of Naples, not only as a way to inform but also to involve actively other citizens in the network and also to help the “reproduction” of the network of the urban commons itself. The creation of the website CommonsNapoli managed by the network of Common goods in Napoli provides a web platform for the coordination of the different initiatives happening in this field that includes information about the activities developed in the seven self-managed spaces and documentation about the legal and policy tools and the observatory of urban commons goods.
    - The second objective was to recognize institutionally the practices of co-design, self-construction and self-recovery of the urban commons, with the aim to strengthen the local capacity (both administrative and of the local communities) in finding solutions to the physical deterioration of the assets compatible with collective management and civic uses that are being experimented by the commoners. An ad hoc expert of a study has been commissioned a study that looks at innovations in the legal framework and experiences of self-recovery done in Italy in order to establish legal precedents and innovative procedures to apply the self-help construction procedure to publicly owned buildings destined to social use. The preliminary study has been preliminary to drafting of a set of guidelines to introduce the practice of self-help regeneration of common goods in the regulations of the City of Napoli.
    - Ads a community empowerment action, a training on fund-raising was directed at the activists running the common goods in Napoli to support the financing of the regeneration and the activity of the seven initiatives. For this purpose, a very intense capacity building programme was offered to the activists, that included a workshop on community fundraising, whose beneficiaries were 46 activists belonging to 22 urban commons and other non-profit organizations; tutoring of the activists in the operational planning of 5 pilot fundraising campaigns for 5 urban commons, and a document elaborated by a senior fundraiser, who followed the whole training process, that contains specific guidelines for the fundraising of urban commons.

    Transferring the practice

    The participation to the Transfer network had the objective to share the urban co-governance principle in the use, management and ownership of urban commons and to discuss the use of local legal hacks such as the example of the urban civic uses successfully experimented in Naples. The mechanism proposed by the City of Naples, although routed in the Italian legal system, is characterized by a high degree of adaptability to other European urban contexts as it is based on largely shared ethic, legal and social values, already widespread in other countries. The civic eState Transfer Network included seven cities, with Napoli leading Amsterdam, Barcelona, Gdánsk, Ghent, Iaśi and Presov into the exchange of good practices.

    Main Theme
    Is a transfer practice
  • The 10 Good Habits for education innovation


    Enriching the education system with local partnerships

    Jonas Åberg
    The Swedish city of Halmstad has adopted the “The 10 Good Habits”, a novel approach to education to enhance participation across institutions, families and private partners concerned in the pilot project.[1] This experience is inspired by the URBACT ON BOARD Transfer Network for the creation of an Education Innovation Network (EIN). Following the Lead Partner Viladecans (Spain), Halmstad has engaged in forming its own version of a Education Innovation Network (EIN) in a pilot area, the School Area North in the Oskarström neighbourhood.

    [1] The 10 Good Habits approach has been developed by a local consultancy, Hjärnberikad, in cooperation with neuroscience researchers. The concept focuses on effective brain health and provides knowledge and tools for a sharpened everyday life. The Good Habits focus on: Food, Physical training, Positive thinking, Handling stress, Learning new things, Repetition, Variety, Decision-making, Friends, Sleep.
    Project Manager
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    100 000

    Solutions offered by the good practice

    Halmstad is a fast-growing town on Sweden’s west coast: a port, but also a university, industrial and recreational city. The local education system rarely cooperated actively with local companies, organisations, or even parents. Rather, it was strongly managed by municipal departments guided by national rules. Typically for Sweden, local families were involved in children’s sports clubs, but much less so in schools. The opportunity offered by ONBOARD network was to adopt the Education Innovation Network (EIN) approach to modernise education curricula through digital technologies at different ages and stages of learning, to provide pupils with the necessary skills to enter the job market.


    The city of Halmstad, which has already been working together with Viladecans since 2014 on a project called IMAILE, in 2018 engaged in transferring the Spanish city’s good practice involving multidisciplinary and multi-sector stakeholders for  the EIN  creation. The EIN is a cooperative structure that brings together public administration, education centers, professionals, families, and enterprises.


    With the EIN, Halmstad hoped to deliver short-term improvements such as calmer classrooms, but also longer-term benefits in terms of preparing future professionals and citizens.   The success of the extensive cooperation among partners led to modifying the educational curricula and creating a new teaching approach by adding technologies and involving the parents.


    Among the activities developed we can find:

    • “Happy Braincells”: the objective of the project was to give fifth graders an educational package consisting in games, readings and group presentation to give them more knowledge about health factors and the 10 Good Habits.
    • “Stroller Walks”: based on the “Movement” good habit, the students were given a topic which they discussed during walks. When they came back, teachers collected their thoughts in the classrooms. The project entailed the participation of parents.
    • “Increased Learning”: collaboration between training schools, teacher training students, Halmstad University, and the school librarian to increased learning and promoting good reading habits; 
    • Young people influence in local society: collaboration between the municipality and the Oskarström neighbourhood community to get students to be more active and politically mobilized.


    The project was also  to implement good practices in everyday’s lessons, e.g. beginning classes by looking back at the previous class (repetition), or mindfully understanding the positive thoughts that reaching a goal brings.

    Sustainable and integrated urban approach

    To enhance the work and results of ON BOARD, Halmstad’s city council created across its departments four clusters, meant to share interests and work on topics of Care and Support, Education and Learning, Growth and Attractiveness, Infrastructure. The aim of the clusters is to enhance an integrated approach in which communication within the municipality is improved.


    Halmstad is committed to continuing the work to enhance education innovation in collaboration with community stakeholders. The city recognizes that in order to continue and expand the work, the municipality will need to organize and delegate, but also continue to transform the municipality’s different departmental boundaries.


    The city has also identified further necessary improvements to build on the progress made so far, concerning communication within the municipality, within departments and schools units and the community.

    Participatory approach

    Learning from Viladecans’ Good Practice, EIN in Halmstad ment involving parents, public administration, local businesses, sports clubs in a brand-new participatory approach.[1]


    The city started by taking an inventory of local stakeholders and identifying a first pilot area to trial the EIN approach, the School Area North – one of the five different areas in the city’s educational map.


    After creating a Coordination Team and an Urban Local Group (ULG) coordinator at the municipal level, the town then formed five Focus Groups based on the 10 Good Habits to improve students’ brain power and overall well-being.


    Each Focus Group involved a mix of relevant stakeholders and started making projects with the School Area North to add different activities in the schools’ curricula based on the 10 Good Habits. The purpose was to further the students’ knowledge on the good habits for mental health so that they would continue practising them in the longer term, eventually in their working lives.


    [1] 13 schools, 389 teachers and principals, 996 students, 100 families, 10 companies, 2 universities, 10 local entities, 1 mayor, 1 councilor, 20 people from the municipal staff.

    What difference has it made

    By transferring and adapting Viladecan’s good practice, Halmstad has successfully achieved many objectives. It has reinforced the city’s social sustainability goals (schools working together with other schools, authorities and civil society), improved cooperation between the two municipal Education Departments (Primary and Secondary Level), increased resources from one of its educational departments (allocated to a new person for the Educational Innovation Network projects in School Area North), nurtured a forum that enables to plan, implement and evaluate joint work, created new collaborations to develop an health-aware perspective in Oskarström (the “Happy Brain cell” project and the “Stroller Walks” to engage with parents from a very early stage).


    After the ONBOARD Transfer Network project, Halmstad detected four main outcomes:

    • The Educational Innovation Network will continue, and new human resources and municipal budget will be allocated;
    • Communication between the schools and the local stakeholders has significantly improved;
    • The environment in the classrooms detected to be much calmer than at the start of the project;
    • Plans for expanding the Good Practice to other parts of the city will be developed.

    Transferring the practice

    The ONBOARD Transfer Network was led by the city of Viladecans and involved, apart from Halmstad, Tallinn (Estonia), Poznań (Poland), Albergaria-a-Velha (Portugal) and Nantes (France).


    After the transnational meetings of ONBOARD in 2019 all the Project Partners signed a Policy Declaration in which they outlined their cities’ stance on education and educational innovation and the role that local governments could play.


    The progress of Halmstad transfer project has been affected by the disruption of Covid-19 in 2020, but it managed to adapt to the pace of current circumstances and engage in “digital mode” activities, improving its digital skills for organising and teaching over the Internet.

    Main Theme
    Is a transfer practice
  • USE-IT


    Unlocking Social and Economic Innovation Together

    Karolina Medwecka-Piasecka
    Municipality of Birmingham
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    1 073 045
    • Adapted by
    • In partnership with


    Larger capital projects in poor neighbourhoods often do not lead to an improvement in the socio-economic situation of the local population. The USE-IT! project tested an approach that directly links the realisation of larger capital projects - here construction of a new hospital - with the improvement of the socio-economic situation of the population based on the existing local community skills, talents and ideas. 

    The innovative solution

    Despite larger investments, urban regeneration programmes and neighbourhood management the socio-economic situation of those citizens, living in deprived neighbourhoods in Birmingham, could not significantly be improved. Thus, USE-IT! pioneered innovative approaches to inclusive urban development combating poverty in areas of persistent deprivation. The objective was to use physical interventions directly to combat poverty by improving the socio-economic situation of the inhabitants; this was achieved by linking larger, physical interventions with skills and potentials of the inhabitants. The main solutions implemented  are: matching people with overseas medical qualifications with job opportunities in the hospital to support employment and better health outcomes in the community, creating a community of social enterprises to support employment and boost social value, as well as  developing community research in the local communities to identify and enable better local connections, unlock local skills and insights and link them with opportunities emerging from capital investment.

    A collaborative and participative work

    Large and diverse partnership of larger public, private and civic organisations working together with local embedded neighbourhood organisations. The partnership was built to complement each other’s specialist skills, knowledge and services, so that no organisation had to reinvent its own work for the purpose of the project and synergies could be achieved.  The main target group are the local communities in the ethnically diverse and economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods. The governance/participation structure: Work Packages for each “solution” were set up. Each WP consisted of key partners who collaborated with local community organisations. Each WP was coordinated by WP lead who coordinated activities of their relevant delivery partners. 

    The impact and results

    Due to the large and complex partnership, the communication and information flow between the partners has been a challenge. The Partnership needed time to build trust between the larger and the locally based third sector organisations to enable equitable working relationship.  This also demanded a “cultural change” in the larger organisations and a change of the way they worked (change in institutional processes).  So far, the main results are 250 migrants with medical skills that are connected with job opportunities in the new hospital, five  new consortia of social enterprises, 1 new network of social entrepreneurs, 36 new and 39 established enterprises supported, £240,000 brought into the locality by supporting local organisations to access grants and new contracts,  as well as 85 individuals completing ‘Community Research Training’, implementing 24 community research projects and more than £ 300k secured for future work.

    Why this good practices should be transferred to other cities?

    Urban poverty is one of the main topics of the Urban Agenda for the EU. USE-IT! created a unique model of economic development that is inclusive and results in lasting urban regeneration, by raising aspirations, building community resilience, and connecting people to local resources. It draws on and contributes to the theory of community wealth building. 
    USE-IT! has demonstrated that creating the links between micro and macro assets is crucial to effective community wealth building, in effect ‘unlocking’ the potential of these assets. To transfer the USE-IT! approach, relevant partners have to learn to identify these assets and support individuals and groups to build on them to link them to the larger capital infrastructure/ investment projects. This demands an existence of a partnership of organisations responsible for the implementation of the larger capital infrastructure with locally based organisations that work with the local communities. All cities and neighbourhoods contain a range of assets. This include physical assets in the form of buildings and green spaces; financial assets in the form of businesses and investments; the financial assets of public, social and private institutions; community assets in the form of voluntary sector groups and social enterprises; and human assets. 

    Main Theme
    Is a transfer practice
  • AS-Fabrik


    Bilbao Alliance for smart specialisation in advanced services towards the digital transformation of the industry

    Municipality of Bilbao
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    345 821
    • Adapted by cities from
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    The project seeks to increase the competitiveness of advanced services sector of Bilbao (Knowledge intense Business Services – KIBS), preparing current or future workers of the KIBS sector, to acquire the needed skills, to supply digital transformation demands. Bilbao is leading a strategic alliance between businesses and universities, local service providers and entrepreneurs, to shape a collaborative pilot ecosystem based on innovative pillars and hosted in a tailor made space for experimentation and incubation of new services. New education programs for university students, entrepreneurs and professionals addressing the new challenges of the industry 4.0 and digital economy will be tested, while networking actions among the main stakeholders, supported by tailored IT tools, will ensure a good match between demand and supply. New business models will be prototyped to support specialised start-ups that will benefit from a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) test Fab Lab for the market validation of new products/services.
    At the end of the project, KIBS providers from Bilbao will have access to AS-FABRIK, the “factory for the creation of advanced services for industry”, gathering in a physical space an integrated kit of tools to shape new products and services for the new industry needs, and reinforce their competitiveness. This new model will lead to create a new generation of young and advanced service providers able to supply the challenging digital transformation demands.

    The innovative solution

    For Bilbao economic renewal is of paramount importance. The city is recovering from the global financial crisis, and despite having an unemployment rate significantly lower than the Spanish average, numbers are still high, and the city now faces the challenge of reinforcing its knowledge-based economy. The AS-FABRIK project is a coin with two sides: on the one side, it promotes “smart specialisation”, aiming to make manufacturing –a traditionally strong sector in the city- and related knowledge intensive business services (KIBS) services more competitive. On the other side, it is an instrument to improve the spatial conditions of the local economy, through the regeneration of the Zorrotzaurre area, a former industrial zone that will be turned into a knowledge-based new part of the city.
    City government is a key player when it comes to the creation of favourable spatial conditions in which the local economy can flourish; Bilbao has a key role to play on the labour market, to improve the match between supply and demand, and in retraining the workforce; Also, Bilbao can pursue smart specialisation policies:  in close collaboration with local stakeholders, promoting specific promising fields of economic development, in alignment with other policy levels, the private sector and knowledge institutes, which helps to guide investments into the most productive direction.

    A collaborative and participative work

    The main objective of the project will be possible thanks to the design, development and validation of a demonstrative model of a “Factory for the creation of advanced services for the industry” (AS-FABRK), based on a public-private collaborative process that will allow the achievement of the following specific objectives: to identify the mind-term, needs of the manufacturing industry regarding Industry 4.0 concept. Through Research Center and Public Agency; to carry out different interdisciplinary programmes for students, entrepreneurs and professionals so they can acquire the necessary skills to answer to the industry demands. Through University; to build a collaborative working methodology to match the education and expertise needs from the industry with the service providers (individually or in cooperation). Through University and Research Center; to create more and more specialised jobs in Bilbao as a result of the launching of new start-ups and new services. Through Business Support Center and Private Companies 
    The organisational structure of the Consortium comprises the following Consortium Bodies: the project coordination was done by the MUA who designated project coordinator; the Steering Committee has been responsible for the “major decisions” affecting the implementation and success of the project; the Technical Committee has been in charge of supervising the implementation of the work program and is for taking all decisions related to the operational management.

    The impact and results

    The project has contributed to the development of the advanced services sector of Bilbao in several ways. First, +70 local KIBS have been involved in the definition of Bilbao’s advanced services roadmap, co-creating strategic opportunity spaces to be exploited. From such opportunity spaces, 32 collaborations between SMEs-startups-entrepreneurs were stablished, based on the Partnership Brokering mentoring process, to develop and commercialise new technological services 4.0. Also 36 technological services 4.0 ventures were launched, and 12 of them finally consolidated their services in the market with the support of the Startup Boosting mentoring process. Beyond those numbers, +500 professionals were trained in data cycle technologies (embedded systems, IoT, data science, HMIs) as well as in digital business transformation drivers (e.g. smartisation, servitisation), thus significantly increasing their competences to foster new technological services 4.0 opportunity spaces, collaborations and ventures in the near future.

    Why this good practices should be transferred to other cities?

    AS-Fabrik has achieved a very significant success in transforming Bilbao. This has been possible due to three essential reasons: (1) Cities can leverage the smart specialisation strategy of their regions, (2) Cities can have an active role in the manufacturing sector, and (3) Cities must create landmarks of their transformation that generate a tangible asset in which to leverage a city-wide transformative process. Thanks to the URBACT project In Focus, Bilbao created a methodology to create its own smart specialisation strategy at a city level aligned with that of our region. One of the Basque Country’s strategic economic sectors is Advanced Manufacturing, and AS-Fabrik is the materialisation of that. –AS-Fabrik postulates a new way of supporting manufacturing industry from an urban perspective, and brings back many industrial concepts to the urban environment.  Postindustrial cities are widespread through Europe. During their respective de-industrialisation phases, many cities have expelled the factories from their administrative boundaries, and have turned their backs on the manufacturing sector. Bilbao followed a similar path, but has been working for several years in bringing back the industry to the city, not by bringing back the factories themselves, but rather by grouping training and research; creating a network hub where different companies can collaborate in order to access new markets or create strategic partnerships; and finally creating a startup ecosystem.

    Is a transfer practice
  • Co-City


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

    Giovanni Ferrero
    Comune di Torino
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    886 837
    • Adapted by cities from
    • In partnership with


    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.


    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.


    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.

    The innovative solution

    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.


    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. 

    A collaborative and participative work

    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.


    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:

    1. Co-design. All the feasibility issues are fine tuned and finalised.
    2. Co-management. The City and the involved organisations share decision-making and responsibilities. 

    The impact and results

    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. 
    The project’s implementation has contributed to the development of mutual trust and social inclusion.


    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.
    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. 

    Why this good practices should be transferred to other cities ?

    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.


    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. 
    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.
    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.

    Main Theme
    Is a transfer practice
  • An integrated toolbox for deprived neighbourhoods


    A local development strategy for neighbourhoods and areas of priority intervention

    Lisbon City Council
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    517 802
    • Adapted by the cities from


    The Lisbon (PT) Local Development Strategy for Priority Intervention areas provides the city with a range of integrated toolboxes based on a co-governance process.

    It organises and brings together a bottom-up participatory perspective that ensures a horizontal and collaborative local approach, to decrease and mitigate social, economic, environmental and urban exclusion and enhance social territorial cohesion. The tools used vary from neighbourhood mapping, a Local Partnerships Programme funding local projects to a bottom-up co-governance model to promote employment, education and social-territorial cohesion. The results were visible at municipality and community levels. 

    Between 2011 and 2020 there have been approx. 1100 applications submitted with 392 approved projects selected by an independent panel and more than 600 partners involved. The toolkit helped Lisbon establish its own path, roadmap and goals, and set the civic participation and co-governance as a benchmark to ignite a sustainable Urban Local Development.

    The solutions offered by the good practice

    This good practice shows a co-construction of policies and strategies, concerning social and territorial cohesion and sustainable urban living, through a participative framework involving the community, sharing with the stakeholders the decisions, commitment and accountability in the implementation of BIP/ZIP Local Development Strategy.

    The first tool, BIP/ZIP Mapping, identifies the Priority Intervention Territories of the city, according to the overlapping of Social, Economic, Urban and Environmental deprivation indexes that express the fracture of the city.

    The second tool, BIP/ZIP Programme, funds and ignites local community projects aimed to respond to local needs, promoting local organisations partnerships and empowering population to a sustainable urban development.

    The third tool, GABIP local offices, develops a co-governance framework involving Municipality, Local Boroughs and all relevant stakeholders and citizens organisations. They promote an articulated response among the political, administrative and technical dimensions with local organisations and community.

    The fourth tool, a Collaborative Platform for Community-Led Local Development (CLLD), is a bottom-up co-governance network that develops a global strategy to BIP/ZIP territories and promotes experience, sharing to enhance local partners’ skills.

    These integrated tools impact citizens’ participation in tangible local development, offering a holistic approach that covers social, economic, urban and environmental dimensions.

    Building on the sustainable and integrated approach

    This good practice tackles urban challenges through participative diagnosis processes that identify social and territorial needs in order to eradicate poverty, social exclusion, unemployment and environmental problems.
    BIP/ZIP strategy empowers the community to develop an integrated intervention through a bottom-up co-governance model that assures sustainable actions in deprived territories.

    This approach is sustained by meaningful actions, assuring that these initiatives promote change with real impacts in the community. This strategy is designed to accommodate the different capability and maturity levels of each community. It is action and results’ oriented, so it can be flexible and adaptable to different realities and experiences. This flexibility is the key to actions and partnerships sustainability.

    Other evidence of the sustainability and horizontal integration was the creation in the Municipality of the Local Development Department in 2015, which means the recognition of the local development in BIP/ZIP territories.
    Another key factor to achieve a sustainable challenge is the inclusion of local communities and their stakeholders in all BIP/ZIP local development approach. 

    This means that when the community is involved in all parts of the process (thinking, decision making, implementation, and monitoring of results), it multiplies the sustainability of the action.

    Based on participatory approach

    The BIP/ZIP Mapping was submitted to a public consultation to receive civil society, academy and Local Borough contributions on the identified deprived territories. This public consultation had more citizens participation than the equivalent public consultation of the Lisbon Master plan revision.
    The BIP/ZIP Program supports activities and projects in BIP/ZIP neighbourhoods, and it’s one of the most participative processes of the city. This Program ignites local initiative, developed in partnership with Local Boroughs, local associations and NGOs, aimed at fostering social and territorial cohesion in Lisbon. In the ten editions of the Program (2020) a total of 392 projects have been approved, gathering 647 entities (214 promotors and 433 partners). These projects generated a total of 2 436 activities developed in BIP/ZIP territories, impacting an average of approximately 107 400 inhabitants each year.
    Each annual edition of the Program is presented in a capacity building workshop to share experiences and good practices of previous editions that may be adopted by new candidates and applied in other BIP/ZIP territories.
    These workshops have been attended, each year, by an average of 180 associations.
    The GABIP local offices gather approx. 20 inhabitants’ associations, 10 of the 24 Local Boroughs and other relevant local actors in the co-governance structures. The development of these projects and initiatives is always promoted by local stakeholders, the community and the Municipality in Co-Governance.

    What difference has it made?

    Between 2011 and 2020, with a total fund of €15,802,212, a total of 392 projects were approved, gathering 647 entities that participated both in the execution and sustainability phases. These projects generated a total of 2 436 activities developed in BIP/ZIP territories, impacting an average of approximately 107 400 inhabitants each year.
    The impact is felt on two levels. At the Municipality level, we underline:

    • Greater cooperation between decision makers and local stakeholders/partners;
    • Greater incorporation of local participation as a model for integrated municipal response;
    • A political consensus on the BIP/ZIP concept, methodology and results;
    • The creation of a new municipal department fully dedicated to Local Development.

    At the Community Level, we underline:

    • More transparency and confidence in the public decision-making process;
    • More confidence in the municipality;
    • Increased interest in volunteerism and active participation;
    • Increased local partnerships / networks / cooperation to meet the own challenges;
    • Increased local organisation capability to promote initiative/response/change;
    • More efficient management of available resources (financial and non-financial);
    • A process of co-responsibility, with an extremely high level of appropriation and sense of belonging to the initiatives and results;
    • A mutual process (local administration/community) of accountability of the results;
    • A high rate of success measured through effectiveness and sustainability of the initiatives and actions.

    Transferring the practice

    After being awarded the URBACT Good Practice title, Lisbon was able to create the Com.Unity.Lab Transfer Network to which seven European cities (Bari Italy, Aalborg Denmark, Sofia Bulgaria, Ostrava Czech Republic, Lublin Poland, The Hague Netherlands, Lille Metropole France) were invited which were similarly facing the challenge of dealing with the problems in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. 

    Equipped by URBACT with a toolkit, the cities could learn from each other. The transfer process was not one-sided, during the transnational meetings the existing practices of some of the transfer cities inspired Lisbon and contributed to the improvement of the Good Practice in the way described above.

    In the course of the TN project also the original Good Practice is further improved. Regarding Mapping: a new framework is under development, based on the 2021 census, introducing an Urban Quality of Life Index, testing dynamic monitoring indicators, validating new indicators (COVID and post-pandemic). The map will be an online interactive map, it will show data from the entire city and not only the priority neighbourhoods.

    Regarding Grants: the ambition in the coming year is to setup an upscaling version of the grant, which will help to develop the replication of positive projects in new neighbourhoods. Special attention will be paid to ensure that not always the same organisations access the grants as they have reached a higher level of professionalisation. 

    There is a thinking going on regarding the co-funding quota which is extremely relevant to define the commitment, involvement and responsibilities of local partners. Whilst 100% funding is relevant for more cultural activities with no business model, a co-financing from local stakeholders can be a means to ensure the economic feasibility of entrepreneurial projects. Nevertheless the co-funding quota must take into consideration the fact that the business is taking place in a priority neighbourhood.

    Main Theme
    Is a transfer practice
  • CoRE


    Centre of Refugee Empowerment

    Christoph Reinprecht
    Municipality of Vienna
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    1 897 000
    • In partnership with


    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. 

    Main Theme
    Is a transfer practice
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    Sustainable Accessible Livable Usable Social space for intercultural Wellbeing, Welfare and Welcoming

    Inti Bertocchi
    Comune di Bologna
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    388 367
    • In partnership with


    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. 

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  • 5Bridges


    Creating bridges between homeless and local communities

    Clarie Moureau
    Mairie de Nantes
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    303 382
    • In partnership with


    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. 

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  • U-RLP


    Utrecht Refugee Launch Pad

    Antonius Imara
    Municipality of Utrecht
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    360 000
    • In partnership with


    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. 

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