The way in which the multi-ethnic – and rather blighted – neighbourhood of Via Padova in Milano has been addressed by politicians and the media over the last decades seems to fit within a revanchist framework. Between the late 1990s and the early 2010s the debate mainly concerned the reproduction of fear and the embitterment of punitive measures against newly settled foreign migrants (I wrote about this here).
Years later, also due to a growing presence of the so-called urban creatives, a gentrification process seems to have been triggered, as Chiara Vitrano, Ph.D. and I found out in our working paper (available here).
My position is that the displacement of the poor is not the solution for the regeneration of deprived urban neighbourhoods. Rather, we should aim at redressing imbalances and improving the quality of life for the most disadvantaged people, possibly fostering an inclusive participatory planning approach.
My research paper "Towards an Inclusive and Sustainable CLLD. Lessons from a Neighbourhood Management in Berlin" is now featured on the Local Development Network's website.
The Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) is a new area-based instrument launched for the 2014-2020 Programming Period of the European Cohesion Policy (ECP). It is intended to be a powerful instrument to address, at sub-regional level, crisis-related and other externally-induced issues, as well as to contribute achieving the smart, sustainable and inclusive growth objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy. Nevertheless, concerns emerged with respect to the openness and accessibility of the CLLD’s local governance framework, the scope and goals that would be targeted by local partnerships, and the suitability and effectiveness of the CLLD’s area-based approach in tackling local deprivation.
With my contribution I address such concerns from an evidence-based perspective, in order to draw from the practice compelling insights for the improvement of the CLLD instrument. To do so, my paper brings a critical analysis of a recent ERDF co-financed local development programme, namely the Körnerpark Neighbourhood Management in Berlin, whose principles and features are strongly comparable with the approach underlying the CLLD, and which has indeed been taken as a model practice by EU policy-makers.
Relying on several interviews to key actors at different governance levels, socio-economic data, documents analysis, and field observations, I conduct an assessment of the case-study focussing on the inclusiveness of its governance framework as well as on its capability to enhance residents’ living conditions. From this assessment, I then infer a number of crucial issues that are likely to be a common challenge for any initiative implemented under the new framework. In particular, I argue that two main lessons can be learned from my case-study. On the one hand participatory decision-making bodies at local level might not be effectively representative of the socio-economic composition of the target community, but rather risk to be dominated by local elites or powerful groups. On the other hand, fostering local development bears the risk that the most disadvantaged population of the target community might not be fully supported by the initiative but rather, to a certain extent, even penalised.
On these grounds, then, my contribution aims at stimulating the debate among European policy-makers towards the fine-tuning of the instrument as a means to effectively tackle poverty and marginality in lagging areas and foster their sustainable development.
To read the full paper, please click HERE.