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Welfare Reform on the Web (October 2010): Community regeneration and development - overseas

Can neighbourhoods save the city?: community development and social innovation

F. Moulaert and others (editors)

London: Routledge, 2010

For decades, neighbourhoods have been pivotal sites of social, economic and political exclusion processes, and civil society initiatives, attempting bottom-up strategies of re-development and regeneration. In many cases these efforts resulted in the creation of socially innovative organizations, seeking to satisfy the basic human needs of deprived population groups, to increase their political capabilities and to improve social interaction both internally and between the local communities, the wider urban society and political world. SINGOCOM - Social INnovation GOvernance and COMmunity building - is the acronym of the EU-funded project on which this book is based. Sixteen case studies of socially-innovative initiatives at the neighbourhood level were carried out in nine European cities, of which ten are analysed in depth and presented here. The book compares these efforts and their results, and shows how grass-roots initiatives, alternative local movements and self-organizing urban collectives are reshaping the urban scene in dynamic, creative, innovative and empowering ways. It argues that such grass-roots initiatives are vital for generating a socially cohesive urban condition that exists alongside the official state-organized forms of urban governance.

Social inclusion through participation: the case of the participatory budget in Sao Paulo

E. Hernandez-Medina

International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, vol.34, 2010, p.512-532

One of the world's largest cities, Sao Paulo is characterised by high levels of socio-economic inequality and political polarisation, significantly complicating issues of urban governance. However, citizens and reformers have shown their capacity to design participatory institutions to address complex problems through inclusive forms of deliberation. This article analyses a mechanism created within the participatory budget (PB) to incorporate historically disadvantaged groups during the Workers' Party administration of 2001-04. This mechanism constitutes an intriguing example of how affirmative action can be used to improve decision-making processes and address social exclusion in urban contexts.

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