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Co-governance: a key driver of district regeneration

Nowadays, in our European cities, political and civic participation is still undermined by several challenges. Just for mentioning some of those, digital transformation is giving several opportunities of shortening distance with representative systems while at the same time increasing people isolation, and threatening each person’s capabilities to distinguish real news from fake contents.

Cities are moving incredibly faster from spaces of living and sharing to areas of experience consumption, stressing urban wellbeing, sharping housing costs and triggering gentrification processes. Moreover, in rural areas, small towns, as in the case of drOp project, abandon, economic degrowth and civic isolation are the main threats.

These are some of the reasons why drOp project is piloting a model of social and economic local development aiming to transform social housing districts into inclusive smart neighborhoods into rural areas. Precisely, the social model has the ambition to introduce participatory-oriented urban regeneration strategies in rural European towns, transitioning from a classic local government-centric approach to a co-governance model where citizens play a central role in urban transformations, bridging the gap between what people needs and what polices and strategies of urban transformation address.

We started exploring the concept of co-governance and its contemporary applications across Europe, from Barcelona to Naples, comparing with more size-related cases. Through the literature review and case study analysis, which will be presented in a future report, partners designed the drOp co-governance model, equating international evidences with local indexes and indicators of the three pilot cities, namely Ermua, Elva and Matera.

The drOp co-governance model, designed for small peripheral cities, at neighborhood dimension, adopts a multistakeholder cooperation approach based on a 5P partnership structure, emphasizing the role that NGOs and cultural and creative industries have for the creation of a participatory urban model, basing on the case of Matera, during the European Capital of Culture 2019.

The model offers an integrated toolbox comprising three pillars: diagnosis, local task forces, and granting. The diagnosis involves identifying local characteristics and barriers to inform social engagement strategies. Local task forces, composed of diverse stakeholders, drive local projects and contribute to policy development. Granting programs support community projects addressing local needs and fostering participation.

Through these efforts, the drOp co-governance model seeks to test an integrated methodology to foster participation and local civic leadership in small peripheral areas of our continent, introducing a new way of approaching and leading processes of urban regeneration in these contexts. The model has started to be implemented and all three cities, through a workshop-based path of participation.

Other knowledge

Co-creation as a means to achieve smart and inclusive neighbourhoods