Bricolage urbanism for urban social cohesion

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
It is expected that 83% of the European population will be living in urban areas by 2050. This prospect brings enormous pressure on European cities that are already facing serious challenges due to financial crisis, globalization, demographic change, increasing flows of migration, disparities among and within cities, inner city decay, urban sprawl, climate change etc. These challenges have a cumulative effect on deepening social exclusion, social polarization and increasing urban violence and spatial segmentation (Urban-Net, 2011; Dhéret, 2015). For the aforementioned reasons, social cohesion resurfaced in the public sphere and became a foremost need for the contemporary European society, centring on the rights of the individual. Europe has to deal with rapid and radical changes, which upset the mechanisms that have traditionally ensured the maintenance of social bonds. European cities are delegated to play a leading role and tackle the challenge of inclusive growth. They agglomerate all the complexities of social life on a concentrated territory, and they import/export factors of cohesion and fragmentation of their own system on a daily basis. Furthermore, the views of how social fragmentation and cohesion should be addressed vary significantly among groups and people, but also among different types of actors within cities (Urban- Net, 2011). The emergent call for socially cohesive cities is proved by the recent provision that approximately half of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for the period 2014–2020 will be spent in cities, enabling them to design and implement cohesion policies and test new ideas in urban development (European Union, 2014). In the quest for urban social cohesion macro-structural and local reinforcing processes must interact and “people based” policies need to be complemented by “people and place” ones (Meegan and Mitchell, 2001). For socially cohesive urban futures Urban-Net report (2011) recommends re-orienting current modes (academic and practice) of urban design and planning towards “socio-spatial cohesion” and “environmental sustainability” at multiple scale levels. Developing a common European methodology through an urban social cohesion based approach, the report argues for a shift from the global-metropolitan to the “local” dimension with particular attention to participation and empowerment of inhabitants of neighbourhoods.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Definite Space – Fuzzy Responsibility, Prague, 13-16th July, 2015
All rights reserved