Spaces for local welfare : How planners can contribute to make social services more inclusive

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The combined effect of economic reorganization processes, the increasing precariousness in the job market and the shrinking of the national welfare systems, have progressively eroded traditional social protection measures and exacerbated the traits of social fragility in many European cities. The long phase of economic recession is linked both to the general worsening of the economic conditions of large parts of the population, and to the austerity policies and the drastic reduction of public expenditure on welfare. Devolution processes have played a significant role in reshaping the European welfare systems, underlining the relevance of the local dimension in the welfare policies and in the structure of social inequalities. The consequences are even more evident at the local scale, where local governments are facing the need of more adequate and effective welfare measures and policies with scarcer resources1. Moreover, the ageing of the population, increasing migrations flows, the more frequent mobility of the individuals and the impoverishment of many families have generated new heterogeneous needs, mining the traditional welfare systems and the administrative treatment of the needs. Meanwhile, the number of actors involved in the governance of social policies has increased, highlighting at the same time the potential of innovation and the limits in responding to these new challenges (Bricocoli, Sabatinelli, 2016). This new panorama seems to orient the social policies towards three interrelated criteria: integration, activation, localization. These aspects, variously articulated, are addressing the social policies toward the interactions of different sectors (public, private, third sector) and subjects (social housing, new fee-paying or shared services, light forms of assistance and care, private company welfare services, etc.), promoting the autonomy of the recipients and the resources that can be activated at the local level (Kazepov, 2010). In addition, a renovated attention to the spatial dimension of social services and its generative power (Bifulco, Vitale 2003; de Leonardis, 2003), mainly referred to the territorial contexts in their material and tangible sense, often inspires and orientates ideas and resources for innovative projects (Bricocoli, Sabatinelli, 2016).
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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