Researcher, Institute for Social Research (IRS), Member of the European Forum for Restorative Justice
Cristina Vasilescu is a senior researcher with over 14 years of expertise in social research, public policy analysis and evaluation, training for public administrations and EU project design and management. She has gained extensive experience in the following fields: participatory processes and social accountability in public administrations; performance management and evaluation of public institutions; justice policies and organisation of judicial offices; social inclusion and gender equality; sustainable development and EU Cohesion policy. In the last three years, she has been involved in the evaluation of the COnTatto project aimed at disseminating restorative justice and building restorative communities in the province of Como (Italy).
She is a member of the Italian Evaluation Association and of the European Forum for Restorative Justice. She participates in the working group on Restorative Cities.
Do you have any specific hopes or predictions for the future of urban security? (What will urban security look like in 30 years? What will be the main opportunities and risks?)
I hope that urban security policies are not read only in terms of punitive approaches and, hence, provide answers that integrate different types of policies (e.g. education, social inclusion, culture and sport, urban planning, restorative justice, environmental justice).
Why do you think it is so important to involve citizens in urban security practice?
Citizens can contribute to the policymaking process with their knowledge on the local context and issues at stake in urban security as well as with their collective memory of the past.
Engagement allows citizens to: become aware of the various aspects and complexities of the policymaking process; to take over part of the responsibility for dealing with urban security issues in their neighbourhoods/cities; to be more prone to collaborate, rather than oppose, with local authorities to ensure urban security. However, in order to be effective participation has to be meaningful and the participatory process has to take into consideration power asymmetries in the area where participation takes place.