In 2013 the Municipality of Perugia launched the European project SHARE MY EUROPEAN CITY (SME-City) with the Italian Forum for Urban Security acting as a partner in charge of the dissemination of the project.
The project SME-City is implemented in areas where situations of social conflict, including intense conflict, arise between young people, residents and shopkeepers over the use of public spaces.
Each group needs to use the space in a certain way and at a certain time, which can increase the risk of a communication breakdown between the different stakeholders as each group protects their own individual interests; this can lead to a gradual erosion of social capital and cohesion in these areas, as well as a heightened feeling of insecurity, both actual and perceived. In these kinds of situation the visibility of anti-social behaviour increases (i.e. acts of vandalism and bullying, public disturbances and indecent acts in a public place).
The project aims to provide an opportunity for constructive conflict management.
Social workers will be working in the areas involved in the project to offer the target groups, in a creative way, the opportunity to participate and have a leading role in city life.
The project will focus on all the different stakeholders and its programmes will target them all; each stakeholder represents an integral part of the issue (if the issue exists) and therefore an integral part of the solution.
SME-City will test a social mediation programme by working in Borgorete in Perugia, Italy, Arcola in London, UK, and INTRAS Foundation in Valladolid, Spain.
This programme will be developed through participatory planning to come up with common actions that will counter the conflict situations that exist in the target areas.
The University of Business and Health Sciences (Poland) will conduct research into the methodology.
The research will examine the conditions that can support an act of social mediation in conflict situations that have developed in a specific area where social gatherings occur around night-time venues.
The final conference of the project will be held in the first week of December 2014 in Bologna.
Stay tuned for updates!