Social regeneration is about the transformative processes that, through institutional choices that embody cooperation and inclusion, develop opportunities and capabilities for weak categories, and transversally for society. The challenge of social regeneration can be addressed, in part, through organisational solutions increasingly identified with social economy organisations, since they are characterised by a social objective, cooperation and inclusive democratic governance. Besides the organisational element, Social Regeneration and Local Development provides a new perspective on interacting socio-economic factors, which can work in synergy with the social economy organisations model to promote and sustain social regeneration and well-being. Such elements include civic engagement and social capital, the nature of the welfare system, the use of physical assets in urban and rural areas, leadership, technology, and finance. By analysing organisational and contextual elements, this book offers an institutional perspective on how socio-economic systems can reply to challenges such as social and environmental degradation, financial crises, immigration, inequality, and marginalisation.
Silvia Sacchetti is an Associate Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Trento, Department of Sociology and Social Research, Italy.
Asimina Christoforou is an Adjunct Professor at the Department of International and European Economic Studies, Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece.
Michele Mosca is an Associate Professor of Economic Policy at the Department of Political Science, University of Naples, Federico II, Italy.
Introduction, pp. 1 – 2
“Regeneration” has been a topic of study and policy since the advent of industrialisation across the globe. The word has been associated mostly with urban and rural areas, as the capitalist organisation of production and the rise in growth were often accompanied by the intensification of disparities between urban and rural regions, the increase in inequality and poverty in the city slums and agricultural areas, the over-exploitation of the natural environment, the marginalisation of disadvantaged groups, and the degradation of the quality of life. These inequalities, resulting from material and non-material forms of deprivation, have been addressed in the literature and have often been related to conceptions and policy measures for so-called renewal and reconstruction with a focus on urban development and spatial planning and reconstruction.
However, limited attention has been given to the social and political dimensions of the physical space within which these localities face problems and pursue policies for regeneration. As a result, contextual historical and cultural factors, like power relations and social inequalities, which affect how problems are perceived, what institutional and organisational solutions are sought, and how policies are implemented, were overlooked and this hampered attempts to renewal and development. Social and political participation and cooperation play a crucial role in regeneration by enabling local actors and communities of interest to voice diverse needs and interests, including those of the marginalised and disadvantaged groups, to organize concerted efforts to discuss problems and promote solutions, and to create a public space of deliberative, democratic participation to re-assess values and priorities regarding the means and ends of development and welfare. There are theoretical and empirical studies from different parts of the world, which touch upon these aspects of urban planning and cover various approaches and dimensions of community- and culture-led regeneration that address the impact of the social economy on urban regeneration (see, for instance, Leary and McCarthy, 2013).
We feel that our volume takes the argument further by focusing on social regeneration, that is, on the processes of transformation based on inclusion and cooperation that are informed by the goal of improving peoples’ lives through participation and deliberation, or by the active involvement of beneficiaries and other communities of interest. This volume addresses specific modalities to achieve social regeneration by emphasising forms centred on inclusion and cooperation within and across territories, which require appropriate public spaces—organisational, relational, political, and physical spaces. These solutions, as social economy scholars have remarked, go beyond the use of material resources and the production of monetary outcomes and involve the use and production of relational goods, behavioural norms of reciprocity and cooperation, values of intergenerational solidarity and respect for the environment, as well as new models of people participating in the planning and delivery of general interest services.
We feel this approach is consistent with two of the most prominent challenges that societies face today, namely social exclusion and inequality. Territories reveal increasing difficulties in addressing the complexity of the answers required, and what can be a good solution for one locality may not be for another. The diversity of needs and aspirations across communities requires an effort to understand whether there are modalities which are conducive to the identification of needs and solutions which respect such diversity. The challenge is to identify decision-making methods that allow the recognition of needs which are not necessarily satisfied by traditional organisations, as well as the formulation of appropriate answers, building on the peculiarities of each territory and on the interests of multiple publics (Dewey, 1927; Sacchetti and Sugden, 2009; Sugden and Wilson, 2002).
Courtesy by Routledge.