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Client: Realdania, the municipality of Gladsaxe, and the municipality of Odense
Category: Analysis and consulting
Year: 2015

Balanced home living

- A new perspective on the challenges and potentials of social housing

As part of a larger team GivRum has been addressing the social challenges that exists in the country’s neglected neighborhoods. Through the last decades these areas has been subjects for great investments. These investments, however, has not had the desired effects and it is therefore imperative to focus on the development of alternative methods if we are to overcome the challenges. In Balanced home living we recommend weighting a political support of local initiatives and making local residents co-creators of the positive development already seen in these neglected neighborhoods and which are required from all parts of society.

The Challenge
The areas of social housing has for decades been exposed to a myriad of well-meaning citizen involving efforts in order to activate the residents and get them to climb the social ladder. Combined with an increased attention from the outside world these efforts has largely focused on the neglected areas as breeding grounds for many of problems the society faces. Although, it does not seem that the efforts have the desired impact.

There are still several potentials in these areas that, if being handled right, can support and accelerate a positive development towards a more socially integrated and equal society. The challenges in this contexts especially focuses on:

  • A distinct project culture that weakens the ability to engage in trusted relationships.
  • The resident’s limited social network outside these neglected residential areas
  • The constantly and ongoing reminder of the bad prerequisite of the residents

In other words there are significant issues related to social efforts in the areas in relation to strengthening the social cohesion. If these efforts are turned to be successful on the other hand, it will be reflected in an acceleration of the positive development seen in the statistics on employment, crime, the feeling of security, and integration.

In collaboration with Realdania, the municipality of Gladsaxe and the municipality of Odense GivRum faced one of the biggest challenges head on. These challenges of the social housing areas needed to be solved once and for all. Balanced home living had three focuses: physical space, organizational, and social initiatives, which provided the foundation for the formation of three teams – GivRum was part of Team Social.

The focus of the team was to identify new instruments within the organization, social events and culture, which has the potential to enhance the effects of the many existing initiatives, to create a better reputation of the social housing areas, and to strengthen the social cohesion internally as well as externally.

The Solution
Entitled “From cradle to job” Team Social worked problem-oriented, holistic, and with a focus on long-term perspectives to push the development of the social housing areas in a positive direction.

The main focus for GivRum in this project was an active youth- and citizen involving process, and a supporting effort of the potentials of co-creating sustainable solutions for themselves and by themselves – a fundamental approach for everything we do in GivRum. Balanced home living based this work on three areas:

  • Empowerment and inclusion of the citizens in decisions that affect their own lives and future. It’s a process about creating a local sense of belonging and ownership.
  • Accountability. Together with an increased influence is an increased responsibility that in over time can be entrusted the residents.
  • Facilitation and support for citizen-driven initiatives are key methods that can help to promote social cohesion and mobility in these areas. Amongst other aspects It is about the identification of needs, supply of resources, and about building strong networks and relations.

In preparation of the solutions GivRum sought to work with initiatives and recommendations to mobilize existing resources in obligating, appreciative and inclusive communities. The aim was that these would strengthen social cohesion by providing the residents with easier ways to engage and launch their own initiatives in collaboration with external networks, companies, organizations and institutions.

Active youth- and citizen involvement

Under the heading From cradle to job GivRum worked with the local citizens with a primary focus on youth engagement. Based on interviews with local volunteers and field studies from respectively Vollsmose and Værebro Park, we examined the potentials of letting local young people form the foundation for the social development, and examined the possibilities of how to establish stronger links between these social housing areas and the rest of society.

New narrative
Several studies show that the development of social housing areas is turning. More and more people are being employed and fewer get into trouble with the police and public authorities. The story of “the ghettos” remains unchanged, and one of the key elements for the study of GivRum focused on how to develop a new narrative of these areas. A narrative that is forward looking and nuanced rather than being stagnant in an outdated tale.

Change of culture
There are many examples of successful ways of addressing local challenges, when users are involved in finding the solutions. However, if the potential is to truly be redeemed, it requires a changed mindset of the Town Council, in the municipal administrations and above all among the citizens. It is a transitional phase in which citizens must take a greater part in public debate and engage in the development of both their neighborhood as well as society in general. In return, the public institutions must be prepared to entrust the responsibility to and engage the citizens directly in the decision-making.

 

Info

An organizational, a physical and social team should give suggestions for new solutions to the challenges of the neglected social housing areas – GivRum was part of the Team Social, which also consisted of:

Through interviews and field studies we collected knowledge from respectively Værebro Park and Vollsmose, which formed the foundation for our work.

Read more about Balanced home living here

Download the report from Team Social here

 

Concept

Active youth- and citizen involvement

Under the heading From cradle to job GivRum worked with the local citizens with a primary focus on youth engagement. Based on interviews with local volunteers and field studies from respectively Vollsmose and Værebro Park, we examined the potentials of letting local young people form the foundation for the social development, and examined the possibilities of how to establish stronger links between these social housing areas and the rest of society.

New narrative
Several studies show that the development of social housing areas is turning. More and more people are being employed and fewer get into trouble with the police and public authorities. The story of “the ghettos” remains unchanged, and one of the key elements for the study of GivRum focused on how to develop a new narrative of these areas. A narrative that is forward looking and nuanced rather than being stagnant in an outdated tale.

Change of culture
There are many examples of successful ways of addressing local challenges, when users are involved in finding the solutions. However, if the potential is to truly be redeemed, it requires a changed mindset of the Town Council, in the municipal administrations and above all among the citizens. It is a transitional phase in which citizens must take a greater part in public debate and engage in the development of both their neighborhood as well as society in general. In return, the public institutions must be prepared to entrust the responsibility to and engage the citizens directly in the decision-making.

 

Info

An organizational, a physical and social team should give suggestions for new solutions to the challenges of the neglected social housing areas – GivRum was part of the Team Social, which also consisted of:

Through interviews and field studies we collected knowledge from respectively Værebro Park and Vollsmose, which formed the foundation for our work.

Read more about Balanced home living here

Download the report from Team Social here

 

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