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From Exclusion to Participation: Social Mediation in Public Housing

Public Spaces: Times of Crisis and Change

ISBN: 978-1-78635-464-8, eISBN: 978-1-78635-463-1

Publication date: 5 November 2016


The chapter aims to analyze an innovative intervention in the context of public housing in Italy. Over the past decade, in Italy, neighborhoods with a high concentration of public housing have increasingly become spaces of exclusion, where conflicts are rife, due to a multiplicity of factors (e.g., immigration, social deprivation, ageing, health problems). In particular, because of the global economic crisis and the impoverishment of Italian families, competition and quarrels between lower middle-class natives and migrants have been exacerbated, undermining the recent fragile pattern of social cohesion. However, housing and urban policies are still residual, especially in the political agenda of mid-sized towns, which witness an ungoverned urban growth not always accompanied by a concurrent complete recognition of citizenship. Moreover, policies tackling rising social tension to reduce or prevent it are lacking. Nonetheless, at a local level, some more dynamic municipalities are starting to promote original initiatives also thanks to the sharing of the best national and international practices. In particular we wish to focus on the social mediation processes implemented to prevent conflict and promote sustainable cohabitation, improving relationships between neighbors and fostering empowerment and participation. In this perspective, the chapter explores a two-year project of social mediation for households living in public housing which has been developed in the Marche region.




The authors would like to thank the partners of the project and the public housing tenants who participated in it. This chapter is the result of the authors’ common experiences and reflections. However, Micol Bronzini wrote paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 4 and Carla Moretti wrote paragraph 5. Both authors contributed to the conclusions.


Bronzini, M. and Moretti, C. (2016), "From Exclusion to Participation: Social Mediation in Public Housing", Public Spaces: Times of Crisis and Change (Research in Urban Sociology, Vol. 15), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 373-399.



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