Urban Empowerment: Cultures of Participation and Learning
This pilot project addressed one of the most critical urban challenges today namely, how can social and economic exclusion as well as socio-spatial segregation be resolved in exposed urban areas. Instead of seeing stigmatized areas as intrinsically problematic, this project explored alternative routes to positive urban change by investigating the potential of increased citizen participation and empowerment in local urban development processes. The overall aim was to develop civic and institutional capacity-building processes directly linked to changes in the study area.
The project has been actively involved in or initiated ten capacity-building processes linked to different activities. The primary and concrete result of the project is the support of, and engagement in the capacity-building processes in and of themselves. However, the working of these capacity-building processes has also been analysed, leading to critical reflection and theory development on how such processes best can be implemented and supported. On a broader scale, the society needs to undergo a change we labeled as institutional transformation (in Swedish: omgestaltning), which may be considered as the social counterpart to transition (omställning).