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Strategies for Post-Covid-19 Socioeconomic Recovery: Urban and Territorial Development for Social Cohesion – a workshop by EUROSOCIAL

29 May 2021


On 27 May 2021, the workshop with title “Strategies for Post-Covid-19 Socioeconomic Recovery: Urban and Territorial Development for Social Cohesion” took place.


The seminar was introduced and concluded by Anaclaudia Rossbach on behalf of Cities Alliance, with the moderation of the Secretary-General of the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR), Martín Guillermo-Ramírez. In his introductory remarks, Mr. Guillermo-Ramírez described the present moment as a new period for territorial integration in the European Union, comparable to the time of the Maastricht treaty, while emphasizing the importance of developing territories in a sustainable way in order to prepare them for the next generations.

Cristina Fernández Ramírez y Maite Rodríguez presented the PRINAU-SICA and Plan 3R projects (Central America and the Dominican Republic) on subnational policymaking and urban planning in Central America and the Dominican Republic. The projects sought to find regional particularities and elaborate a transversal perspective to development initiatives in the region, also taking into account factors such as gender, human rights, democratic management, among others. Its ultimate goal is to create safe, inclusive, equitative and sustainable cities, reducing socioeconomic inequalities and mitigating the effects of climate change. Due to the urbanistic particularities of the region, a significant amount of research planification was dedicated to informal settlements, which account for a significant part of urban settlements and are often associated with socioeconomic and infrastructural vulnerabilities. The presentation ended with the introduction of three project ideas introduced in the framework of PRINAU-SICA and Plan 3R: the regional mapping of informal settlements, the strengthening of municipal processes of urban and territorial planning, and the Regional Programme for the Improvement of Neighbourhoods in Informal Settlements (PREMBAI).

Afterwards, Roberta Medda-Windischer, Senior Researcher at EURAC, showcased the EUMINT (Euroregions, Migration and Integration) project. This project, developed in the Italian regions of Südtirol-Alto Adige, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto and Trentino, and in the Austrian States of Tyrol and Carinthia, focused on the teaching of common values to immigrant and refugee populations in the area and their integration with the local community. The methods and approaches to the teaching of common values were based on a “logic of togetherness”, as opposed to unilateral assimilation, which focused on bilateral exchanges between locals and foreigners, while seeking to present common values in the context of daily life and social interactions. As a result of the project, a board game was created which situated values in people’s personal stories, thus fostering interactions between locals and migrants through sharing of personal experiences. The project was highly successful, with participants reporting to have increased their knowledge of common values and perceiving them in a positive light.

The third presentation, by Julio Briones Molina, a researcher on urban mobility at EUROCLIMA, focused on Mr. Molina’s research topic within the programme, i.e. Urban Mobility and Green Recovery in Latin America. Several such models and initiatives were presented, as well as challenges associated with them. Special attention was given to experiences in bicycle-friendly urban planning, car-free zones, among other topics. Examples from both large and mid-sized cities in Latin America were used.

Thereafter followed two lectures on urban and local governance. The first one, by the Subdirector for Urban Policy of the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda of Spain, Ángela de la Cruz Mera, focused on multi-level governance in Spain. Albeit a complex, interinstitutional phenomenon, multi-level governance is an essential part of the democratic process in decentralised States such as Spain. Matters related to budgetary arrangements, environmental policy and the establishment of minimum standards, as well as the Spanish Urban Agenda, inspired by its international counterparts, were discussed. In the second lecture, the Colombian recovery and post-Covid sustainable growth strategies were presented by María Fernanda Cortés of the National Planning Department of Colombia. The lecture put into perspective the objectives, components and strategies the Colombian government seeks to pursue in order to ensure a sustainable, inclusive and democratic post-pandemic recovery in the short and long terms.

Finally, two lectures on social inequalities in Latin America were presented. The first one, by Olga Segovia, researcher at the Chile-based SUR Corporation of Social Sciences and Education, had as its main theme the “Challenges and opportunities of an urban recovery with gender equality”. The lecturer emphasized the importance of public policies directed at ensuring that women are in a position to gain economic autonomy, as well as to combat the negative impacts on women of the post-pandemic changes to education and work. Due to the fact that housework and childcare duties often fall to women, which alongside their work-related duties, place in them a greater burden in comparison to men. Territorial aspects of gender inequality were also covered, while stressing the need to formulate tools for urban policymaking that take gender-related aspects into consideration, as well as the potentialities and challenges in neighbourhoods to address the aforementioned issues. The second lecture on social inequalities, by Diego Vázquez from Oxfam Mexico, covered methodological aspects of studying social inequalities in Latin America, proposing three models. Each model was briefly presented, alongside its advantages and disadvantages to the study of inequalities. The models focused on themes such as access to healthcare, security, housing, education and standards of living.

After a Q&A and debate session, the event was concluded with a statement by Matilde Ceravolo, Deputy Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union in Colombia.

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