In this part of D.Rad, we focus on the idea of public spaces as a sphere of encounter and negotiation of belonging. Conviviality in diverse urban spaces depends on everyday encounters in the public sphere. The spatial dimension of this sphere is a central element to understand the ‘social glue’ of cohesive societies. The manifold processes of polarisation, alienation and radicalisation many societies are currently experiencing co-occurs with an ongoing restriction of public spaces through securitisation, disappearance of non-commercial spaces and spatial segregation. This is mirrored in the ways individuals (micro) and groups (meso) are policing boundaries of belonging, not least in relation to increasingly radical concepts of “us” and “them”. Access to public space and public services is a key, and a lack thereof may cause radicalisation, emergence of right-wing populism included.
In order to reflect on the I-GAP spectrum within D.Rad and to offer an inclusive solution for radicalisation, WP9 identifies terms, policy concepts and strategies for local initiatives to develop public spaces as spaces of de-radicalisation. We combine the extensive academic literature on the role of public spaces for integrated societies with more practical insights from social work and urban planning. We will engage with experts of participation, urban planning, city administrations and citizen initiatives across Europe to identify promising cases and practices.