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Community development


Generate community, circular cities, co-working spaces, solidarity and civic cohesion for citizens of all ages. OCH is the first experiment of community-based participatory concierge in Bologna, IT


Who is behind this?

Gabriele Bottin

Associazione per l'Educazione Giovanile - A.P.E. onlus



Idea pitch

The project idea is to identify and set up 6 condominium halls, where a path of social rapprochement will be implemented through the provision of free and mutual activities and services for neighbourhood residents. This is an innovative project that aims at transforming the common condominium areas (in many cases in disuse) into active, shared and animated places. The citizens themselves will decide, organize and implement activities that they consider useful to the whole community.

Where will your project idea take place?

Bologna area, Italy

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

The social structure of the districts involved in the project is composed mainly of elderly people, first and second generation immigrant families, students and single workers. We want to involve citizens in the improvement of the quality of life, offer proximity services to citizens and create reference points for all the community, collect the problems identified by the citizens, stimulate mutual aid and collaboration among residents, and pursue shared solutions in a co-participatory perspective. We want to create a physical space of proximity both professional and recreational, that generates trust between people; we want to activate co-working spaces, care services and workshops in which citizens themselves get involved to foster the welfare of the whole neighbourhood.

Who are you doing it for?

Through the project action we want to reach all individuals and families living in and around the identified spaces. Specifically, the target groups are elderly people, minors, families, Italian and foreign women of the different neighborhoods involved. The project expects to involve in its activities about 200 people, both for coordination, for the use of spaces, for the participation in workshops, and to benefit from the services provided. Volunteers and participants will be identified through the regular condominium meetings where the project action will be explained in advance and collective needs will be collected. The neighborhood will be involved through open days, where volunteers will explain to neighbors the project and will put into practice the various activities of OCH.

How do you plan to get there?

The project is intended to be part of the 15-minute circular city model. The preliminary action of the project will be, in collaboration with local institutions, the identification of interested administrators and strategic buildings in the different districts. Through the action 1, together with volunteers residing in the 6 condominiums, we will proceed with the first coordination meetings to carry out the analysis and mapping of community needs and identify the necessary resources for them. Through the second action (in agreement with F.I.U.), local actors and volunteers will be involved in implementing the various activities and will help equipping the spaces. During the third phase, volunteers will be activated to provide the different project activities, such as: babysitting, co-working spaces, study support for minors, music classes, physical activity classes for all ages, training workshops (etc..). The activities and services will be decided on the basis of the needs identified in phase 1, and the skills of the citizens involved. As a complementary action, the concierge condominium will be activated for the delivery of groceries and the collection and solving of various home maintenance needs. In the fourth action, the course of the project will be evaluated with all the actors involved and possible follow-ups will be decided.

What are the expected results?

The expected result is an increase in confidence among people, citizen activism in among the involved districts, and the sense of community. We want to promote the concept of circularity and solidarity through new tools that can increase the level of well-being of citizens. The change will bring the availability of physical spaces meant for work, leisure and sociality. These activities will especially support citizens in vulnerable situations. In short, we want to transform conflicting spaces in places of sociability, incubators of ideas and innovative proposals, in order to promote the model of the city in 15 minutes that leads to ensure an effective community welfare throughout the city.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

The project is structured to make the citizens protagonists of their daily life. The activities will be decided by them according to the needs of the whole community, the skills and competences provided by the individuals and the personal network of contacts in/of the neighbourhood. In addition to the opportunity to participate in the coordination and decision-making process, the beneficiaries will take part for free in all the workshops and meetings provided. Together, through discussion and debate on the use of resources, they will decide on the equipment to be purchased and made available at the common rooms . Participation in the project will also help beneficiaries to understand how to better relate to institutions and effectively manage a project in community form.

Why is this idea important to you?

Since 1998 A.P.E. onlus works in a complex neighbourhood of Bologna, supporting children and families at risk of social exclusion, educational poverty and school drop-out. The association in these 20 years has hosted hundreds of children and dozens of educators and volunteers. The project team is composed of the president, the project manager, the educational coordinator and three trainers. The idea is linked to the necessity of supporting families and individuals, minors and adults outside of conventional spaces. Many people live in conditions of isolation and loneliness. Through the huge network created by A.P.E., which includes public and private, secular and religious entities, we want to intervene to revive common spaces in all the neighbourhoods of the city and generate networks.

€ 43000,-

Total budget

€ 35000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses


What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would like to receive advice on how to evaluate the social impact of the project, and we would like to know other organizations in Europe that have similar projects to network and exchange ideas.



Idea created on April 23, 2021
Last edit on April 26, 2021

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