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Local Matters

How neighbourhoods and services affect the social inclusion and exclusion of young people in European cities

Edited By Simon Güntner, Louis Henri Seukwa, Anne Marie Gehrke and Jill Robinson

Where young people grow up makes a decisive difference to their life chances. Drawing on case studies from ten European cities, this book looks at how the local environment and the services available for young people affect their socialization. What comes to the fore are the local matters. On the one hand, there are experiences of discrimination and marginalization due to distance and isolation, decay and neglect but also related to piecemeal and top-down approaches to youth and social services. On the other, we find signs of positive transformation and drivers of social innovation: community building projects, the revitalization of abandoned places, appreciative approaches to servicing and a whole array of tactics that young people deploy to overcome their daily struggles.

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Athens: Aghia Sophia and Elefsina (Stella Tryfona / Maria Pothoulaki / Pyrros Papadimitriou)

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Stella Tryfona, Maria Pothoulaki and Pyrros Papadimitriou

Athens: Aghia Sophia and Elefsina

Abstract: In Athens, administrative reforms and a macro-level policy approach that fails to regard local needs have made the impact of the economic crisis worse. In both research areas with their diverse social groups, private initiatives play a key role in filling the gap left by public local services and have paved the way for various social innovations.

1. Introduction to the case study areas and their location in the city-wide context

Throughout the years the Greek landscape has sustained a number of modifications at administrative division level, with the most recent and major alteration being the introduction of the administrative reform plan “Kallikratis” in 2010.The administrative reform plan “Kallikratis” brought about radical changes at the local administrative level with the merging of many former municipalities and communities into larger municipal units in terms of population, capacity, service delivery, administrative area and range (Law 3852/2010).This reform plan aimed at accelerating decentralization by increasing the administrative and financial independence at the local government level, decentralizing services, attaining economies of scale and rationalizing the use of financial resources in the municipalities (Ministry of Interior, Decentralization and Electronic Government 2010). Nevertheless, the visualization of this reform plan is far from reality. More specifically, while a large number of responsibilities were transferred from central government to local government level, the state funds to municipalities were reduced by 60% (Ministry of Interior, Decentralization and...

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