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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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Kraków: Mistrzejowice Nowe and Rżąka (Robert Chrabąszcz / Maciej Frączek / Maciej Grodzicki / Tomasz Geodecki / Piotr Kopyciński / Stanisław Mazur / Michał Możdżeń)

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Robert Chrabąszcz, Maciej Frączek, Maciej Grodzicki, Tomasz Geodecki, Piotr Kopyciński, Stanisław Mazur, Michał Możdżeń

Kraków: Mistrzejowice Nowe and Rżąka

Abstract: The benefits of recent rapid economic development in Krakow are not shared equally across the city, with some areas lacking some basic elements of social infrastructure. Their residents show their dissatisfaction at the slow development pace through disengagement, frustration or even emigration, thus undermining the stability of these neighbourhoods.

1. Introduction

The chapter tells a story of two of Kraków’s peripheral neighbourhoods, which functionally are perceived as mostly dormitory suburbs. It shows clearly that, despite the high and sustained pace of Polish economic development, which can be most visibly seen in large cities such as Krakow, its fruits are distributed unequally. The chapter mostly demonstrates how integral parts of the city lack some basic types of social infrastructure, which can be seen as a failure of public governance to assure relatively equal access to public goods and services for diverse parts of cities’ populations. This can be perceived as both a cause and a consequence of lack of civil participation, which is visible, both among young and older populations. Young people complain about their voice being ignored in public debates, but at the same time do not seem to be highly motivated to raise their voice with connection to particular issues. The story also shows quite clearly that for the most active youth...

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