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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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Venice: Marghera and Mestre (Francesca Campomori / Francesco Della Puppa)

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Francesca Campomori and Francesco Della Puppa

Venice: Marghera and Mestre

Abstract: Best-known for its historic cultural centre, Venice has areas of social marginalisation where young people feel stigmatised, perceive distance and mistrust of public institutions and feel they do not belong. Social policies are trying to support positive actions by locals, although the lack of economic and human resources make this difficult.

1. Introduction

Venice has long had an international reputation as one of the great cities of arts and culture and each year is literally invaded by tourists from all over the world. Venice is also located in a wealthy region in the North East of Italy (Veneto). Nevertheless, the surroundings of historic Venice display marginalised areas and some ghetto neighbourhoods. The aim of this chapter is to shed light on this part of the city from the point of view of the strengths and the weaknesses in the services and policies devoted to young people, i.e. one of the categories most affected by the economic downturn. At the same time the chapter intends to disclose evidence of socially innovative practices implemented both by public actors and civil society and also by young people themselves. These practices try to combat the feeling of social exclusion through the active engagement of citizens in the life of the deprived areas.

In the next section the chapter introduces the main features of the two neighbourhoods (Mestre and Marghera) we investigated. In the...

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