Fundació Catalunya Europa RE-CITY

Combating inequalities in the cities: 3rd Training Session for city councils

For several decades, inequality has increased throughout the world, especially in the main urban areas. During the Third Session of the training sessions, we talked about the knowledge network that has been promoted from Re-City to face this multidisciplinary challenge among the different actors that have their voice.

From the Observatory on Social Sustainability, a series of indicators have been established to measure inequality, its determinants and their consequences in order to make a diagnosis of inequality in urban areas. Re-City, with the participation of the municipalities of the AMB, has been encouraged to extend the data available on a local scale.

The evolution of economic inequality during the last fifty years has been determined by two very notorious changes: technological change (linked to information, communication, robotization and automation technologies) and the process of globalization economic The impact of these processes on inequality has been seen to be increased or counteracted by the action of public policies.

The analysis of the data collected in the municipalities is of great importance to carry out informed policies, for example, the use of the fiscal data of the inhabitants of the cities to obtain information about the economic characteristics of the population allows to adjust the provision of Public services to make it more equitable.

Then, there were different interventions of the representatives of the invited city councils, who presented their ideas and their solutions to the challenge of the inequality in which they are committed.

One of the main ideas comes from the City Council of Sant Feliu de Llobregat, the place where the social tariff [1] has been implemented since 2012. It was observed that municipal nursery schools and public music schools had a very determined socio-economic profile of assistants. The result was a remodeling of the administrative services, the functions of the city council workers and even the type of necessary jobs, to achieve a change of paradigm and offer equitable services to the citizens. Therefore, this new model (the social tariff), was transferred to the citizens through a specific communication plan.

From Sant Vicenç dels Horts, the initiatives that were carried out from its town council to make informed decisions were discussed. Since 1998, a table (called Economic and Employment Council) has been launched, with companies, social agents and the city council itself in order to collect data, which are contrasted with the opinions and needs of local entrepreneurs to adjust the educational offer to the demands of the municipality, creating thus active policies of labor market. From the city council, new Professional Training initiatives have been launched, responding to the needs of the town. In addition, he also presented a project, encouraged by its own resources, aimed at increasing the employment of women over 30 years [2]. A company that was carried out thanks to the analysis of the municipality's data.

Through the intervention of the City Council of Viladecans, there was really a need to analyze the data they have to encourage the cross-cutting work between the various areas of the town hall. At the end of 2015, coinciding with the end of the mandate, a barometer of social inclusion was carried out, which served to mark what should be the priority lines of action from the City Council. One of the main strengths of the city is the constant dialogue with the basic social workers, which has allowed the detection of certain policies that were not working, to replace them with other more effective ones. Finally, a project funded with European funds, the VilaWatt [3], whose main objective is to reduce energy poverty, has also been incorporated.

Regarding the Sant Adrià de Besòs Town Hall, the representative began by stating that there is a lack of local indicators and the possibility of having more data in the municipality would help create new strategies to end the difficulties of local authorities. a part of its population.

From Gavà's perspective, a reflection on the impacts and the effects of the administrations is indispensable, since the councils have the perception that they are forced to make reactive policies and actions. Sant Boi de Llobregat continued from this perspective explaining that the city councils have a reactive position before the decisions of other authorities and administrative levels. He made clear, the representative of the city council, who currently do not have sufficient data for many areas, a task that greatly hinders the work they do from the town councils.

To conclude with the interventions, from the City Council of El Prat de Llobregat, the problems related to housing were emphasized, more specifically, the lack of social housing. It is therefore essential to take action from the national level to create a social rental policy with social tariffs.

Guillem Espriu, coordinator of Social Policies of the AMB, concluded the meeting emphasizing that inequality is very complex and tends to simplify. There is a current need to obtain more data to guide public policies, an initiative that the AMB is pushing through partnerships with different actors. It is necessary to detect, at all times, the specificities of each case to avoid reproducing initiatives and actions, adapting them to each specific context, always looking for a horizontal institutional balance.

Inequality has been measured mainly at the state level, but cities tend to be more unequal than countries. According to the OECD, inequality is higher in large cities, with large disparities in income from one area from one city to another. The consequences of inequalities are visible in the metropolitan area, through the segregation of the neighborhoods and the uncontrolled expansion of the territory that constitutes a metropolis. There is room, therefore, to improve the analysis of inequality on a metropolitan scale, and this is the goal of the collaboration between the Metropolis network and the FCE. During the year 2019, three web seminars on inequality are being co-organized and data on inequalities for members of the association has been compiled.

[1] https://www.santfeliu.cat/go.faces?xmid=24261

[2] http://www.santvicencactiu.cat/ocupacio/politiques-actives/valorat

[3] http://www.viladecans.cat/es/vilawatt