Constructing Common Meeting Places: A Strategy for Mitigating the Social Isolation of Disadvantaged Neighbourhoods?

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Community planning has undergone changes in direction over time, from a traditional neighbourhood approach seeking to ensure well-functioning local communities to a newer focus on the feasibility of neighbourhood-based urban renewal for combating segregation. The latter initially concentrated on the internal social relations of disadvantaged neighbourhoods, but nowadays the focus for interventions is changing towards opening up such neighbourhoods to improve their external relations with more affluent surrounding districts. This article unfolds the visions related to a new urban planning strategy for constructing common meeting places inside disadvantaged neighbourhoods, which seem closely related to the political discourses about the need for opening these neighbourhoods up. Specifically, the article scrutinises the visions for two meeting places currently being constructed in two Danish neighbourhoods characterised as disadvantaged, and it examines which problems these meeting places seek to solve and how they are intended to provide for publicness. The study reveals that, despite being part of the same strategic funding programme and having similar problem framings, it is claimed that the two future meeting places will provide for publicness in distinct and context-specific ways. Furthermore, we show that the way problem representations entangled in specific political discourses are being manifested in specific local planning strategies may have contingent, yet potentially pervasive social and physical consequences for local neighbourhoods.
Original languageEnglish
JournalUrban Planning
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)486–498
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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