It is yet another hot summer for Italy, apparently in difficulty in deploying a credible vision to shape the future of a country that cannot (and must not) escape its history as a gateway to the Mediterranean. In contrast to the predominant political positions, a substantial part of Italy vigorously claims the role of a country catalyst of diversity, cultures and stories that meet (and collide) with as many others perspectives intrinsic to the Italian socio-economic context.
The challenges deriving from the migration problem, deformed by the media, must necessarily be taken into consideration in relation to an Italian population increasingly at risk of poverty or social exclusion (equal to 28.9% – approximately 17 million and 407 thousand individuals).
Poverty is a faceted social issue affecting people at risk of low income (20%), severely materially deprived (10,1%) and living in families with a very low work intensity (11,8%) or cannot access services and products, for example energetic supply (16%). Despite the detection of some improvements, it is estimated that in 2017 five million and fifty-eight thousand people are living in a condition of absolute poverty and that disparities between regions remain significant.
Shared responsibility mechanism to fight poverty
If it is true that “social value” derives from the inclusion, engagement and enhancement of people, we must then engage in a systemic effort of researching and monitoring social impact initiatives, developing new critical perspective to access and understand phenomena such as those of local systems combining material and immaterial resources of cities.
It is thanks to this tension to adopt unprecedented and open perspectives for critical observation and radical thought that Plural Systems take shape, capable of fuelling the construction of holistic solutions to common problems originating from poverty, from the difficulty of adopting reception mechanisms and effective integration: in short, to activate shared responsibility mechanisms.
Visions of inclusive futures
Some months ago we launched our project Collective-Lab: a decentralised social innovation lab whose aim is to research and understand the ways in which civil society organizations, local administrations and citizens of the major Italian cities (Milano, Bologna, Napoli and Palermo) are implementing transformative practices to envision an inclusive future for their communities.
In fact, within this project, innovation is a tool to re-imagine infrastructures and contents, gather new energy from on field actions and produce new frameworks for significance.
Thus, we started our explorations one city at a time, stimulating the creation of spaces for shared considerations to trace and understand already existing and potential synergies; spaces of opportunity for testing and accelerating the impact of what is already happening.
We will soon share with you what happened in the first two cities, where we met those we want to define as the new activists of social innovation.
Meanwhile, with our partners and the organizations that support us in this learning process, we have thought of guiding principles, of coordinates that can give direction to these local explorations. Aware of the strong political significance of the issues addressed, we have brought them together in a document, a Manifesto, which we open to discussion and the opinions of anyone who wants to participate in the ambition to support new perspectives for the development of inclusive communities.