Mobilising voluntary contributions in public urban regeneration – a review

Annika Agger, Jesper Ole Jensen, Jacob Norvig Larsen

Publikation: KonferencebidragPaperForskning


Research on volunteerism indicates that one third of all adults in Denmark regularly contribute with voluntary labour in social relief work, community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, or otherwise. In this paper we ask if and how urban regeneration might benefit from the apparently strong growth in voluntarism. Although there seems to be a large potential for involving volunteers and voluntary organisations, systematic analysis of recent years’ urban regeneration projects in Denmark shows that the sustainability of voluntary contributions is limited. While initial enrolling of citizens in short-term projects often has proven quite successful, permanent embedding of projects in voluntary community-based settings is a tremendous challenge. The purpose of the paper is, firstly, to outline and discuss different understandings on ‘voluntarism’, and secondly, to propose a categorization of the different ways voluntarism may interact with semi-public and public sector urban regeneration activities. Our research interest concerns questions such as:

‘How is the term ‘voluntary’ being understood and practiced in urban regeneration?’; ‘Can positive experience from civil society projects and associations be transferred to the context of publicly initiated urban regeneration?’ and ‘Does the urban regeneration offer potentials for developing voluntarism addressing problems in the local area?’.

The paper is based on a review of literature on volunteerism, particularly in relation to community development, urban policy, etc. In addition to this, the paper presents results from a survey exploring the extent and character of volunteerism in a number of integrated urban regeneration projects. The paper proposes a systematic overview of experiences with voluntary inputs and engagement in relation to public policy arenas and activities, particularly within urban policy and the community development fields. A categorization is proposed as regards different ways and models of civic engagement and major challenges are outlined.

The paper is first step of a research project exploring potential of voluntary labour and voluntary associations in publicly subsidised urban regeneration. Empirical data will be collected through in-depth case studies in selected communities in both metropolitan neighbourhoods and smaller market towns.
Publikationsdato23 jun. 2011
Antal sider13
StatusUdgivet - 23 jun. 2011
BegivenhedEuropean Urban Research Association Conference 2011 - The City without Limits - København, Danmark
Varighed: 23 jun. 201125 jun. 2011


KonferenceEuropean Urban Research Association Conference 2011 - The City without Limits

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