Investing in 'Welcoming Spaces' in Europe: revitalizing shrinking areas by hosting non-EU migrants


This proposal aims at ‘rethinking’ ways forward in creating inclusive space (see OECD 2016) in such a way that it will contributed to the revitalisation of these places and the successful integration of migrants in demographically and economically shrinking areas. WELCOMING SPACES aims to search for new ways to merge two policy challenges: how to contribute to the revitalisation of shrinking areas while also offering space for the successful integration of NON-EU migrants in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (‘leaving no one behind’). new types of government-citizen-migrant relations. Our point of departure are existing examples of places of ‘welcoming spaces’ which do exist in some places, but often remain invisible and dispersed. Examples of small towns and villages offsetting declining population by attracting non-EUinternational migrants are found in various European counties in Italy, Spain, but also Germany, the Netherlands and even Poland. Such initiatives to create ‘welcoming spaces’ and initiating new types of government-citizen-migrant engagement are often citizen-based, but can equally be the outcome of initiatives by governments, NGOs or business, or they can be migrant-based. Going against the current of ‘anti-migration’, most initiatives are highly contested. Their success seems to depend on a combination of collective action, multi-stakeholder collaboration and institutional innovations. Given the local or regional scale of most of these initiatives, the dispersion in space and political sensitivity, much of what is happening around these ‘welcoming spaces’ remains under the radar. The possibilities for upscaling such initiatives are hence underexplored. The programme aims to answer the following question: How to achieve inclusive and sustainable development in shrinking regions, contributing to revitalisation while providing opportunities for the successful integration of non-EU migrants?

Project details

Unibo Team Leader: Pierluigi Musarò

Unibo involved Department/s:
Dipartimento di Sociologia e Diritto dell'Economia

Universiteit Utrecht(Netherlands)

Other Participants:
Forum Internazionale Ed Europeo Di Ricerche Sull'Immigrazione-Fieri (Italy)
Universidade Da Coruña (Spain)
ALMA MATER STUDIORUM - Università di Bologna (Italy)
Universität Siegen (Germany)
Fundacja Ocalenie (Poland)
Szkola Glówna Handlowa w Warszawie (Warsaw School of Economics) (Poland)
Fundacion Cepaim Accion Integral Con Migrantes (Spain)

Total Eu Contribution: Euro (EUR) 2.928.002,50
Project Duration in months: 48
Start Date: 01/02/2020
End Date: 31/01/2024

Cordis webpage
Project website

Reduced inequalities This project contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.