The movement for developing “Restorative Cities” in Europe and beyond has been growing in the past years. A series of successful local partnerships and initiatives have been established in Albania (Tirana), Australia (Canberra), Belgium (Leuven), Canada (Vancouver), Italy (Como, Lecco, Tempio Pausania), New Zealand/Aotearoa (Whanganui), Poland (Wroclaw) and the United Kingdom (Bristol).
They differ in terms of population, socio-cultural backgrounds, economic and political contexts and thus also in terms of issues that could lead to conflict, polarisation, hate and violence. In common, they have the sense that technology and security-oriented responses may not be sufficient to respond to some challenges. Thus, they are all experimenting, often pioneering, how to build a Restorative City, which is not a mere sum of restorative justice practices and restorative-oriented initiatives in the aftermath of harm and crime. Instead, it reflects a desire to challenge existing governance models by activating and enabling citizens to develop the skills and organisational structures to resolve issues in which they are involved.
Restorative Cities build connections between citizens, local institutions, schools, NGOs and other organisations active in the neighbourhoods, prisons, probation agencies, police forces, religious communities, and any other key-actor having a role in promoting safe, just and relational cities. Restorative Cities also look to connect the individual to their community, at a local and national level. This allows the individual to understand the patterns of society and therefore the importance of engagement with it.
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