People walking in front of a mural

Working Group on Restorative Cities

The aim of the Working Group on Restorative Cities is to bring together different local experiences which have the intention of creating a cultural change with citizens who are empowered in their conflict resolution skills and decision making. Restorative Cities aim at disseminating restorative values (inclusion, participation, respect, responsibility, solidarity, truth seeking, etc.) in different settings where conflict may occur, such as families, schools, neighbourhoods, sport organisations, work places, intercultural communities, etc. The final goal is to strengthen relationships, encourage active citizenship and look at conflict as an opportunity for change, rather than a threat.

The objectives of the working group

Where restorative justice programmes all over Europe have been struggling with strategies on how to inform and involve the larger community, models of restorative cities seem to be able to make this link to the wider, local community. Besides focusing on the practical applicability, the WG also deals with the issue of evaluation and with theoretical approaches. Finally, existing concepts of restorative justice are now renewed thanks to the developing practices of restorative cities.

Some of their objectives are:
• Creation of an online version of the Restorative Cities Travel Guide drafted by the previous WG to provide learning on how to build a restorative city to be published on the EFRJ website and websites of the WG members;
• Translation of Guide in the national languages of the WG members to ensure its accessibility at local level;
• Continuation of the learning exchange process with other restorative cities around the world to improve knowledge on how to deal with challenges to building restorative cities and update of the Guide;
• Engagement of city representatives in the meetings of the WG to bridge knowledge between practitioners and policymakers on restorative cities.
• Continuation of the monthly (online) meetings of the WG.

Members of the working group 2022-2024

  • Bruna Dighera Lecco Restorative City (Italy)
  • Tomas Kjær Master student (Denmark)
  • Gian Luigi Lepri Tempio Pausania Restorative City (Italy)
  • Marian Liebmann Bristol Restorative City (UK)
  • Bala Merita Tirana Restorative City  (Albania)
  • Antony Pemberton Leuven Restorative City (Belgium) 
  • Christopher Straker Consultant/ Trainer (UK)
  • Evelyn Zellerer Vancouver Restorative City (Canada)
  • Lucrezia Perella Tempio Pausania Restorative City (Italy)
  • Honorata Czajkowska Wroclaw Restorative City (Poland)

Chair: Cristina Vasilescu - Como Restorative City (Italy)
Vice-chair: Jolan Arnout Van den Broeck (Netherlands)
Coordinator: Emanuela Biffi, EFRJ programme coordinator
Board representative: Jorge Ollero Perán

Working Group Resources

Seminar "Building Restorative Cities"

Launch of the Travel Guide

On 12 January 2024, the authors of the Travel Guide on Restorative Cities launched this new publication, first one of its kind! To know more about the webinar click here. To download the pdf of the Travel Guide click here.

History of the working group

The European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ) has been included in the development of different Restorative City projects since June 2018, when a group of practitioners and researchers gathered together in a workshop session which took place during our 10th international conference in Tirana. From that moment on, there has been a clear need to bring together all these local Restorative City initiatives and create a safe space for connecting, reflecting, and dreaming. In the beginning of 2019, the EFRJ co-organised the seminar “Building Restorative Cities” (Como, 10-12 January 2019 - see short film under resources) and formally established the Working Group on Restorative Cities, composed by EFRJ members involved in the Restorative Cities of Bristol, Como, Leuven, Mentana, Palermo and Tempio Pausania. Later on, in 2021, Tirana and Worclaw joined while Mentana, Palermo and Como stepped out. Representatives of other Restorative Cities also cooperate with this Working Group on a regular basis (e.g. Brighton, Utrecht, Leeds), also from continents beyond Europe (Whanganui, Oakland, Vancouver). Also, the Working Group has been contacted to advice on new potential restorative city projects (e.g. Croatia, Portugal).

WG restorative cities

Acknowledgment to former members

Thanks to the EFRJ members who participated to the launch of this Working Group in the years 2019-2020 and 2021-2022 (in bold, those who are still part of this WG in 2023-2024):

Ivo Aertsen & Lies Van Cleynenbreugel – Leuven Restorative City (Belgium), 

Merita Bala & Rasim Gjoka - Tirana Restorative City (Albania),

Honorata Czajkowska & Anna Matczak - Wroclaw Restorative City (Italy),

Bruna Dighera & Cristina Vasilescu – Lecco Cittá Riparativa (Italy), 

Claudio Fontana, Grazia Mannozzi, Viola Molteni & Chiara Perini – Como Cittá Riparativa (Italy), 

Mauro Giardini, C.E.A.S. – Mentana Cittá Riparativa (Italy), 

Gian Luigi Lepri & Lucrezia Perrella – Tempio Pausania Cittá Riparativa (Italy), 

Marian Liebmann – Bristol Restorative City (UK), 

Anna Robino & Maria Pia Giuffrida – Palermo Cittá Riparativa (Italy),  

Chris Straker – UK RJ Council (UK), 

Emanuela Biffi & Patrizia Patrizi - EFRJ representatives

More on this topic

In any society conflict can arise, but it is important to learn to manage it with respect for human dignity, seeking together the best solutions. For this, restorative justice is a precious tool: to help people to seek agreements between them, instead of separating them, to identify together a way to undo the injustices that produce pain, and to teach people to count on each other.

Contact person for this working group: Emanuela Biffi (emanuela.biffi@euforumrj.org)