"Rete delle Case del Quartiere" (Network of Neighborhood Houses), is a network of eight "Case del Quartiere" (Neighborhood Houses) in Turin - the first Italian network of this kind!
The eight Houses find their strength on those aspects that link them one to another, as well as on the specific characteristics of each House and neighborhood.
Each of the eight Houses works independently as a multi-functional community hubs located in different areas of the city. They are very different in their structure: some have a real theatre and organise more concerts, other have small spaces that are more suitable for other activities. However, they all fulfil one common characteristic written in Rete delle Case del Quartiere manifesto: they do not focus on any particular group, and are open to everybody regardless of age, culture, geographical region, etc.
A bit of history
The eight houses of the network were established over the years at different time - the last one in 2007 - in the framework of different programmes. Since 2012 they have developed a common vision and decided in 2017 to create the first Italian network of neighborhood houses. They are currently helping other cities or non-profit organisation throughout Italy to start up similar experiences.
Which objective & activities?
The Houses are places of active participation: they encourage people to take part in the social and cultural life of the neighborhood and the city, through different forms of active citizenship, volunteering and cultural activities. They are places where people look for and experiment new ways of doing welfare, developing proximity-based networks, and seek collective solutions to common needs.
The Houses are places for artistic and cultural promotion because they recognize creativity and expression as a powerful tool for the community and the future.
Thus, the programme of activities of each House is decided each year in cooperation with the local organisations and the neighbours. The Houses host and disseminate cultural, artistic, social and recreational activities; information desks; courses; workshops; family services; performances; lectures and exhibitions. The Houses guide and support those institutions which aim to promote projects and events by making available knowledge, spaces, tools and resources in order to ensure the success of these self-organised projects.
They define themselves as Houses, because their goal is to make people feel at home. They are places of everyday life in an open dimension where it is possible to stay, socialize and be active by taking part in activities as well as becoming promoters of projects and initiatives.
How does it structurally work?
The Neighborhood Houses are based on the cooperation between public and private sector: most Houses are hosted in public (municipal) buildings but are managed by private bodies deeply-rooted in the territory - associations of first and second level, foundations and cooperatives - that are the results of participatory processes. Thus they rely on a combination of public and private funding, as well as self-sustainability. The Houses are management models able to constantly learn from experience.
We are happy to join the ENCC network and we are willing to share our experience and connect with other European organizations that carry out projects connecting culture and active citizenship.
Which European projects?
The network and some Houses take also part in European projects, i.e. in Erasmus+ projects (youth exchanges, European Voluntary Service), in the Horizon 2020 project ProjectAct as well as in CO-CITY, an Urban Innovative Actions programme (European Regional Development Funds) . "ProjectAct is about the regeneration of post-industrial site through nature-based solutions, green infrastructures, like green roofs, green walls, community and school gardening", explains Vittorio Bianco, member of the Board of Directors. "We work as a partner with the city administration of Turin for the CO-CITY project. The objective of CO-CITY is to allow citizens to propose and adopt European urban commons, like gardens, squares, public buildings. Citizens can write their projects and then the city administration makes a contract with them for the management of the new commons. The role of Rete delle Case del Quartiere is to communicate to our audience about this opportunity, to help people improving their projects and then applying."