The French city of Mulhouse is the first place where the
Methodological Guide has been implemented to elaborate concerted social cohesion
indicators at local level. Conclusions to be
drawn are many and varied, relating to the feasibility and validity of the
approach proposed in the Guide.
The result is a base of dialogue between public authorities, associations and
citizens, who will keep on working together to measure present and past social
cohesion degree, through a range of indicators they created themselves.
Some fifteen representatives of the main sectors present in the territory - the
municipality, the social services, voluntary associations, etc. - set up a co-ordinating group for devising the management of the
collective reflection was conducted with some 150 residents
from different origins. They were organised first in small “single-profile” groups of eight to
ten persons with the same socio-professional characteristics. These
groups were then combined into "multi-profile" groups with one representative of
each of the "single profile" groups with an eye to inclusively consolidating all
the different criteria expressed.
Discussions were based right from the outset on
defining the citizen well-being
objective to avoid any approach limited at verifying the relevance
and quality of existing services, instead of carrying on a substantive
reflection on the expectations of citizens themselves. This phase highlighted a
wide range of well-being criteria (more than 120 were counted), other than the
economic well-being and enabled a successful test of the four elements of
citizen well-being proposed in the Guide.
|Elements of citizen weel-being
Equity and non-discrimination
and personal development
Participation and commitment
It was possible to set
which are comprehensible to all, while remaining objective, thanks to the introduction of a number of rules on measuring indicators.
Qualitative indicators represent an assessment scale expressed by
citizens themselves: participants specified the conditions under which a
situation can be deemed good or bad. This could be followed immediately by the
very phase of
measuring past and present situations
(and therefore trends) to
arrive at an assessment of well-being in the territory in question.. Local
people were involved in measuring indicators: they were invited to voice their
own views within "focus groups" organised on the basis of the "multi-profile
groups". The results were supplemented with the available statistics.
Provided with a well-being indicators' grid and with a citizen assessment, the
City of Mulhouse and the co-ordinating group may now invite territory actors to
analyse how they can together respond to this demand and avoid any form of
social exclusion. The City of Mulhouse is therefore naturally moving towards a
concept of Territory Responsible for Social Cohesion, to which the Italian
Province of Trento and the French region of Paris are already committed.