Social Polis

//Social Polis
Social Polis 2017-02-10T11:00:03+00:00

Social Plattform on Cities and Social Cohesion (Social Polis)

Funding program: European Commission 7th Framework Program FP7-SSH-2007-2.2.3

Duration: 2007-2009

 Main researcher:
Marisol García (local team)
Frank Moulaert (international coordinator)

Santiago Eizaguirre
Xavier Martínez Celorrio
Marc Pradel


 Social Polis is an open social platform for dialogue between scientific and policy communities and civil society practice networks, with the objective of developing a research agenda on the role of cities in social cohesion and key related policy questions. The agenda was proposed to the 7th EU Research Framework Programme, and especially its ‘Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities’ Theme.

The overall objective was approached on two fronts:

  • critical analysis of research to date, and

  • construction of a social platform of networks for information gathering, dialogue and agenda setting.

 The networks were unrolled, using snowball methods, from the research and stakeholder cores, from which the project started.

 Sub-objectives included:

  • the establishment of an open, multi-layered network of actors concerned with research,

  • policy and practice about cities and social cohesion;

  • production of critical reviews of research;

  • production of thematic strategic texts supporting a coherent research agenda; and

  • the promotion of dialogue amongst stakeholders through dissemination and discussion fora.

Since social cohesion concerns society as a whole, at multiple spatial scales, beyond issues of inequality, exclusion and inclusion, and across public, market and voluntary sectors, ‘Social Polis’ assembles multiple dimensions of relevant debates (on economy, polity, society, culture, ethics) across the city and a variety of life spheres. To facilitate analysis of the highly interlinked dynamics involved in social cohesion, a range of specific fields affecting people’s existence were focussed upon:

  • welfare and social services;

  • labour markets and economic development;

  • built environment, housing and health;

  • mobility, telecommunications and security;

  • urban ecology and environment;

  • governance;

  • education and training;

  • urban and regional inequalities;

  • diversity and identity;

  • creativity and innovation;

  • neighbourhood development and grassroots initiatives; and

  • social cohesion and the city as a whole.

 In addition, particular transversal dynamics running across these were identified. A series of specific joint workshops and local conferences were held, as well as a large conference, to act as catalysts for research by focussing and fine-tuning research agendas and building the platform. Communication also included a user-friendly, interactive website.

In summary, ‘Social Polis’ made four substantive contributions:

  1. a focussed, critical review of research on cities and social cohesion;

  2. a focussed agenda of effective research proposed for FP7;

  3. establishment of a social platform of and for scientific, policy and practice stakeholders for these purposes;

  4. production of educational resources for stakeholders.


Eizaguirre, S., Pradel, M., Celorrio, X., Terrones, A., and M. García (2012) “Multilevel Governance and Social Cohesion: Bringing Back Conflict in Citizenship Practices.” Urban Studies 49(9):1999–2016. Retrieved June 20, 2012 (