In January 2007, ACER Reggio Emilia has implemented the social mediation service devised to prevent and solve problems caused by cohabitation of tenants, thus improving relationships between neighbours.
Via coordination and cooperation with all services (public and private) that operate in the social sector, mediators try to spread a sustainable cohabitation culture.
In a complex, multi-ethnic, continually evolving context, social mediation prevents differences from becoming obstacles to living together and turns them into sources of growth and enrichment for individual and the society as a whole, helping all people who received Public Housing houses to build a dialogue, improving relationships with neighbours and promote conflict prevention activities, to avoid situations that often are not true conflicts but simply the expression of a state of personal uneasiness that requires listening by the mediators.
Prevention is therefore particularly important as it: reduces and prevents causes of conflicts substantially contributes to improve people's quality of life. In this view, the social mediation offers opportunities to live and enjoy their house and neighbour relationships, spreading socialisation among tenants and the culture of “caring for” one's house and neighbours.
Major initiatives in this area have already been launched, for example: the European neighbourhood day which was met with substantial approval and appreciation and contributed to create or strengthen links between people living in the same building or district as well as developing citizen awareness and sense of belonging in people who were awarded these houses. Moreover, we have prepared a guide in Italian, English and French (and soon in Arabian as well) called “A simplified version of the Regulations for using your flat” (downloadable from the Housing Info - PRO box in the Customers' Guide section) to facilitate understanding of condominium rules and to make the tenants more responsible in the management of their house and of the common parts of the building. This is because we have found that most of the conflicts arise from limited or outright lacking knowledge of the condominium regulations; a good knowledge of condominium rules makes it possible to reduce conflicts between tenants.
In addition to the implementation of different initiatives, mediation has a key role in leading the new tenant to his/her house; this role is particularly useful as it prevents conflicts and represents the starting point of a route that, through information, training and urban requalification makes it possible to reduce unfair or incorrect behaviour and attitudes of the new tenants.
On the other hand, it is true that contrasts and disagreements are part of people's and communities' lives: being able to deal with them, handling them and transforming them requires both efforts from the involved parties and responsibility of mediators.
Mediation is a series of paths and procedures that are enacted upon (not anonymous) request whenever a potential or real conflict arises, and is part of a broader view of proactive and peaceful participation to life in the condominium and the district. The mediator, therefore, meets and welcomes the person that turns to him/her and dedicates to them a listening spot and time suitable for the problem the person is suffering. The citizen becomes the real protagonist of the mediation path and the mediator stands beside him as a help to facilitate communication between parties and guide to help the parties to find agreements that satisfy both of them.
It is essential that the mediator does not take decisions and does not replace the parties, but rather facilitates communication between them, encouraging reflections, tracing possible paths and solutions together with the involved parties and the institutions, services and associations it works with, guaranteeing in every moment objectiveness and confidentiality.
last modification: 12/11/2009