The Collective Impact model and its application in European Cities with a special focus on urban security and social cohesion

Effective approaches to manage urban security require a combination of repressive and preventive measures to face multi-faceted challenges (ranging from drug-related crime or juvenile delinquency to violent extremism). They thus require the mobilisation of diverse actors at the local level.

The persistency of urban security challenges has generated debate on the effectiveness of existing tools, approaches and measures against these problems. Originating from the United States (US), the Collective impact model has increasingly become more popular as a “new” way to tackle tough societal challenges through an integrated and multi-stakeholder approach.

The collective impact model

Collective Impact (CI) is a systematic approach to addressing complex problems at the systems level through multi-sector collaboration. By transforming the behaviour of organizations and participants, the CI framework can help to achieve changes within target communities at both the ‘systems-level’ (i.e. changes to core institutions within the initiatives geographic area) and at the population-level (i.e. behavioural changes in the target population).

The Collective Impact model holds strong potential for strengthening collaborations to address challenges in the field of urban security and social cohesion. Issue areas where CI has a strong potential to gain traction in European cities may include, inter alia, street crime, gang violence, nightlife and teen / youth substance abuse, polarisation between youths and public authorities, discrimination against minorities and/or immigrant populations, radicalisation and violent extremism, and criminal justice outcomes, particularly for youths. This great potential requires further exploration and discussion by would-be community change actors on how to best apply the framework across different cultural contexts.

This paper, delivered in the context of the Ecorys technical Assistance to the Urban Agenda Partnership on Security in Public Spaces, explores the applicability of the CI in the domain of urban security by European local authorities and shows what the underlining conditions for success as well as practical steps to enforce it are.

Read the paper (pdf) for more information.

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14 June 2021

2 minute read

Key Experts

Mike Beke

Principal Consultant