Summer course in São Brás de Alportel

From September 9 to September 12 the municipality of São Bras de Alportel (Algarve, Portugal) hosted the Summer Course "Governation and participation challenging the crisis". This activity stemmed from the three-side cooperation between a civil society organisation, the In Loco Association; a research centre, the Centro de Estudos Sociais (CES) from the University of Coimbra; and the Committee on Social Inclusion and Participative Democracy (CSIPD) of UCLG, as a network of local governments.

The course was attended by around 50 people from different backgrounds: Master´s and PhD students, researchers and staff from the Portuguese local administrations. During the four days of the Summer Course, the issues covered were: citizen participation and re-building trust in institutions; the right to the city as a key point to re-assert the feeling of belonging to a territory; new social imagery based on re-incorporating social issues into the economic sphere (solidarity-based economics). And finally, the role of local governments in building a new public culture.

The CSIPD was in charge of this last topic and organised a round-table with elected representatives from São Brás de Alportel (Portugal), the Diputación de Málaga / Malaga Provincial Council (Spain), San Sebastián (Spain) and Aubagne (France). The aim of this debate was to show, from the experience of concrete policies, the potential of local governments to strengthen democracy and empower citizens. Starting from an approach of "participatory governance", the most innovative practices and / or policies put in place by local governments were introduced, from very different areas such as youth, the environment, territorial articulation, mobility and gender.

The debate started with a presentation on the "Challenges for a new public culture", by Professor João Arriscado Nunes (CES), aiming at setting a context for the debate between representatives from local governments.

The programme for the Summer Course is available at: