The Madrid Territorial Rebalancing Fund
Madrid's Territorial Rebalancing Fund (TRF) is a new policy instrument created to tackle urban vulnerability and segregation based on a sound scientific methodology, able to dynamically map social vulnerability in detail. It redistributes resources aimed at implementing feasible projects defined in the context of participative processes managed by the district councils.
Madrid has historically been characterized by a high level of territorial imbalance from the point of view of social cohesion. The reason for this is that from the 1960s onwards, social vulnerability has become concentrated in certain districts. According to academic studies (Leal y Sorando, 2015; Musterd, 2016), due to a consolidated dynamic of lack of policy attention, Madrid has become the most segregated European capital.
In 2015, the Municipality of Madrid set the achievement of social cohesion as a policy priority in its agenda, building on an approach of territorial solidarity. To realise this, a new urban policy instrument was created: the Territorial Rebalancing Fund (TRF), based on a solid scientific methodology (AHP, Analytic Hierarchy Process) that is able to map social vulnerability in detail, taking into account the complex and changing nature of this concept. The TRF pursues 3 main objectives:
1. To advance in the social cohesion and territorial balance by introducing and consolidating the principles of co-responsibility and inter-territorial solidarity in the policy approach of the city of Madrid.
2. To address the needs of the most vulnerable neighbourhoods, assuming an integrated approach (social, environmental and economic) implemented through viable projects.
3. To foster the participation of the local community through an inclusive strategy that aims to integrate the voice of the most vulnerable social groups in the process.
The TRF is acting on three different levels:
1. Mapping and understanding the concentration of vulnerability in the different districts based on a sound diagnosis, specifically designed to take into account the multidimensional nature of social vulnerability, and able to be used as an evaluation tool as well.
2. Acting with an area-based approach on the basis of the results in the most disadvantaged districts, but also addressing social vulnerability on the neighbourhood scale when it is present in the richest districts. The TRF concentrates financial, technical, and governmental resources, creating a multidimensional leverage effect aimed at reversing the negative dynamic described before.
3. Acting with a people-based approach, prioritizing the needs identified by the local community in the context of participative processes in which the gender factor is present.
The TRF interventions are classified in 4 groups, in which the number of interventions and the annual budget are noted.
1. Social, cultural, and educational interventions: 2016: 1,903,345 €: 19 interventions. 2017: 8,289,565 €: 66 interventions.
2. Public Housing, in which the main partner is the sectorial agent EMVS (autonomous municipal housing development company) 2016: 4.045.000 €, 8 interventions. 2017: 8.310.010 €, 14 interventions.
3. Employment, training and insertion in the labour market, in which the main partner is the sectorial agent ApE (municipal employment agency) 2016: 11,226,059 €: 12 interventions. 2017: 15,167,312 €: 36 interventions
4. Urban Development, public spaces and urban facilities: 2016: 4,764,805 €: 13 interventions. 2017: 42,252,766 €: 95 interventions.
The TRF is achieving concrete results in the neighbourhoods in which it is acting through an integrated urban regeneration approach that encompasses economic, social and environmental action, framed in the context of participative processes where the specific measures are discussed and agreed on by all the relevant stakeholders and the local community. This results in effective and feasible projects that are reducing social vulnerability by adopting a placebased and people-based approach with a gender perspective. These projects are developing local capacity and making neighbourhoods resilient to social vulnerability. The TRF is also providing the Municipality with an important knowledge base on how local governance (multi-level and interdepartmental) might be improved, particularly in the context of the current decentralization process. Some of its elements are being integrated in other local policies and the whole instrument is being transferred both nationally and internationally. Within Spain, it has been transferred to be replicated in the city of Oviedo (the capital city of the autonomous region of Asturias, with 220,000 inhabitants) and in the Spanish Municipalities and Provinces Federation (FEMP), an association that assembles 7.324 Spanish municipalities, as well as provincial and island councils. Internationally, it has been transferred to Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. Moreover, the TRF is coherent and is contributing notably to the implementation of Spain’s 2016 New Urban Agenda and Pact of Amsterdam (Urban Agenda for the EU) commitments.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
The Madrid TRF has introduced innovation to the traditional approach adopted by the Municipality in the past towards urban vulnerability and segregation. This innovation encompasses different aspects:
• Since the 1960s, social vulnerability has traditionally been concentrated in some city districts . This trend had been repeated and consolidated in the following decades until 2015. In that year, the new local government decided to fight against social vulnerability and its spatial concentration as a policy priority, adopting a mixed place-based and people-based approach.
• In order to undertake the aforementioned objective, the Municipality sought academic support. A team of scientists from Carlos III University of Madrid developed an innovative methodology able to take into account the changing and multi-dimensional factors that result in urban vulnerability and spatial segregation. The so-called Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) is a multivariable analysis methodology that assigns a vulnerability indicator to each of the neighbourhoods and districts in the city. The level of neighbourhood disaggregation allows urban vulnerability to be mapped in detail. As a result, this methodology identifies the large areas of concentration of vulnerability in the most deprived districts, as well as smaller areas located in richer districts.
• The economic resources of the TRF are distributed based on the specific needs of each district, and managed directly by the district councils. This is another relevant innovation. In the last decades Madrid has been a very centralized city, where the districts (the institutional bodies closest to the citizens) did not have capacity to act regarding this and many other matters. The TRF is advancing in the decentralization strategy that the Municipality has been undertaking since 2015.
• The district councils also manage the participative processes of the TRF methodology, aimed at selecting the measures to be undertaken in each district. In these processes, all the relevant local stakeholders are involved, including the citizens and their associations. In this regard, the TRF methodology is also introducing innovation in decision-making, as previously Madrid did not have experience in sustained participative processes.
• As a result of all this, the TRF is creating a new way of building up social capability and reinforcing local resilience.
What is the current status of your innovation?
The city of Madrid has traditionally been characterized by significant territorial social unbalance. This tendency began in the 60s, was clearly identified in the 80s, and has persisted up until the present day, consolidating a pattern of spatial organization that concentrates social vulnerability in some districts, making Madrid the most segregated european capital.
The TRF as a tool to identify social vulnerability is the result of years of scientific research that have resulted in the development of the AHP multicriteria methodology. The AHP provides a neighbourhood vulnerability index based on 12 objective indicators, structured in 5 groups with a relative weight: population (14,2%), socio-economic status (24,7%), economic activity (33,3%), urban development (17,6%), and social care needs (7,5%).
Apart from budget allocation, these indicators are also used to evaluate the results of the process. As a result, the TRF has entailed the transfer of knowledge and data to and from the world of Academia and local authorities and policy-makers.
• The TRF has caught the interest of different city councils in Spain. For example, the Municipality of Madrid has been asked to provide information on this instrument by the Municipality of Oviedo (the capital city of the region of Asturias, with a population of around 220,000 inhabitants), that aims to implement a similar instrument, and has set a task force to study how the TRF methodology can be transferred to its specific situation.
• The TRF has also caught the attention of local authorities from other countries. This has become evident following all the international and national events at which the TRF has been presented, and its dissemination in the media (newspapers, online, radio, tv, etc.), on occasions when different cities have requested the Municipality of Madrid to inform about it. In this regard, the TRF is not only transferring its methodology and experience to other local administrations, it is also drawing the attention of different stakeholders to the importance of facing social vulnerability at a municipal level, showing that it is possible to do so in an effective and equitable way.
Collaborations & Partnerships
The Territorial Coordination Department of the Municipality of Madrid is the leader of the TRF initiative. It provides the funding, distributes it amongst the district councils according to the AHP methodology and provides them with technical and administrative support. The district councils contribute with their proximity to the citizens, organizing dialogues and participative processes that decide which projects receive funding and in some cases, the guidelines of the project’s design. Sectorial agents provide their expertise in their area of interest (EMVS in public housing, ApE in employment policies, Madrid Salud in health programs) developing the projects according to the participative processes. NGOs and neighbourhood associations are also involved in the implementation of the local projects, especially in the 22 Integrated Neighbourhood Plans, contributing with their key knowledge of the affected areas and communities, proposing innovations and developing their initiatives.
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
Users, stakeholders and local communities are involved after the allocation of the budget to each council. Then different projects are presented in a concertation process, prioritized by the different agencies, that can also present their own proposals. The content of some of these iniciatives will then be defined in depth through further voting processes. Finally, some of the projects are executed by local organizations. From 2016 to 2017, the “Local Forums” (LF) have been established as permanent participative spaces in which decision-making and concertation processes take place. This has been a successful new initiative that is enhancing the capacity of the instrument to address the requirements of all social groups. LF are independently structured in each district, but they generally have working groups for each of the TRF areas of action: Social Intervention, Housing, Employment and Urban Development.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
The 3 original objectives have been achieved:
1. Inter-territorial solidarity, cohesion and the territorial balance of the city: - The TRF is the first of Madrid’s instruments to address vulnerability, based on a solid methodology that compares and monitors the situation of all the districts annually, reducing both the social, and the urban deficiencies of the neighbourhood. - The transference of coordination and responsibility between different institutional levels is increasing. The TRF involves local government, 3 local agencies and 21 district councils.
2. Integrated sustainable development:
a. Environmental dimension:
- 37 public spaces are being regenerated and made universally accessible.
- 15 socio-cultural facilities and 8 sports facilities are being improved or created.
- 5 social housing buildings will be constructed, some of them with a specific gender approach.
b. Economic dimension: - 9 out of 24 approved workshops are dedicated to women and to the long-term unemployed.
- More than 1,500 unemployed citizens are being trained/reinserted into the labour market.
c. Social dimension: - 22 mediation, security, and Integrated Neighbourhood Plans have been approved.
- 67 out of 178 (2017) approved initiatives are focused on gender equality and vulnerable social groups.
3. Citizen participation in government:
- Public debate: More than 165 projects were debated between different stakeholders in 65 meetings with more than 550 people, and where 243 entities were represented.
- All the actions have been approved by all the relevant actors and institutions. As a result, district councils are being empowered and recognized as institutional bodies that give the local community a voice in decision-making.
- Digital governance: 30 % of the projects were proposed by the public using the online participative platform of the Municipality (http://decide.madrid.es).
Challenges and Failures
The TRF implementation process has faced two main challenges:
1. First, the TRF had to be able to count on a consistent methodology to be able to identify Madrid's vulnerable areas. This challenge was met by integrating academic knowledge into the instrument's design, in particular, by researchers from Madrid's Carlos III University, who developed the multivariable analysis methodology able to take the complex nature of urban vulnerability into account.
2. The second challenge consisted in making the TRF an instrument that integrated local knowledge and demands (non- expert contribution) with the knowledge and experience of specialists and decision-makers (expert contribution). This problem was solved by turning the TRF into a participative instrument. The TRF allows participation in the context of "Local Forum" meetings and e-government polling through the Municipality participation platform (http://decide.madrid.es).
Conditions for Success
The TRF has been a successful initiative so far, thanks to the political leadership of the Municipality of Madrid, that created a new Area of Government, the Territorial Coordination Council (TCC), that centralizes the financial resources and is focused on the task of territorial organization (the TRF used about 90% of the TCC budget in 2016 and 2017, and is estimated to consume about 80% of it in 2018). The CRC also provides specialized technical human resources to the district councils. It is necessary that district councils are motivated in the implementation of the projects, which they usually are, as the TRF represents an extra contribution to their ordinary budget and a significant help in developing projects that, in most cases, the local communities have long been demanding.
Social segregation and urban vulnerability are common problems in contemporary cities, especially in the countries of southern Europe, and in Latin America. However, they are also present in all the OECD sphere, for instance northern and central European and North American cities. Increased urban segregation is correlated with a reduction in social cohesion. Therefore, the TRF is tackling a widespread and potentially conflictual challenge of urban societies all over the world. The AHP scientific methodology used by the TRF for budget allocation is objective, uses a relatively simple set of statistical data and is therefore easily replicated elsewhere; the AHP has allowed a quick, non-contested distribution of the financial resources of the TRF, which commonly is the main obstacle in complex initiatives and is known to drag out the process. In addition, the participative methodology makes the instrument adaptable to different contexts and local characteristics.
• The TRF is providing the Municipality with experience on how to improve local strategies for urban regeneration by involving all the relevant stakeholders in the process, trying to overcome the lack of participative tradition in Madrid
• The TRF is also gaining practical experience on how the devolution of competences to the district councils can take place at a larger scale, in the framework of the Municipality’s undergoing decentralization process.
• The TRF is improving local horizontal governance as district council departments are making a concerted effort to collaborate with the people, helping the Municipality to better understand their needs and adjust the characteristics of the projects. For instance of this collaboration is the creation of the Integrated Neighbourhood Plans in 2017.
• Hence, now the TRF is a permanent instrument with a proven ability to address social vulnerability.
The TRF has been developed at a great speed: in 2015, the Decentralization Strategy of the Municipality was approved. The TRF was first introduced in 2016, is being developed throughout 2017 and is set to continue in 2018. It has been widely accepted by all the agents, both institutional and civil.