Demographic change

S.T.E.P.S Shared Time Enhances People Solidarity

"The UIA funding will allow the municipality to improve the quality of life of citizens and curb loneliness by implementing different but coordinated actions through direct involvement of citizens. Solidarity, feasibility and sustainability are the three cornerstones of the project. The 3rd district, identified as the most representative of the demographic characteristics of the urban population, will be the arena of concrete interventions directed to the most vulnerable groups and will allow the whole city to benefit from an extensive research."

Federico Sboarina, Mayor of Verona
Chiffres clef
of Verona's 3rd District are single-member households
Almost 6000
households will be reached through the project
EUR 3,999,778.52
Total ERDF budget granted
Challenge addressed

The EU countries are witnessing changes in family structures that can be summarised as a generalised reduction in the average family size), with a consequent increase in the number of families, their progressive ageing and a considerable increase in the number of people living alone. These changes are linked both to demographic (decrease in average number of children, increase in life expectancy) and social factors. These phenomena are particularly evident in Verona, with a consequent shrinking of the population: in 2018, the average family size was 2.1 members, with an increase in the number of single-member households, the rate of elderly people was 25,4%, the old age index was 204,83 elderly per 100 young people 0-14 and the fertility rate 1.28. These demographic changes oblige to examine underestimated and complex consequences such as loneliness, which has no age and affects health, well-being and quality of life. The National Statistical Institute's 2018 Report states that 17.2% of Italians feel they lack or have little support and, in comparison with the EU, Italy shows greater vulnerability.

The challenge is therefore: to detect/qualify loneliness making it a measure of well-being/malaise; to improve individual/collective well-being, preventing the erosion of the social fabric, through a set of interventions aiming at fighting lowliness conditions and its interrelated aspects of life (material conditions, quality of life and sustainability of living).

The project concentrates in the 3rd district of Verona whose demographic composition is representative of the urban population.

Solution proposed

The social and territorial model that will be tested has a marked capacity to "adapt" to the demographic change and is aimed at the prevention and treatment of loneliness, with the belief that a welcoming, inclusive, caring environment helps to prevent degenerative states of wellbeing/health.

Starting from the analysis of the causes triggering loneliness, the project will define the dimensions of loneliness that will contribute to the Levels of Loneliness Index. In-depth questionnaires will be used to provide evidence of the experience of loneliness existing in the chosen area. The data collected on the 3rd district will also contribute, for statistical inference, to a pool of information on the characteristics of the urban population and its phenomenal evolutions, to be used for decision-making processes and the provision of services/opportunities.

Specific actions on the field will trigger the "loneliness management” with a specific focus on prevention and treatment, reaching key aspects of life (material conditions, quality of life, sustainability of living). These actions will be structured through the integration of: physical spaces (urban areas whose function of meeting is to be restored - the condominium complex, green areas, ground floor spaces as hotbeds of new sociality and economy), relationships (between peers/neighbours, intergenerational,...), digital space that facilitates the connection of physical spaces/relationships.

  • City of Verona;
  • 1 social housing agency: ATER;
  • 1 university: University of Verona;
  • 5 social cooperatives: ARIBANDUS; CAUTO; Energie sociali; MAG; Sol.Co. Consortium;
  • 1 Local association: Verona Fablab;



Expected results

The main expected results are:

  • creation of preconditions for new social interactions and social generations
  • reduced urban decay and reduced perception of degradation
  • a growth in the number of hours spent in relational contexts for recipients with an initial Lolix rating on the threshold of criticality
  • improved attractiveness of the territory and neighbourhoods made more family-friendly
  • improved living conditions of low-income families with equal resources
  • increased virtuous/sustainable behaviour, solidarity practices/non-monetised exchange.
Main milestones
  • 2020: public assembly to involve citizens/stakeholders of the 3rd district in the project
  • June 2021: 4 public calls to support micro-actions on social animation, digital for social inclusion/healthcare, entrepreneurship in care work, sustainable education
  • January 2022: analysis report and Lolix benchmark
  • April 2022: former Saval farmhouse and Via Zancle community spaces inaugurated
  • December 2022: report on community empowerment model
  • April 2023: 2 subsidiarity agreements signed
Chiffres clef
of Verona's 3rd District are single-member households
Almost 6000
households will be reached through the project
EUR 3,999,778.52
Total ERDF budget granted
Contact du project
Chiara Maccacaro
Project manager
Petra Potz
UIA Expert

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