Community Conversation: Building a civil society in solidarity with marginalized groups for greater social impact



Efficient and resilient energy system
Consumers and behavioural change
Energy poverty


Earlier this week, HouseInc joined an event organised by the ACCTING project, focusing on how the EU Green Deal (GD) can be made more inclusive. What is the role of civil society in making the GD more inclusive? What can they do/change in their processes?

Marina Cacace presented ACCTING policy recommendations to make civil society more inclusive and mitigate the negative impacts of GD policies:

She mentioned the great potential held by civil society organisations to be a bridge, supporting in the formation and implementation of European GD policies: they hold expertise in some key topics (social justice, environmental issues, etc.), work on the ground and enjoy more public trust than governments, corporations and the media. They provide legitimacy to environmental governance. Some still need though to embed democratic legitimacy and diversity in their actions and governance, to reflect the diversity of the population. ACCTING reviewed up to 700 bottom-up initiatives addressing green transitions in 5 GD areas: climate action, biodiversity, clean energy, far-to-fork and sustainable mobility. Only a quarter of these are engaged in joint decision-making with local authorities. ACCTING also collected over 410 individual narratives from vulnerable individuals concerning their experiences with climate change and environmental policies in the same GD areas. What supports the adoption of more environmental-friendly sustainable practices are knowledge and awareness, a sense of community belonging and significant relations supporting the effort towards change as well as enabling policies. Civil society organisations are therefore key enablers as they can provide easily accessible information on why and how to adopt sustainable behaviour and promote new social norms. They can access policy negotiations with local authorities. Now, how can they play a role in inclusive environmental transitions? By focusing on intersectionality, have a holistic approach, making vulnerable voices heard, generating inclusive policy alternatives, building legitimacy by integrating diversity, creating a sense of belonging, and more.

In the recommendations to them, we also find that they should collaborate with vulnerable local communities through empowerment and mentorship.

The second presentation by Sila Kartal from Roof Coliving / UrbanCommunity for sustainable and Just cities introduces what they do in Turkey, working on spatial justice and public spaces, co-created with citizens for a just transition towards sustainability. Sila highlights that this is important not to “represent” what vulnerable groups have to say but provide a space for them to communicate their demands and decisions through design methods (dialogue spaces). We need to trust each other’s expertise and experiences. Creating a sense of community belonging and collectiveness is a key enabler for change towards more environmentally friendly behaviour change.

Sila then questioned the impacts of the recent housing crises on LGBTQ people, and explained what their actions are, how they focus on people from different ages and socio-economic backgrounds. Find out more:  

All these recommendations resonate well with HouseInc, as we’ll address housing inequalities by contributing to policy measures that will seek to increase access to affordable, inclusive and sustainable housing for marginalised groups in society. How? We will ensure co-design of our research and recommendations through interviews, participatory focus groups, with a multinational survey  across 8 countries to provide a snapshot of the impact of both COVID-19 and the invasion of Ukraine on the different dimensions of housing inequality, and establish multi-stakeholder Living Labs to co-design solutions at local and regional levels, across at least 15 countries.


A newsletter sharing topic-divided news and events, in your mailbox monthly

Follow us on Social Media