The recommendations promote effective partnerships between public institutions and social economy actors, thus amplifying the impact of the NEB at both the local and European levels. By harnessing the collective expertise of stakeholders and local authorities, these policy recommendations aspire to advance the NEB’s vision of a more inclusive, sustainable and aesthetically enriching future for European communities.

The method

The policy recommendations were developed using a comprehensive methodology, which included three peer review cycles and the creation of local action plans (LAPs). The LAPs were designed to integrate social economy enterprises with regional NEB initiatives in Croatia, Latvia and Italy, with the aim of using them as catalysts for social inclusion, innovation and territorial development. Each peer review cycle involved the analysis of two exemplary practices from the SEA4NEB initiative by multidisciplinary teams comprising institutional and social economy partners from the local areas involved. The peer review process aimed to foster mutual learning and enhance transnational collaboration in line with the NEB principles of beauty, sustainability and inclusiveness, through the systematic evaluation and comparison of social economy contexts.


Fostering Belonging Through the Aesthetic Dimension

Supporting regeneration projects involves implementing funding initiatives that promote the preservation and promotion of local cultural heritage. This includes allocating resources for cultural events, historical preservation efforts, and public art installations celebrating the community’s identity. Collaboration among local cultural institutions, artists and community members is crucial to integrating cultural elements into regeneration plans, leveraging social economy enterprises’ added value and innovation in heritage conservation and community engagement. It further encourages the integration of modern IT solutions in heritage exposition to enhance visitor engagement and promote authentic cultural experiences.

It is fundamental to support initiatives that seamlessly integrate cultural and natural heritage preservation with sustainable tourism development, aiming to bolster rural economies, uplift rural families, and fortify community well-being. Additionally, projects that facilitate meaningful dialogue on multiculturalism and environmental stewardship, nurturing inclusive and sustainable growth within rural communities should be prioritised.

Good practices : Fondazione Horcynus Orca, Ploucs art exhibitions

Establishing a fund that enhances public spaces is essential for fostering social interaction and a sense of belonging. This fund can be invested in creating parks, community gardens, and pedestrian-friendly areas that serve as gathering spaces for residents. Prioritising sustainable design principles and community input ensures that these spaces reflect local needs and values, with social economy actors often leading initiatives that generate both economic and social benefits within these public spaces.

Good practice: Living Factory – citizen involvement in spatial design

Educational programmes raising awareness of beauty and aesthetics in regeneration projects are vital. Workshops, seminars and outreach initiatives empower residents to participate in designing and implementing beautiful and regenerative initiatives. Collaboration with local schools, universities and cultural organisations integrates aesthetic education into curricula and community events, and often involves social economy enterprises in educational outreach and capacity-building efforts.

Good practice: The bioplastic factory – Roccavaldina’s involvement of young people in designing plastic objects

Establishing community land trusts protects and stewards land for aesthetic purposes, allowing local residents to collectively own and manage key natural areas, agricultural land and cultural heritage sites. Supporting community-led initiatives prioritising the aesthetic enhancement of shared spaces fosters belonging and community pride. Social economy actors often play a significant role in the management and activation of these spaces, thus contributing to the development of sustainable and inclusive local economies.

Good practices: Whole Village, Lūznava Manor

Recognising the intrinsic link between beauty, community identity, and belonging and prioritising beautification efforts in marginalised or underdeveloped areas is crucial. Integrating public art, green spaces, and culturally significant landmarks into urban or rural renewal plans enhances community pride and social cohesion, with support for community-led initiatives empowering residents to shape their neighbourhoods’ aesthetic character. Social economy enterprises can drive economic development through beautification efforts, which create job opportunities, foster local entrepreneurship, promote intergenerational involvement to enhance the value of history, favour conservation and transfer of local traditions, and consolidate young people’s sense of belonging.

Good practices: Whole Village, Living factory

Policies fostering innovative revenue generation for regeneration projects emphasise adaptability and social impact. Drawing inspiration from successful examples like the Āgenskalns Market in Riga, collaboration among local authorities, social enterprises and civil society organisations maximises revenue opportunities while promoting socially responsible practices. Social economy enterprises can bring added value by introducing inclusive business models and community-driven initiatives which prioritise both economic and social objectives. Additionally, the introduction of virtual currencies or the use of barter as an alternative trading and financing tool should be explored within the context of collaborative initiatives, to highlight new approaches that can drive sustainable development and inclusive growth.

Good practices: Āgenskalns Market – SEAL, Luce è Libertà – Fondazione MeSSinA, Andron – Fondazione MeSSinA

Financial engineering for regeneration projects involves strategically using various financial tools and techniques to fund and manage projects to revitalise urban or rural areas. Public authorities and social economy actors should engage local communities, financial institutions, private enterprises and civic associations in public-social-private partnerships to create long-term strategies based on integrating mixed funding sources and tools. EU structural funds, ethical loans, social impact bonds, equity investment and private sponsorships are examples of tools to meet the needs of most regeneration projects, such as stimulating economic growth, creating jobs, improving infrastructure, and enhancing residents’ overall quality of life.

Good practice: Living Factory


Promoting Social Economy for Sustainable Transformation

Integrating social economy principles into the planning and implementation of regenerative projects promotes sustainability and social inclusion. This involves fostering partnerships between social enterprises, cooperatives and community organisations to address environmental challenges while also meeting the needs of local communities. Policies should support initiatives that enhance values-based approaches, such as community-led design, equitable access to resources, and inclusive decision-making processes. By leveraging the expertise and networks of social economy actors, regeneration projects can achieve greater environmental resilience, economic empowerment and social cohesion, contributing to the overall sustainability of urban and rural development.

Good practices: Living Factory, Ploucs, Youth Centre Split

Governments should provide incentives and establish recognition schemes for businesses and organisations that adopt regenerative practices. These incentives should prioritise actions that enhance biodiversity, restore ecosystems, and promote sustainable resource management. By rewarding regenerative practices, we can accelerate the transition towards a more sustainable and resilient economy. Recognition schemes could include methodologies such as TSR (territorial social responsibility), which serves as a tool for assessing and reprogramming activities towards community cohesion and social capital building. In addition to recognition schemes like TSR, governments should promote eco-labelling and voluntary certification as part of their incentive programmes.

Good practices: Parks of Beauty and Science – Fondazione MeSSinA, TSR

The adoption of innovative financing models such as social impact bonds, and alternative funding sources like crowdfunding and ESG investment structures, should be encouraged. These models not only provide financial support but are also aligned with environmental and social goals, ensuring long-term financial sustainability for regeneration projects. By leveraging diverse funding streams, projects can reduce dependency on public funds, promoting financial resilience and flexibility in the face of potential political challenges at the national and EU levels.

Good practice: Housing project – Fondazione MeSSinA

This framework would support businesses that engage in sustainable practices. By doing so, it would promote the adoption of eco-friendly technologies and incentivise businesses to contribute to biodiversity enhancement and ecosystem restoration. This framework is aligned with the principles of regenerative sustainability. The use of green and socially responsible public procurement should be promoted to leverage the purchasing power of public entities to drive positive social and environmental outcomes. Social clauses enable public authorities to advance social objectives, such as promoting fair labour practices, protecting the environment, and supporting vulnerable groups.

Good practice: Ploucs

Robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms are needed to assess the impact of social procurement initiatives on biodiversity, natural resources and ecosystem health. This includes evaluating the long-term effects of procurement activities on local ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as tracking the success of restoration and conservation efforts. By integrating regenerative sustainability into monitoring and evaluation frameworks, we can ensure that procurement enhances rather than depletes biodiversity and natural resources.

Good practice: Multiple Intelligence Space and System

Circular economy and climate resilience initiatives encourage communities and businesses to minimise waste and maximise resource efficiency. They also promote circular economy principles and enhance climate resilience within communities. Such initiatives involve providing incentives for recycling, supporting the establishment of circular economy hubs, and implementing climate resilience measures such as infrastructure upgrades and habitat restoration projects. By integrating these policies, we can work towards a more sustainable future.

Good practices: The bioplastic factory – Roccavaldina, Factory. For Climate – Living factory, Whole Village

Advocating sustainable financing practices aligned with international standards and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is essential. Regeneration projects can thrive by attracting investments fostering environmental and social impact. EU-level policies should facilitate the replication of such models, ensuring widespread access to sustainable financing options and promoting positive social and environmental outcomes throughout Europe. Social economy enterprises are crucial in leveraging these financial mechanisms, creating inclusive growth opportunities and fostering community resilience.

Good practices: Fondazione MeSSinA, Living factory


Fostering Cohesion Through Collective Engagement

Collaborative design tools and non-formal education programmes enhance community engagement and action, creating and accelerating local social enterprises that prioritise the inclusion of vulnerable groups and youth social entrepreneurship. Empowering marginalised groups such as women, youth, migrants and persons with disabilities can foster collective growth. This can be achieved by implementing affirmative action measures, creating job opportunities through social economy enterprises, and developing tailored training and skills development programmes. Support should be given to projects that foster understanding, self-discovery and mutual acceptance among diverse social groups, challenging discriminatory practices and raising awareness of discrimination and injustice within the community.

Good practice: Ploucs, Living factory

Investing in accessible infrastructure and social innovation initiatives for regeneration projects led by social economy enterprises can help build inclusive communities. This will ensure inclusiveness for all community members, promote universal design principles, and foster social innovation through participatory governance. Strengthening social infrastructure and community assets such as community centres, cultural spaces and social services can enhance resilience and well-being. Promoting social innovation and co-production models to deliver public services, and fostering collaboration between citizens, public authorities and civil society organisations, can help achieve this.

Good practice: Living Factory

Safe and inclusive spaces meet diverse social needs, and promote social interaction, cultural exchange and community cohesion. Prioritise projects that involve and collaborate with various stakeholders, including NGOs, residents, businesses and different age groups, to transform shared spaces and promote collective growth. Encourage initiatives that preserve regional identity, support local services, and foster social interaction and cultural exchange, contributing to social capital and a sense of belonging.

Good practices: Lūznava Manor ART PICNIC. Festival of Arts and Tastes , Youth Centre Split

Encourage grassroots initiatives addressing specific local needs while promoting economic diversification, environmental sustainability, and social cohesion. Advocate equity-centred economic development strategies within regenerative projects, focusing on social economy actors. This entails supporting social entrepreneurship, facilitating job creation in underserved communities through social enterprises, and fostering partnerships between public institutions and social economy enterprises. By prioritising equity and affordability, regeneration projects led by social economy actors can drive inclusive economic growth, reduce disparities and foster resilient, cohesive societies.

Good practice: Fondazione MeSSinA

Initiatives promoting cultural awareness, inclusiveness and empowerment should be supported to facilitate the transition to collective leadership. Youth engagement programmes should be developed to empower young people to actively contribute to community objectives. This could involve establishing youth councils, organising sustainability-themed events and competitions, and providing mentoring opportunities for youth-led projects. Programmes and activities that promote social cohesion and interaction among residents should also be invested in. This could involve funding community events, workshops and recreational spaces that facilitate meaningful connections between individuals from different backgrounds.

Good practice: Ploucs

Encourage the use of EU Structural Funds to bolster social enterprise development and foster local regeneration, aiming for inclusive development throughout the EU. The EU must actively seek opportunities to synchronise Structural Fund investments with social economy objectives and initiatives. Collaborative efforts among the EU, member states, and regional authorities are pivotal in ensuring the efficient deployment of the Structural Funds to foster sustainable and inclusive urban as well as rural development.

Good practice: Lūznava Manor

Participatory process

Inclusive Governance for Participatory Regeneration

Empowering local communities is not just a necessity but a beacon of hope for regeneration projects. By embracing participatory approaches and diverse engagement tools, we can ensure that community voices are not just heard but truly incorporated into governance structures. This transformative approach paves the way for self-governance, where communities step up to take ownership and leadership roles in shaping their own development trajectories.

Good practices: Ploucs, Living factory, Whole Village

Cooperative democratic governance often prioritises sustainability and long-term economic viability over short-term gains. By involving stakeholders in decision-making processes, the cooperative model produces resilient economic initiatives aligned with community needs, values, and environmental considerations. For instance, cooperatives in various sectors such as agriculture, energy and housing often operate based on democratic principles, promoting equitable distribution of profits, resource efficiency, and social responsibility.

Good practices: Ploucs, Fondazione MeSSinA

Transparency is vital to the success of regeneration projects. Therefore, governance structures and decision-making processes should be transparent. It is also recommended to invest in capacity building and promote clear communication channels between stakeholders. This ensures accountability and fosters efficient project management and implementation.

Good practice: Ploucs

Customised governance solutions are needed to ensure that rural development considers each region’s unique cultural and cooperative context. Strategies should be used to overcome governance challenges specific to rural areas, such as simplifying financial procedures and fostering effective partnerships between public and private bodies. This may include streamlining financial procedures through digital platforms, implementing e-governance tools for transparent decision-making processes, and fostering effective partnerships between public and private bodies facilitated by digital communication channels. This is aligned with EU objectives of promoting good governance and innovation in rural development initiatives.

Good Practice: Whole Village

Multi-level engagement

Reinforcing the Role of the Social Economy Sector in Multilevel Regeneration Initiatives

Multistakeholder engagement is a crucial component in empowering rural communities through promoting transparent leadership, enhancing capacity building, and making strategic cultural investments. By bridging the gap between local and global dimensions, this approach ensures that rural stakeholders are actively involved in decision-making processes and equipped with the necessary skills to address global challenges. Through collaborative efforts and integrated approaches, EU policies can effectively support rural communities in generating scalable solutions and fostering cross-border collaboration.

Good practices: Whole Village, Lūznava Manor

It is important to build collaboration among diverse stakeholders across different scales within the framework of multilevel engagement. By facilitating effective exchange both horizontally and vertically, EU policies can advance collaborative frameworks that integrate place-based strategies with systemic thinking. This approach ensures that regeneration initiatives produce transformative impacts beyond their initial scale, connecting stakeholders with shared purposes across various levels and driving sustainable development.

Good Practice: Parks of Beauty and Science – Fondazione MeSSinA

In order to make regeneration initiatives more effective and inclusive, it is important to recognise and integrate the social economy sector from the outset of project design. The integration of social economy actors in the early stages of planning allows for a comprehensive understanding of community needs, and facilitates the identification of innovative solutions. This inclusive approach not only maximises the impact of regeneration projects but also fosters experimentation. Moreover, it facilitates the alignment of stakeholders with shared objectives, promoting multilevel engagement and sustainable development.

Good Practices: Ploucs, Living Factory

By fostering collaboration horizontally and vertically, EU policies can create collaborative frameworks that produce transformative impacts beyond the local scale. This approach ensures that regeneration projects activate cross-border experimentation with new ideas and disseminate knowledge cross-sectorally. By connecting stakeholders with similar purposes across various levels, EU policies can facilitate sustainable transformation that bridges the gap between the local and global dimensions.

Good practice: Whole Village

By establishing platforms for knowledge exchange, co-learning and collaboration, EU policies can promote innovation and best practices within the social economy ecosystem. Additionally, supporting research and development initiatives focused on social innovation, sustainable business models, and impact measurement methodologies further enhances collaboration and innovation.

Good practice: Youth Center Split

Clusters foster collaboration between the social economy, the for-profit third sector, academia and public authorities. By providing funding, grants and incentives to support innovation and knowledge-sharing, EU policies can facilitate the planning and implementation of sustainable regeneration projects. Investing in capacity-building initiatives and establishing mechanisms to monitor and evaluate the impact of cluster initiatives further strengthens collaborative efforts and contributes to sustainable regeneration.

Good practice: Fondazione MeSSinA

Transdisciplinary approach

Cross-sectoral innovation hubs can integrate various sectors of engagement, including the social economy, digitalisation, environmental sustainability, cultural heritage restoration, democratic participation and sustainable tourism. These innovation hubs serve as collaborative spaces where stakeholders from different disciplines and fields can come together to address complex societal challenges. By fostering transdisciplinary ways of working, these hubs encourage the development of solutions that can be applied across diverse contexts, ensuring adaptability and scalability. Through knowledge exchange platforms and collaborative initiatives, EU policies can support the creation of these innovation hubs, driving cross-sectoral collaboration and the co-creation of transformative solutions.

Good practice: Youth Centre Split

Resources should be invested in transdisciplinary research and development initiatives to support the co-creation of innovative solutions. By encouraging collaboration between social economy actors, businesses, government agencies and civil society organisations, EU policies can facilitate the development of solutions that address complex societal challenges. Establishing dedicated funding mechanisms and research grants for transdisciplinary projects will mobilise resources and promote social innovation, sustainable business models, and impact measurement methodologies. Additionally, promoting public-private partnerships and knowledge exchange platforms will further facilitate cross-sectoral collaboration and innovation. Through these initiatives, EU policies can drive sustainable development and societal transformation by supporting the co-creation of innovative solutions based on a transdisciplinary approach.

Good practice: Fondazione MeSSinA


Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or EISMEA. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

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