The S.A.L.U.S W SPACE project won the first European call for proposal of U.I.A. project (Urban Innovative Actions), being selected amongst 17 others with 378 proposals having been submitted.

The Municipality of Bologna (Institution for Social and Community Inclusion Don Paolo Serra Zanetti, International Relations and Projects Office, Public Works) is the coordinator of the project, which was designed and implemented by 16 partners. This project is co-financed by the European Regional and Development Fund trough the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative.

The overall objective of the three year project is to build a center for hospitality and work as well as intercultural welfare and wellness. Or in broader terms: Salus Space.

The areas and properties involved in the project are those of the ex clinic “Villa Salus”, which have been in a state of abandonment and decay for years.
The intervention involves a zero consumption of the territory, using the upgrading of the complex as an experimental site that, in addition to being a fly wheel for the local economy, aims to employ disadvantaged section of the population and at the same time train them professionally for the future management of the property as well as the creation of business activities for the benefit of the local area.

The aim of the intervention is to create an experimental site for social innovation through a participatory design process (co-design), with a generative and intercultural Welfare approach.
Ongoing monitoring and evaluation procedures are used during the whole process and are shared with all the partners, citizens included.

The project is accompanied by a strong communication campaign that involves both partners and citizens, with the aim to set up an Editorial Board.

The purpose of Salus Space is to create and define an innovative and replicable model of reception and integration for refugees, to be used also in other European contexts.

A maximum number of about 80 people will be hosted, including families with economic problems, refugees or asylum seekers. There will be a  bed & breakfast with 12 places available.


At this stage, the project activities are carried out in several places in the area, making a network with the other activities organised by Quartiere Savena.
The collaboration with local associations and charities is being strengthened, in order to share the participatory path with the collaboration of everybody.
These are the activities:
Training: training courses, mainly for migrants and refugees, started in order to build the skills needed for the future Salus Space community. The courses will end by December 2019 and will train 118 people. In addition, in early 2020 there will be a special training about the development of social entreprises, addressed to 20 people. The courses organised by Cantieri meticci and the gardening one are open to all citizens – they can register for free sending an email to, untill the exhaustion of the places.
Participatory path: thanks to the continue dialogue with the partners, ASP Città di Bologna is coordinating a participatory path that will lead to the definition of the future community of the inhabitants of Salus Space, following criteria of social mix, sustainability and motivation. Starting with the evolution of the housing needs in Bologna, that is increasingly cross-connected, the future community will be a mix of different ages, nationalities and social categories. It will be compose of single persons and family units, students, workers and refugees. Everybody will be committed to contributing to Salus Space project, both in economic terms, with a reduced fee in the rental lease, and in motivation to experience community life, by providing energy, time, talent and passion. The basis of Salus Space will be a Charter of values and a Community regulation, that will be defined with the involvement of the project partners, the neighborhood citizens and the potential future inhabitants of Salus Space, that will be called upon to discuss the issues of co-housing and community values.
Participatory newsroom: the participatory newsroom is composed by neighborhood citizens coordinated by a communications expert. They have a blog (www.saluspace/blog) that talks about the project and the territory. The group meets regularly and is open to everyone who may be interested (
Evaluation team: this group meets regularly and is composed by professional evaluators and citizens, that together accompaign the project partners in order to ensure that the expected results are achieved, guaranteeing effectiveness, quality and sustainability over time. If anyone is interested, the email is
Think Tank: this working group reflects on social innovation and the idea of community, but also it tries to create innovative solutions regarding accomodation and hospitality, based on a model of active social inclusion. The Think Tank is managed by the Istitution for Social and Community Inclusion of the Municipality of Bologna, in collaboration with the DAMSLab – Department of the Arts of the University of Bologna.
Regeneration site: besides the new urban layout of the whole area (that includes pavements, access, lighting, car parks), three are the main interventions: restructuring of the historical building (the only part of the old Villa Salus clinic that hasn’t been demolished), the construction of a new residential building and of 4 temporary structures that will host workshops, a bar and a theatre, until the multi-purpose building will be ready.


Experimentation – from May 2020

The project will create a model that can be replicated and exported to other Italian and European cities. For this reason, it will face the challange of economic sustainability and public-private management, with an active role of the neighbourhood citizens. At this experimental stage, activities will be initiated into the historical building and into the temporary structures, designed together with the partners to host the new services in a functional and integrated way. At this stage, the first group of inhabitants will be formed in the new residential building and there will be social and cultural initiatives in collaboration with the citizens, in order to make Salus Space a lively and attractive place.

The final goal

The final goal is to create a center of local services for citizens, which will culminate with the opening of the multi-purpose building, where there will be a multicultural restaurant, artistic and craft workshops and the theatre. At this stage, we will see the results of the experimentation and the actual management will start, with a procedure to public evidence for the award of contracts. The role of the local inhabitants will remain a central feature, using forms of organisation that will be studied and followed up, from the association of social promotion to the community-based social enterprise.

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