The European Network of family friendly Municipalities “bet” on “family wellbeing”

What makes a region or a municipality attractive? With 150 municipalities from 9 European countries, the Network it’s a growing reality:

Regina Maroncelli, president of ELFAC

I read with a lot of expectations the recent OECD’s report on “Rethinking Regional Attractiveness in the New Global Environment” which analyzes what can “enhance the attractiveness of regions to the international target groups of investors, talent and visitors.”

This highly interesting document covers 14 dimensions across 6 domains of attractiveness (economic attraction, connectedness, visitor appeal, natural environment, resident well-being, and land use and housing). It aims to “capitalise on that latent economic potential” with the ” provision of an evidence-based diagnostic tool” that can help regions “to identify the strengths, gaps and opportunities at their disposal to attract foreign investment, talent and visitors, which, together, can provide greater resilience in the face of future global economic and environmental shocks”.

It’s a useful tool “through which regions can view their performance and comparative advantages relative to other regions at the national and supranational levels, across a range of dimensions”. But it forgets families. Families with children are not a target group, although they might be visitors (migrants or tourists), workers or entrepreneurs and of course students… In the study, there is a general reference to wellbeing and social cohesion, but nothing specific regarding family and family services such as kindergarten, playfields, children and families friendly urbanisation and public spaces, education, health care, meeting points…

It’s a matter of perspective, I know. But we need to give a body and a soul to our regions and municipalities to ensure their future. And there’s no future for local territories without family policies at all levels: on work places, in the local institutions, in education or housing.
We are collecting evidence that being “family friendly” makes cities and regions more attractive to workers (and their families), tourists, young families and large families, but we don’t have OECD’s resources.

Maybe the next OECD’s report will take a look at that too and will also measure attractiveness though family-friendliness.

(In the picture: Veszprém, in Hungary, 2023 European Capital of Culture, is member of the European Network of family fiendly municipalities)

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