Can Platformen Act as a Facilitator of New Communities? A Qualitative Case Study of the Potential and Development of Social initiatives to Strengthen the Synergy and Cohesion in a City

Nikita Juhl Lund

Student thesis: Master thesis


In recent decades, larger Danish cities have become increasingly segregated, meaning that it becomes increasingly difficult for social life to unfold across social, economic, and cultural boundaries. Social innovation is linked to collective initiatives. It has the potential to fight social exclusion, stigma, improve life quality, diversity of daily experiences, and local innovation initiatives, among others, within a local context. Civil society organizations have the strength and creativity to create spaces and initiatives for all groups of people through various communities. The civil society center Platformen envisions becoming a place formed and developed through a diversity of people using the space for different types of activities, thus encouraging communities that embraces creativity and diversity. This thesis aims to identify how Platformen can meet and support the local’s concerns, wishes, and needs for participation in activities on Platformen, with the vision of creating synergy and greater cohesion in the city. The research question is answered through a qualitative case study. To get insightful knowledge of the locals’ thoughts of creating community-developing activities at Platformen and Platformen’s visions and concerns, future workshops were held, one with five neighbors and one with three employees from Platformen. The workshops were accompanied by five semi-structured open interviews with inhabitants living in the area of Østerbyen to acquire context-dependent knowledge of people’s experiences, wishes, and needs for communities in the area. The conducted empirical material was analyzed using concepts and understandings of Coleman’s (1990) social capital and Wenger’s (2004) notion of participation in communities of practice. The analysis demonstrates different concerns and wishes towards the locals’ participation in activities at Platformen. The study identifies that Platformen can contribute to meeting, and supporting the locals’ wishes and needs for participation, by accommodating the considerations elucidated in the recommendations. The thesis provides recommendations that Platformen should consider to eliminate some of the concerns elucidated in the analysis, which can help create positive experiences and involvement for participation and local engagement. The results and recommendations of this study are based exclusively on a limited number of local statements of concerns, wishes, and needs, however, supported by existing experience in the field. Thus, it is recommended for future research to create broader involvement with an increased representative sample of the population living in the area. For this reason, it will be relevant to evaluate the recommendations based on the results of the present research and follow up on users’ wishes and needs compared to their actions for participation

EducationsMSocSc in Organisational Innovation and Entrepreneurship , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2021
Number of pages78
SupervisorsAlice Neusiedler