Role of the municipality
A lot of places to meet, such as restaurants and cafés, are run by entrepreneurs. Despite this the municipality still has a role to play. The use of public space is subject to a number of laws and rules. Any bar or restaurant which has outdoor seating needs a permit, for example.
Many municipalities are focusing on reducing loneliness. After all, they have the task of encouraging citizens to participate in society. Usually this is not addressed in recreational policy, but in healthy environmental planning. Social organisations are collaborating more and more to tackle loneliness, for example in the Inclusion Coalition. They provide places to meet and social activities for lonely people.
Various cities, such as Utrecht, want to know how different neighbourhoods score in terms of social cohesion. They use so-called neighbourhood profiles, for instance, to take account of local characteristics. Around 60 municipalities present their social facilities and activities on The social map. Movisie supports policymakers in tackling social issues.
Residents are involved more and more in healthy environmental planning, under the banner of participation. This is leading to the creation of residential areas that meet the demands of the local population. People can, for example, share ideas about green spaces in the neighbourhood, or take responsibility for managing them. This can increase the basis of support and the social cohesion in the neighbourhood.