People increasingly live in urban environments. Everywhere cities are the sites of growth, including in our own country. Urban infrastructures and an urbanizing culture cover all but the entire Flemish region.
Cities are not self-sufficient. They are borne on the rising and falling tides of the world economy, attract outsiders both poor and rich, and form the nodes of complex networks of migration and other processes of globalization. Cities are at the very center of a world in change, full of opportunities, but also a source of tension and conflict. A main concern for public authorities will be to react flexibly to the changing dynamics of urban society and to prevent tensions from spiraling into violence. Cooperation will be necessary: local governments are best in tune with budding trends, a well-considered Flemish urban policy can offer much-needed support, also informal urban communities have their part to play in managing conflict.
The Flemish Peace Institute wants to contribute to a proper understanding of contemporary urban society. It pays special attention to the causes of violence and the possibilities of violence prevention.