logo: community works


Community Works


Initial situation, problems and motivation: International research on security in the public sphere illustrates the multitude of uncertainty and insecurity factors that interact in a complex way on a physical-spatial, individual/psychological, and social level. Problem areas such as damage to property, noise pollution, discriminatory spatial displacement and appropriation processes, up to incidents of physical violence and bodily injury play a role here, even if their causes and constellations can vary greatly. In effect, this can lead to great strains on community life and on the personal sense of security of the affected users and residents. In addition to conventional measures (technical surveillance, increased police presence, etc.), social measures are an important safety factor in the public sphere, which can strengthen respectful, interest-sensitive negotiation, empowerment, and commitment to civil society in the social sphere. Community Work (GWA) is an internationally recognised concept aimed at improving the living conditions of people in a community with the participation of those affected. Their capacity to act and their self-organization in the sense of collective empowerment are promoted. Community Work is seen as a strategy to reduce violence within communities and increase subjective and objective security.

Goals and innovative content: At present, various GWA approaches exist in Austria, but there is a lack of well-founded, informative knowledge of the efficacy of the implemented approaches. However, this knowledge is essential to further developing the practice, both innovatively and evidence-based. In other words: it is the only way to find a best practice solution.

  • The research project generates scientifically sound findings on safety-relevant effects of various approaches of community work in public spaces by means of meaningful impact evaluation.
  • On this basis, comprehensive and context-specific success factors and guidelines for an evidence-based conception and the implementation of community work projects are identified. They are systematically communicated to relevant demand groups in Austria and jointly transformed into practical knowledge.

Desired results and findings:

  • Comprehensive efficacy data of four evaluated GWA measures in the public sphere.
  • Catalogue of evidence-based success factors for the conception, design and implementation of innovative GWA approaches in public spaces.
  • Recommendations for action/implementation for municipal decision-makers, GWA institutions and other security partners (e.g., police/prevention officers).
  • Instrument for impact-oriented self-evaluation for GWA measures in public spaces.


The project is funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism (BMLRT) as part of the KIRAS Security Research KIRAS



Project Partners

Project Duration

März 2020 bis Dezember 2022

Project Lead

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