Reggio Emilia - a local framework pact for the riqualification of the railway station zone
The railway station area in Reggio Emilia was originally conceived as an upper-middle class residential neighbourhood.
The bankruptcy of the building firm, as well as the dynamics typical of a railway station zone and the significant migration wave experienced by the city during the 2000s, has brought to a situation that has been described as “a banlieu in the old town centre” (2008).
The area covers 3 districts, around 30 streets and 4000 inhabitants, 59% of which were migrants, outstanding percentage if compared to the city average (18,4%).
The area was becoming more and more an enclave, an otherness removed from the rest of the city.
2007: "Cohabiting in the station zone "
This project deployed by the city administration brought to the writing and signing of the” Local Framework Pact for cohabiting, following rules and taking responsibilities” between local administration, citizens, unions, Cooperation agents, NGOs and committees. Around 200 people took part to this phase.
The pact was articulated around 4 themes:
Role and actions of the security force, in particular the local police: through a proximity policing approach, 2 teams patrolling by foot and interacting with the zone inhabitants as well as the other bodies operating there, have been deployed. One of their main aim has been to enforce the municipal ordinance which prohibits selling alcohol after 17h30 (one of the main problems emerged from the citizens was the constant presence of drunk groups).
Urban Design: demolishment of the “lucchetto” (the lock), a building designed as a parking but turned into a meeting place for drug dealers and other kind of illegal activities. Instead of this building, symbol of degradation, a park, which conveys the idea of transparency and openness, as well as representing a place of aggregation due to the Reggio Bar and to the opportunities of cultural entertainment offered, can be enjoyed. The restoration of the Paulonie Park, as well as the empowerment of the street lightening and the restoration of sidewalks with the addition of cycling lane were managed. Finally, the administration bought some of the spaces in the area for leasing them to citizens and associations of the zone.
Development and redefinition of the services’ network: a new bus line, the reorganization and empowerment of the garbage collection, as well as the cleaning day by day of streets and private porticos, were managed. A series of more socio/cultural/educational services were also deployed as “spazio Raga”, a place offering a reference point to young people (14/18).
Social Prevention Projects and Activities: a series of projects aiming at promoting the real cohabitation between old and new citizens have been started: continuous labs of cultural activities (which end in the public festival “1,6,7 contatto!”), a centre for the mediation of conflicts, not only public but also dealing with the private spaces of condominiums. Furthermore a new operational core of street mediators, composed by one educator with previous experience of street work, one Moroccan social worker able to mediate in Arabic, one social animator, have been set up. Finally the Centro Incontro Reggio Est have been revitalized thank to a new group of people, both from Italian and foreign background.
The staff of the “Department of policy planning for integration, inclusion and cohabiting” decided to use a Logical Framework approach, not calling for suggestions but actively outreaching to the inhabitants of the zone for writing a document which could bind all the parts to activate actions in order to reach the objectives that have been expressed.
The work proceeded along these steps:
1. Problem definition
2. Outreach for interviewing and talking with people working and leaving in the zone
3. Analysis of the problems: through 4 seminars with the stakeholders, problems are exposed in a tree framework, in cause-effect logics.
4. Problems are converted in objectives that represent the solutions that have been proposed by the participants to the seminars.
5. The objectives are transferred in a master plan and completed through the actions that must be realized, the indicators and the sources for the evaluation (sub-logical framework).
Thanks to this active outreach approach all the people and associations that were active during the previous years have been involved, leading to consulting more than 180 people.
The working team in charge of designing and managing the project was composed by: 5 members of the Department of policy planning for integration, inclusion and cohabiting, 9 consultants of Extrafondente (a company dealing with social research, training and co-planning), 70 inhabitants of the area, other public bodies like USL (Local health board), police headquarters, “tavolo interforze” (a partnership between all the security agencies for coordinating their actions), other Departments of the Administration, 5 associations.
Monitoring tools of the progresses have been two groups of 10 people each, meeting with the team every 3 months, a middle term meeting with 88 people working on 6 different topics, surveys and press analysis.
Regarding the objective that was felt as one of the more urgent by the population, changing the representation given by the press and transmit a positive image of the area, the press analysis has shown a rate of 48,6% positive articles in the two years after the signing of the pact.
Also the citizens opinion has been moderately positive given the 5,3/10 in the realization index and 85% of the population agreeing on the need for the project to go on.
Corradini F. (edited by)(2014). Dalla città all’Europa – Strategie di sicurezza urbana. Edizioni Nuova Prhomos. Città di Castello (PG)