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Gela

   Location & population size Gela is nowadays one of the most important industrial centres in Sicily, with its Petrol-Chemical Pole (one among the largest in Europe) and the ASI (Industrial Development Board) industrial area with plentiful productive SMEs. Important agricultural production (appreciated vegetables, wheat, olives and fruits): during the last years have been created several cooperatives for the production, manufacturing and commercialisation of agricultural products. Tertiary sector in Gela counts a considerable number of family-managed SMEs. Notwithstanding the activation in the early sixties of a Petrol-Chemical Pole – which engendered the arrival of a huge number of foreign workers in the town, since early nineteen hundreds very numerous have been Gela inhabitants obliged to migrating for job-searching reasons. At the same conditions of many other southern emigrants, the main destinations were, essentially: Northern Italy, Germany and America. Speaking of figures, it is about different tens of thousands people having changed residency and having created there families elsewhere. Strategic importance Situated on Southern Sicily Coast, Gela is the sixth Sicilian municipality for number of inhabitants, the 71st largest city in Italy and the main agricultural, industrial and commercial centre in the district of Caltanissetta, capital of the same name province. Being a reference point for a large territory of almost 200,000 inhabitants, for decades Gela has been and goes on waiting to be promoted as capital of the so-called Province of the Gulf. Gela lays in a barycentre position compared to the numerous road connections (it is linked with bus services to almost all Sicilian capitals); it has a large and modern railway station and it is endowed with two harbour structures, one for big tonnage merchant ships and one for yachting and leisure ships. The nearest airports are that one of Catania (110 kms) and that one of Palermo (220 kms), even if in the near future it will be activated the airport of Comiso (45 kms). Key business & employment sectors Despite workers in force have very much reduced during the last decades, petrol- chemical sector counts, nowadays, about 1,500 employees. Following to the labour reduction in petrol-chemical sector, agriculture has regained its record for number of employees in the local economic framework. Tertiary sector counts a non exceptional number of employees in public and private services, but in the last years it is however demonstrating positive trends. Short historic & economic overviewBefore the heavy industry period, Gela economy was essentially based upon: agriculture (the largest production of wheat and cotton all over Europe); fishery (the second fleet of Italy); handicraft activities; seaside tourism; important loading harbour for export; wine-producing yards; “light” industries (cotton, olive oil, wheat and pasta mills, etc.) Gela is nowadays one of the most important industrial centres in Sicily, with its Petrol - Chemical Pole (one among the largest in Europe) and the ASI (Industrial Development Board) industrial area with plentiful productive SMEs. Important agricultural production (appreciated vegetables, wheat, olives and fruits): during the last years have been created several cooperatives for the production, manufacturing and commercialisation of agricultural products. Tertiary sector in Gela counts a considerable number of family-managed SMEs. Importance of the SMEs in the local economy Apart from Petrol-Chemical Pole which, however, represents the main economic pole for Gela, the town economy is mainly embodied by SMEs working in various productive sectors: groceries, housing, waste recycling, electronics, chemistry, metal-mechanics, naval shipbuilding industry, carpentry, etc. Importance of the Third Sector in the local economyThird sector has shown positive trends in the last years. Indeed, there are plentiful associations and groups which have been created during these years that, thanks to the strong sensibility of local stakeholders towards third sector issues, offer new chances fo r the creation of jobs and businesses.

Overall objective of the Local Action Plan

  • promoting a process of growth of Gela territory through the support to the constitution and to the consolidation of territorial and administrative units of operating experts in the theme of strategic planning, programming, management, monitoring, and evaluation of public investments: in this framework, the Local Action Plan really is understood like a voluntary tool, not equivalent of the being in force city planning, of the territorial development planning through which the Municipality of Gela provides itself with a strategy to acquit the role of attraction pole of the material and intangible nets that can work as a flywheel towards a durable and sustainable reinforcement of the competitiveness in the territory;
  • supporting, at local level, proceedings of institutional, administrative and organisational innovation, joined to the activation of deliberative democracy proceeds able to mobilise a plurality of subjects in the activities of building the future of the town, in line with the indications of the European Commission on the Regional Foresight (European Commission, 2002) as a tool to reach a strategic plan built across the stimulus, the activation and the exploitation of a more spacious project planning, capable to involve public and private actors: this involvement of different entities will be essential for the creation of a net of connections and of strong relations, constituting the true added value and the true propulsive force for the development of the Strategic Plan;
  • surveying, systematising and valorising the innovations ripened in the framework of territorial strategic planning: this can be achieved both via the systematic (and critical) spreading of national and international strategic planning experiences that progressively reduced the exclusiveness of the urban-territorial dimension of the considered tool; and via the putting to system of the existing planning and the development of knowledge and deliberation proceedings supported to the process of formulation of the “deliberated strategy”, the recognition and re-reading of the issues and information connected to the “emerging strategy”.


Operational objectives of the Local Action Plan

Being the Local Action Plan contextualised to the planning and to the development of the urban social economy, operational specific objectives will be:

  • testing the methods of mobilisation of local communities in favour of co-operation in the process of revitalisation of local labour markets and development of the urban area, including the promotion of entrepreneurs’ contribution to the development and implementation of revitalisation programmes;
  • working out model solutions in empowering the third sector, particularly by up-grading employees’ qualifications concerning the management of social enterprises;
  • improving the availability of investment capital for social enterprises.


Business branches to be strengthened in the city within the Local Action Plan

All of the services aiming to the development of social economy like, as an example: Services to the person, health services, sustainable and responsible tourism, cultural heritage valorisation, environmental protection, equity and solidarity commerce, ethical finances, urban green and differentiated waste-collection, schools, prisons and hospitals catering, sustainable architecture and master plans (civil, industrial and traffic plans), etc.



Entrepreneurial fields in the city/region especially qualified for clustering

Social Economy calls for diversified and qualified skills. The further it evolves towards an enterprise-style management, the more it needs negotiating skills, financial skills, lobbying skills, networking and management skills. Special attention should be focused on this problem and the government should be asked to cooperate in view of such skills, both by facilitating mobility from the traditional sector and financing appropriate learning.



Areas/elements of the Local Action Plan for which inputs from the partners and exchange activities of Urban NOSE are require

Social enterprises need networking. Their growth will be fostered by: the creation of horizontal networks that may offer some of the advantages usually provided by scale economies; and by the setting up networks involving potential counterparts and other social actors. Among those actors there may also be representatives of the profit sector in order to identify positive complementarities.

Related Good Practices

SOME RELATED NETWORKS

Urban N.O.S.E.

Towards an urban economic system of Social Incubators
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