B.1. Understanding of integrated and sustainable urban development:
I am an architect with experience in urban regeneration projects based processes of local economic revitalization. After graduating from IUAV University (Venice, 2007), I obtained a Master in Urban Design at Roma Tre University (Rome, 2010) and completed a Postgraduate in Energy Efficient and Sustainable Building (Rome, 2011). Since I finished my studies, I’ve always paid special attention to sustainable development both in profession, with urban renewal projects, and within academia, as general coordinator of the above-mentioned Postgraduate course at Lumsa University of Rome. On the latter subject I’ve arranged workshops and conferences for the promotion of energy efficiency measures in an ecological way on behalf of Fondazione Italiana di Bioarchitettura. As a member of the non-profit association ItaliaNostra, I face regularly development issues, in relation to the enhancement of cultural and natural heritage, as a way to increase quality of life. Since 2011 I work as urban planner for the largest trade association in Italy, for which I developed strategies and plans for the local economic growth of several cities. Three of these plans were awarded by the National Institute for Urban Planning for their ability to balance private and public interests. In addition, since 2012, I work on URBANPRO project, a body intended to develop urban policies and strengthen territorial economic systems, supported by entrepreneurial associations and the National Council of architects.
B.2. Understanding of exchange and learning processes at transnational level:
During the last two years I worked on the Italian-Slovenian project "Participatory Planning Workshop of Gorizia, Nova Gorica and Šempter-Vrtojba” in which several local stakeholders were involved: municipalities, the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation, the University of Venice and the local traders association. One of my tasks was to prepare transnational networking activities, connecting citizens and economic operators of both countries. Overcoming language barriers and cultural differences, the workshop implemented out many participatory phases (including meetings, focus groups, questionnaires) focusing on constraints and opportunities on the construction of a border region. I strongly believe in the importance of the transnational learning processes and, as coordinator of the postgraduate course in Energy Efficient and Sustainable Building, I brought to Italy the experience of many professionals working in the EU countries where the most advanced technologies are applied. In this case it was essential to act as a mediator between the foreign proposals and the Italian audience, finding technical and cultural ways to make the studied cases relevant in the Italian context. Lastly, I attended the final phase of the URBACT project TUTUR, which allowed for an exchange of expertise with many other European colleagues on urban regeneration topics and, in particular, on the role of local markets for which I suggested new management methods to be applied to the case of Rom
B.3. Proficiency in English:
Like most of young european citizens, I grew up studying English both in my country and abroad. My English is excellent in terms of understanding, speaking and writing, and I regularly deal with foreign students and colleagues at university, as well as at the conferences I organise. Since the organisation I work for operates also at European level, I use English during international meetings.
Theme / Policy:
Local Economic Development
D.1. Deep knowledge on the selected theme and related policy challenges, including up to date practice, research, etc.:
The strengthening of the tertiary sector in urban areas, a mixture of handcraft, small trade and services, plays a key role in processes of urban regeneration and development of local economy. Since 2011, I deal with this issue at the Urban Planning Department of Confcommercio, the leading Italian trade-association in this sector. I developed plans for many cities aiming to link economic revitalization with urban redevelopment, since I believe that they depend on each other. I focused in particular on historic centres, which are experiencing heavy closures of economic activities with negative social impacts. My tasks were to analyze the urban context, conduct participatory activities and identify integrated actions to create competitive conditions for enterprises, as well as positive conditions allowing for the wellbeing of citizens. During these years of fieldwork I honed skills to facilitate the dialogue between the local government bodies (e.g., Municipalities, Chamber of commerce) with small traders, citizens and associations, through participatory planning workshops, in order to resolve conflicts, support the growth of enterprises and renew the urban environment. At local level, I also put effort into the dissemination of information on town center management, which in Italy are still struggling to spread, and local opportunities for enterprises and sustainable urban development provided by the ESI Funds 2014-2020.
D.2. Ability to produce thematic inputs to feed in the learning process of in projects in which you have been involved:
A large part of my work, based on participatory processes, consists of providing thematic inputs to local stakeholders to increase the awareness of their needs and to elaborate suitable policies and development strategies, with a view to the transnational level. This has been done in the project for Gorizia (see section B.2) for which I produced reports as the basis for a number of meetings based on a triple helix model where cities administrations, entrepreneurs and citizens of both countries, Italy and Slovenia, work together to exchange their point of view and learn from each other to create a common strategy for their territory. http://goo.gl/SKs46q I am also working on the construction of a transnational network of Austrian, Belgian, French, Greek and Spanish trade organizations for the exchange of good practices on the revitalization of urban areas, suitable for the growth of businesses, the quality of life and the environmental protection. I also recently organized a five-day exhibition at the European Parliament in Brussels to illustrate the experiences of economic revitalization and urban redevelopment carried out by Confcommercio in Italy. This opportunity was a good input to exchange and compare experiences with politicians, specialists and students of other EU countries. http://goo.gl/zUW8Or
D.3. Ability to produce concise reports that incorporate learning from exchange & learning activities, put forward good practice:
For each plan I wrote reports addressed to city authorities, economic players, associations and pratictioners. In the case of Bassano del Grappa, the local entrepreneurs association commissioned an exchange activity between inhabitants and traders of the historic centre to find a common ground for their different needs. A report, containing policies and good practices, has thus been shared with the local city practitioners association for its implementation and with the National Department of Cohesion. In Bari, a research on the largest neighborhoods outlined characteristics of the urban and economic system that have to be considered in the drafting of the new Urban Plan. A report has been made available to the appointed professionals so that urban planning processes could take into account the different economic identities of the districts. The participatory workshops held in the village of Torgiano, have focused on regeneration strategies for small urban centres, and the following study was reported as good practice by the local Chamber of commerce. As of 2011, these and other projects (Padua, Vibo Valentia, Follonica) were presented at UrbanPromo, a national event serving as a point of reference for city practitioners, and were awarded the ‘National Prize for Urban Planning’ in 2012, 2013 and 2014 by the National Institute of Urban Planning. On the topic of cultural and economic enhancement of small Italian villages I also co-wrote the text of "Borghi storici minori”.
D.4. Understanding of how to maximize the use of project results for benefits in capitalization, policy design, awarenes:
The working method I adopt enables to share analyses and project proposals with economic operators, citizens and local government institutions. This is because I believe that broadening the base for discussion throughout the entire process is the best way to capitalize on the carried out work. I.e., in Bassano del Grappa the early involvement of the Municipality has allowed the later adoption of the plan by the city council as a guideline for economic development actions for the city centre and the surrounding area. The same work has involved entrepreneurs and citizens in a participatory planning workshop, that is still independently working, run by Associazione UrbanCenter, as a result of a raised awareness on the need of partnerships to manage their city and build opportunities for economic growth and a higher quality of life. The constructive public-private partnership has thus made it possible to participate jointly in a public call for proposals of the Veneto Region and to obtain the maximum contribution provided for the strategic redevelopment of trade activities. For this project I have supervised every step of the participatory workshops, the definition of intervention strategies and the presentation of the project to local stakeholders. Under the same methodology, the plan for Gorizia led to the availability of the Municipality to review its urban planning tools to include strategies for the development of urban economies in different neighbourhoods.
Summary Thematic expertise:
My thematic experience lies in the field of local economic development through participatory planning workshops involving public institutions, entrepreneurial associations, citizens and universities. Since 2011, I’ve been dealing with this issue in many cities through triple and quadruple helix collaborations which have enabled me to create a basis for sustainable local development through the real application of a system of knowledge. A widespread work at grass-root level has allowed me to draft plans supported by city users and associations, as a guarantee for their effective successful implementation. I believe that business depends on the city (for its articulation of services), however the city inevitably depends on business (for social and economic functions and opportunities for employment). In this perspective, the quality urban areas is a key issue both for the quality of life and the maintenance of a high level of vitality on the part of enterprises and this is the rationale underlying the works, national and transnational, that I’ve been carrying out in order to propose solutions based on an approach that goes beyond the simple concept of the economic function of businesses. In this field I developed skills to draft plans able to support the growth of enterprises and renew the urban environment, with a view to the social aspects and reconciling of the multiplicity of interests that are played in the territory.