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Urban Resilience in Potenza: a concept for co-creating cities of the future

Edited on

28 September 2017
Read time: 2 minutes

Within the Resilient Europe network the city of Potenza works with the innovative governance concept of Transition Management developed by the Dutch Research Institute for Transition Management (DRIFT).  It systematically drives the co-creation of transformative vision, actions and strategic agendas through ‘pathways’, which mobilize action on the short-term, medium-term and long term. These pathways connect the actions on the ‘here and now’ to desirable futures ‘there and tomorrow’.

Our Vision

But what does this jargon mean in the context of a real city? How do we envision our city? Let’s start with the vision developed by the Urban Local Group (ULG) of Potenza, a group of stakeholders and citizens.
“The city centre of Potenza represents the integration within all the local communities, with a particular attention to the people with perceptual and motor impairment, the elderly, family and migrants. The city centre breaths culture and tradition, and it is the place of civic associations. Citizens are at the center of the neighborhood’s life and they are committed to empower security in the areas, to do the maintenance of public spaces, to build a network of private green areas integrated with the three local public parks: Montereale, Villa del Prefetto, Torre Guevara.” 

Pathways – how to get there?

A well formulated vision helps to create pathways, and pathways in their turn help to arrive at goals envisioned. Because, in the end, you need to keep your eyes on the prize. But how do we get there? Potenza is working on several pathways: For example, developing a resilient community by promoting private-sector initiatives and guided tours to encourage the implementation of artistic and cultural events in the area. Another pathway focusses on increasing cultural, recreational and commercial supply by reusing abandoned buildings and by promoting innovative technology activities and business incubators. A third pathway is set to increase the quality and accessibility of public spaces through the elimination of architectural barriers and mapping accessible routes and accessibility of public places and of public services. Also a tax relief for citizens carrying out maintenance of private green spaces could increase the quality of public spaces. Lastly, a pathway focusing on developing ordinary and emergency planning and maintenance by upgrading the city centre recovery plan.
The vision and pathways provide a number of important goals to be achieved in the future to increase the resiliency of Potenza. However, only few actions, to foster the transformation, started during the project “Resilient Europe” (2015-2018). As a consequence, Potenza is now putting a lot of effort in searching others ways to include the remaining actions into other tools and projects of the European Funds.

Sharing good practice

In July 2017, the Municipality of Potenza published the Strategic Document of Urban Development 2014-2020. A plan identifying the ‘Integrated Territorial Investment’ funded by the Regional Operational Programme of the European Regional Development Fund. The Urban Local Group played an important role in the development of this document. The work in the Local Group has been of inspiration in the defining process of the strategy and several of the actions included in the Action Plan developed for the Resilient Europe project will come to life in the next years, even aftr the conclusion of our project.
The Urban Local Group worked together with a lot of different government bodies. Communicating among different offices of public bodies in order to maximize the result is called ‘Institutional Resilience’ and is considered an example of a good practice. Potenza has an office now which is exclusively working on connecting different projects and programs, and fostering the partnerships with other public bodies, such as Regional or Provincial Authorities, the University and research centers.

But what are we doing right now?

“We are working on some experiments with the members of our local group and at the same time people are starting to raise resilience by their own”, said Federico Amato. “As an example, the Urban Local Group asked us to take part in several initiatives to promote the recovery of the deprived site where the Guevara tower, the only remaining part of the ancient castle of Potenza, is placed. This is a good example of a bottom-up experiment: citizens started working on it because they are aware of the importance of the monument for the city centre in the ULG, so they asked the Municipality to join them.”