Civic monitoring report
Monitoring of urban areas in Campobasso

Sent on 5/03/2022 | By The Marconi Street Pals | @MarconiStPals

What we found out

Description

As "The Marconi Street Pals" never get tired of strolling and "patrolling" around their city, they would like to focus more closely on the project they chose to monitor which is aimed to qualify and improve some urban areas of Campobasso located in the outskirts of the city. Our "magnifying glass" centralizes on the following sites:
- Parco San Giovanni where an installation of two covered bleachers on the sides of the pitch, the placement of three new streetlights, pitch’s drainage, the fencing of the football field and the application of artificial grass were introduced;
- The green area in Via Marche in which the project focused on the installation of various games for children in addition to the garden maintenance;
- The natural area near Fasolino neighbourhood where street flooring and road links were consistently improved;
- In the tennis/volleyball court in Via San Giovanni, within the park in Via Campania, in the green area behind the kindergarten located in the CEP district and In Via Quircio we can observe similar interventions to the ones mentioned previously.
These zones offer different services to their communities: from parks that provide a natural playground for children, a free and gathering space for people, a site to hold special events and sports competitions, roads which connect these areas to the center and main spots of the city, to facilities and servises to cater for the different needs of the neighbourhood. More specifically, our intention is to analyze every renovation introduced during the progressive execution of the project under every aspect and to bring to everyone's attention the effects and impact on the communities that dwell in the redeveloped areas. Quoting Wiston Churchill: "we shape our buildings and thereafter they shape us" The areas implemented by the project impact a moltitude of aspects regarding our lives and well - being. As a matter of fact, the restoration and the refurbishment of some areas determine many positive effects which can be enjoyed and appreciated by the entire population: enhance a "sense of place" and community identity; fosters social interaction and aggregation; reduce obesity and chronic disease; improve happiness and mental health; promote active living, for longer and better lives.

The project was part of a wider financing program named "PISU" (Integrated urban development project), which was created by the European Community for the purpose of implementing the recovery of degraded urban areas. The interventions were realized in order to fulfill different aims: develop more social interaction among the population, improve the livelihood of some areas in the city through the introduction of multiple businesses and services and the construction of parks that occasionally host sports competitions and events such as music festivals, theatre performances or art exhibitions.

Progress

The project we are working on is finished. As a matter of fact specialized authorities such as the architect who followed all the progressive course of the project and the municipal office informed us about the complete employement of the European funds invested on the project. Moreover, we not only took pictures of the areas that have been restored and visited them, but also found on the Official website of "Comune di Campobasso" essential information about the development and implementation of the project. Our team is continuing to monitor and obtain feedback from the community of the sites in which the interventions were carried out. In order to do this, we encountered specialized authorities that provided us with further details and we did various inspections in the places concerned.

Results

Useful but also shows some minor problems

The project was completed in 2016, and the results achieved were the ones that the administration and the institutions concerned expected: the areas were amply restored and the population was and is fully satisfied as the people in charge of the maintenance work told us during their interviews. Nowadays these open spaces are used for different purposes and as gathering places. Furthermore, numerous cultural entertainment and leisure events, which host a great number of spectators (up to 1.500) in the park of San Giovanni, are usually held here and a good number of voluntary workers take good care of them. We can surely say that the areas were definitely improved by the implementational works and their successful accomplishments, as it is satisfactorily proved by the impact that these actions have had on the neighbourhoods. According to the interviewed citizens, the interventions that were made have been fulfilling for every category of the population that dwells in these premises and also for the inhabitants of other districts of the city who have greatly appreaciated and taken part in the events arranged for the following reasons:
as far as young people are concerned, there are many more activities such as innovative and appealing social events in which it is possible to participate in, and this is a huge advantage from a social point of view because people are encouraged to go to these new renovated green areas; adult people, on the other hand, have benefited from an increase in the quality of services provided; families can exploit the areas as playgrounds for their children; finally, from a visual impact, the green areas appear appealing and ready to welcome everybody especially in a period in which indoor gatherings should be avoided.

Weaknesses

According to us, it would have been useful to invest a part of the sum on parks that people are accostumed to hanging out at, improving their characteristics and infrastructures, such as the playground situated in Via Ungaretti Park, which is one of the most important gathering places in our city for families and yougsters. Thus, we absolutely believe that neighborhoods that have the need to favour social integration and cohesion should have priorities over all and, in the meantime, some other more popular areas should not be neglected.

Strengths

The first advantage of the restoration plan of suburban areas is the benefit enjoyed by the entire city. The parks built on the outskirts become places of aggregation, especially for young couples, children and elderly people and thus they offer the chance to prevent any social isolation. Everybody can share and enjoy moments of entertainment and relaxation and take part in cultural and recreational events. We can therefore conclude that the interventions have raised the overall quality of life and created the conditions to encourage socialization and furthermore fuel cohesion among the inhabitants.

Risks

At the moment we don’ t predict any risk which will cause problems to the project we are monitoring; we believe that the plan can be constantly enhanced and favor aggregation among the inhabitants of the municipality. We think this plan can satisfy citizens' will; in fact the places will charm lots of people from every age span.

and they will spend more time than before. We don’ t criticise what was done, but our opinion is that the municipality could have managed better the works.

Ideas and solutions

We believe that greater incisiveness is needed in the choice of interventions to focus them on smaller areas but with a greater impact that can be more lasting over time. We also believe that it is essential to find somebody that is directly interested in the maintenance of these places and can check on the well-being of the population. Moreover, we strongly believe in taking an active part in the volunteering pursuits by safeguarding these areas and by committing other adolescents in this kind of initiative applying good practices. The projects carried out by the Municipality of Campobasso, as part of the program “REDEVELOPMENT INTERVENTIONS ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION HISTORICAL CENTERS AND URBAN AREAS”
concerned with three large outlying areas: the San Giovanni district, the IACP district and via Quircio. The three areas are characterized by a high density and heterogeneous population: in some of these districts we have the coexistence of middle class and people who often have to deal with financial problems; besides, in one of the districts, live citizens of ROM ethnicity. These areas don't offer suitable services and are not made more appealing, the phenomenon of marginalization cannot be easily overcome. The seven interventions of the Municipality had, above all, the aim of redeveloping the affected areas by improving some green areas and the street furniture. But, through the redevelopment of the green sites, the aim was also to promote cohesion among citizens, the inclusion of segments of the population that are often marginalized such as elderly people, and the active involvement of young people. It is important that these places, once designed and developed, are not abandoned to themselves; they require continuous maintenance interventions (garden design, cleaning, etc.). We consider worthwhile to create a “synergy” between public bodies and neighborhood associations made up by volunteers, to enhance in the resident population a suitable sensitiveness towards the care of public spaces.

Results and Impact of the monitoring

Dissemination of results

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Territorial events organised by the teams
  • Team blog / website
  • Requests for private hearings or meetings
  • Media interviews

Connections

  • Municipal architect, Municipality of Campobasso
  • Representative of San Giovanni maintenance , Association
  • Representative of Colle dell'Orso maintenance , Vivi Colle dell'Orso

Contacts with media outlets

  • Local TV
  • Local newspapers
  • Other

Contacts with public administration

  • Generic answer
  • Concrete promises
  • Problem fixed

Description of the case

We believe that our monithoring activity has had an impact on the staff that was involved in the project. Firstly we observed that our curiosity was appreciated by the people we had the chance to interview, they realized that new generations would like to be involved in projects like this and that there should be means and strategies to reach them in the most effective ways. After realising that we, as teenagers and students, were interested in the narration of their activities and tasks, the maintenance associations offered us the opportunity to help them in their social work and commitment in order to create suitable synergies to involve young people in a concrete cooperation in favour of any active change.
As a matter of fact, the municipality of Campobasso also was taken aback by our enthusiasm and concern and asked us to take part in an impactful initiative to involve youngsters in the life of social communities. At the end of our project we organized a social event in one of the parks involved in the rennovation program. We entitled our event "share-condividiamo!" and It took place on the 8th of April. We invited several volounteereng associations as "solidarietà senza confini" that introduced us to some Ukranian families just arrived in Italy and "Associazione casanostra'' thanks to which people with Down syndrome joined the event. We spent the joyful morning together, in the name of solidariety and social coesion. Thanks to this experience we had the chance to understand the value of collaboration among citizens in order to create and to preserve much needed areas that make It possibile for the population to live in inclusive and welcoming environments.

Investigation method

How was the information collected?

  • Web research
  • Visit to the project's location, documented by pictures or videos
  • Interview with people responsible for the project's planning
  • Interview with the users and/or final beneficiaries of the intervention
  • Interview with other types of people
  • Interview with people responsible for the project's implementation

We interviewed the municipal architect Stelvio Bagnoli, who took care of the project management, Mrs Letizia Maselli of the association “ Vivi colle dell’orso" and Mrs Carmen Gioia of the association "San Giovanni " and both deal with the activity of maintenance and management of the rehabilitated areas. The role of each of them was fundamental for the realization of this project and is still important as they help to keep the restored areas a safe and welcoming places full of activities to be carried out.

Main questions

The two main questions asked are:
to the municipal architect "why was the historic center not involved?".
The other to the two representatives of the maintenance associations “ San Giovanni” and “Vivi colle dell’orso”
"What impact has this project had on the population?"

Main answers

We interviewed three authorities : the municipal architect, the representative of the maintenance association of "Vivi colle dell'Orso" and the representative of the maintenance association "San Giovanni".
To the first question the architect replied that it was not possible to implement a project in the historic center because more targeted, demanding, long and above all more expensive works would have been needed. Thus, with the budget available it would not have been possible to carry it out. On the other hand, to the second question, all the people interviewed answered with great enthusiasm that the project has favored the gathering of different age groups. Many people have the pleasure of sharing green spaces where they can relax, have fun and do various activities. The population is therefore more than satisfied, certainly everyone's help is needed to keep these areas clean and welcoming. The authorities that have been interviewed not only represent the administrative part of the society but also the citizens actively involved to keep the areas always clean and tidy. Moreover, their maintenance service guarantees an esclusive welcoming setting to favour the gathering of the whole community by proposing initiatives such as shows, special events, sports competitions and theatre plays.