A participatory process aimed to protect, enhance, and manage certain landscapes within the autonomous regional territory in Italy, in part by defining strategic guidelines for its sustainable development.
Problems and Purpose
The regional Landscape Plan is a planning tool aimed at safeguarding and managing the territory of Friuli Venezia Giulia as a whole. Its role is to integrate the protection and enhancement of the landscape within potentially transformative processes in the territory, by defining guidelines for its sustainable development. As such, national legislation identifies the Landscape Plan as the main instrument to which all other urban planning instruments conform. According to this perspective, the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia has elevated the landscape to a central node and a strong point for the development of its territory and the quality of life of its citizens.
From an operational point of view, the Region has chosen to elaborate the Plan through a gradual and participatory process articulated in several phases according to the dictates of art. 143 [i] of the Codice dei beni culturali e del paesaggio (translated: Code of Cultural Heritage and Landscape) (Legislative Decree no. 42/2004 and subsequent amendments). The Region also implements the Plan according to the principles of the European Landscape Convention. The process started on 7 March 2014 and to date (3/3/17), two years later is not yet fully concluded.
Background History and Context
Italy promotes the development of culture as well as scientific and technical research. It aims to protect the landscape and the nation's historical and artistic heritage.  The first law that tried to protect the landscape in Italy with a plan, i.e. rules for the use and transformation of part of the territory dates back to 1939, during the fascist era (Law no. 1497/39). At that time, exceptionalities were identified, single localities characterized by significant natural beauties. In the mid-eighties — the years of the great environmental reforms — the “Galasso” Law no. 431/1985 introduced landscape plans, which include the whole regional territory, restricting land use with graduated regulations, including general ones (e.g. a minimum distance for building beside river beds).
In 2000, the European Landscape Convention was signed in Florence and a few years later, the Codice dei beni culturali e del paesaggio (transl. Code of Cultural Heritage and Landscape) was published. The so-called Codice "Urbani" (transl. "Urban" Code) (Legislative Decree 42/2004), which was amended in 2008, is the current reference legislation for the implementation of procedures for drafting regional landscape plans. In addition to new procedures, the functions of the plans are increased, which also concern implementation policies for the enhancement and management of certain landscapes. However, Italian law, although it claims to do so, does not fully incorporate the definition and spirit of the European Landscape Convention (ELC). According to the Urban Code landscape means the expressive territory of identity, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors.  This is quite distant from the ELC definition according to which: "Landscape means an area, as perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors".  With this definition, the ELC introduces participation (of populations) as an essential element for the very definition of a common good on which regulations and guidelines for human activities and public investments depend. In contrast, the Code tends to make the expert point of view still prevail in the analysis of identity expressions. Furthermore, this passage to a landscape defined by the populations (in the plural), therefore not only by those who reside and live permanently in a territory, goes beyond the mere spatial boundaries in which popular sovereignty is exercised and potentially includes all lovers of a place and its landscape.
In Italy, there have been some regions that have built their landscape plans in a more or less participatory way. They have aimed to adhere at a regional level to the definition of the ELC and therefore to elaborate in a participatory way not only the minimum dictates of the Italian Code of Cultural Heritage, but to include in the enhancement actions, provided for by the Code, participatory recovery of a sense of place and community identity (also including intangible assets such as local languages) and forms of participation in the management of common assets and their enhancement. Among the first regions to implement these plans strongly inspired by the ELC were Puglia (Apulia) and Tuscany in 2012-2013. Both have equipped themselves with participatory WebGIS platforms to collect reports from the public who can contribute from all over the planet.
With the implementation of a part of the ELC, the Observatories of the landscape (art.133) have also been introduced into the Italian Heritage Code, one national and one per region, which should be a structure of study, elaboration and connection between actors, citizens and institutions. Not all regions have activated it at the moment and it is not yet active even in Friuli Venezia Giulia.
Debora Serracchiani, the current president of the Region, dedicates the 13th chapter of her government's 66-page program to the Landscape. The young politician (born in 1970) of the Democratic Party previously served as European parliamentarian, a post from which she resigned in 2013, having won the regional elections. The concept of landscape returns in her program under various chapters: environment, economic development, transport, agriculture, artistic heritage, tourism, and so on. It is considered a "concept above the others [...] from which to start again[...][and that one does not want to] renounce, describing place by place in the parts that are still transformable and in those that must not be, under penalty of the loss of a collective heritage" [translated to English from original Italian].  Landscape in the program is understood as a distinctive element, which is valuable and which overcomes national borders. The program is written in 4 languages (including the Friulian dialect) and finally aims to "ensure that European networks are not considered only as multi-modal transport corridors, but other important environmental corridors capable of connecting transnational spaces and places, to make people communicate in another way by expanding the opportunities for relationships. In particular, we plan to strengthen the programs around the Alliance of the Alps and intervene on one of the identity elements of the Region, the Tagliamento as a European river [translated to English from original Italian]”. 
The landscape therefore forces us to deal with all aspects of territoriality and its governance so it is particularly instructive to analyze how a participatory process was organized for the construction of the regional landscape plan of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, a borderland. Although it is an Autonomous Region, it is not particularly predisposed or favored, compared to other regions, to adopting participatory tools for the definition of its landscape policies.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
The Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia is the decision-maker; the organization of the landscape plan process and its drafting was handled by the Servizio Paesaggio e Biodiversità (transl. Landscape and Biodiversity Protection Service) which reports to the Department of Territorial Planning. In addition to managing the organization of the general process and the tools, the Region offered funding up to a maximum of €50,000 to mountain communities and €10,000 to groups of municipalities, which would decide independently to join the course by signing a Convention (Lr 27 / 2014, art. 3). For these activities, however, a total cost of only €100,000 was authorized for the year 2015 (Ib.). 100 municipalities joined the Convention.
Among the main support bodies is a group of researchers from the University of Udine's Department of Human Sciences (in particular, geographers and sociologists) who oversaw the planning of the process and were responsible for drafting the results. They also organized an accompanying training course for the facilitators appointed by the municipalities to manage local processes. The course was held in Udine (logistically more central than the capital Trieste).
The officials of the Ministero per i Beni Culturali (translated: Ministry of Cultural Heritage) were also involved; the Superintendents are the government inspectors on transformations to the landscape and cultural heritage, but their role in the participatory process was not explicit. They have probably entered a considerable amount of data into the WebGIS Participatory Archive.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
Involvement is distinguished according to the two levels of governance of the plan.
The first level was on the regional scale, open to a wide public, and centred around general information. All interested parties who wanted to get informed could view or contribute to the collection of data on (positive or negative) landscape values, the sub-plans (e.g. slow mobility) and enhancement projects through a regional territorial information system accessible from the Web as well as an even simpler-to-use online platform. The platform, "Participatory Archive" is a WebGIS that collects and represents on a basic cartography the landscape indications that can be compiled by anyone. However, each report, before being published, is verified and then accepted (by the University of Udine Department of Human Sciences).
Alongside online communication, two cycles of workshops were held (11, in various locations), covering all the macro geographical types of the regional territory. There are programs, posters, and slide presentations of the expert reports. On the other hand, no numbers were provided for the participants, nor reports of the interventions in case someone managed to express themselves. This was not taken for granted given the typical modalities of the Italian workshops. For example, in the one on the mountain landscape organized on 13 April 2015 at the Casa del Popolo in Prato Carnico (Udine) in the middle of the Carnic Alps, a decentralized location, the workshop started at 9:30 with two political interventions (from the mayor and regional councillor), followed by six technical presentations plus two scheduled interventions by the Mountain Community of Carnia and the Collective Property Coordination, to begin the debate at 12:45 and end it indefinitely for a lunchtime refreshment shortly after.
The second level was for consultation, so it was aimed both at the collection of reports (also on paper) and at generating and disseminating a shared and active sense of the place, starting from the local scale—from the individual elements to be recognized and the local assets to be valued—and connecting to regional strategies. Only the Municipalities that have signed the Convention mentioned above (Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities) adhered to this path. Meetings (workshops, community maps, discussion tables) were held in the offices of their territory and could be accessed by all interested parties. Select witnesses were chosen by the University to stimulate discussion. Various materials, books, and documentation were to provided, so facilitators were recruited from young local graduates or people who already have experience in such practice; however, facilitators were to be involved in a training course run by researchers from the University of Udine. School children and their families were reached by a questionnaire, of which no further details are provided. It is estimated that approximately 10,000 people attended.
The methods of advertising the process are obscure; there is no information on the website and there do not appear to be dedicated pages on Facebook. Therefore, if the methods of dissemination and involvement have been left to the dissemination of information in the channels used by professionals, this may have particularly influenced the participation of these, such as university researchers, regional officials and MIBACT officials, and a few inhabitants.
Methods and Tools Used
The participatory planning of the territory, urban plan, or architectural design is an approach that inserts, in the traditional procedures or processes of elaboration of the plans, various moments of interaction with the public, with different intensities of empowerment on the process (from consultation to direct decision-making).
When the process of generating an idea is linked to numerous issues or to numerous actors, simple brainstorming is often inadequate. This is because sessions are often less creative than they could be, work productivity is threatened, and people disengage from the process. This is a serious problem if consensus is needed. However, brainstorming can still be effective if a different approach is taken in organizing its sessions. In the Charrette, people are involved in several small groups, each generating ideas one after the other until everyone has had the opportunity to contribute fully. Each group then passes the generated ideas to the next group to rework, refine, and ultimately prioritize the ideas produced.
The term workshop (literally: laboratory) means, in the jargon of Italian public administrations, a conference or a meeting session, similar to the academic model but without discussants (counter-speaker or critic). Workshop speakers are usually experts, insiders, officials, and politicians in the introductory and final stages. After the expert reports, a very short space is almost always kept for debate with interventions from the public, whether planned (sometimes not explicitly) or not.
The landscape is an element of strong local social identification, linked to the sharing of the values and aspirations of a community in a territory. A methodology used in this case for the reappropriation of the sense of place that globalization increasingly threatens are the Community Maps, based on the idea of Parish Maps conceived in Dorset (England) by the Common Ground organization, founded in 1983. Community Maps can be considered the formal result of a participatory process through which, a group or a network of groups discovers that they share certain fixed, solid values as well as a perspective or direction (e.g. on what to do with those values in the future, or with those places) to the point of being a community (value-holder network). This process should then induce further awareness and greater public attention so that demands for new opportunities for public participation can be made.
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
The process took place on two levels. The first level was regional, aimed at informing the public on the landscape plan through territorial workshops, a website; providing informative publications (i.e. workshop notebooks, vade mecum on the process, newsletter); and WebGIS online mapping tools. This level was managed directly by the regional technical service. The materials of the meeting, the program, the posters, and the slides of the planned interventions have been published for all the appointments of the workshops, but there are no minutes, and the methods of advertising the events are not described.
The second level was mainly face-to-face and took place in the offices of the Mountain Communities or of the 100 Municipalities that have joined the Agreement with the Region, taking advantage of the offered funding. The funding was intended to cover the costs of the activities that the involvement plan provided on a local scale. One of these is the construction of community maps, developed in a local working group led by a facilitator and a map designer. An example of a community map is that of Montemars created by the designer Saul Darù with the Charrette method in 2014/2015 as part of a European project to enhance the Ecomuseums. It is not known how the design activities take place, neither in the Landscape Plan process nor in relation to the Ecomuseum example.
Guidelines for the local level recommended that a physical meeting point (landscape point) be activated, a kind of office with weekly open hours where visitors could find the area facilitator, documentation, books, and cards for the compilation of reports. Other local actions to raise awareness on the process were to be disseminated through the media available to local authorities and associations involved (websites, social channels, newsletters, and magazines) and in schools, through the distribution of questionnaires for students to fill in at home with their families. Finally, local discussion tables were to be formed with qualified witnesses in which everyone could participate and more importantly, bring materials and documents relating to the landscape and its changes over time (e.g. photos from family albums, postcards, letters, texts, objects, etc) that they consider useful to share in the process. The tables enabled participants to discuss the structures and dynamics of local landscapes to identify the non-negotiable aspects of the territory and to identify desirable scenarios for future development. Furthermore, they were part of the data collected for the online Participatory Archive. 
Even on the local level, the details of the process are unknown. Not even the minimum information to be able to carry out an independent investigation on sites or through personal contacts is provided. For example, there is nothing about the "landscape points" and the local groups activated; the programs of the meetings; or the associations involved. Yet these data should have been published some time ago (for the purpose of advertising and making remote participation possible), given that the local phase is over and the data are being processed.
The data were to be summarized and organized into a summary report by the University of Udine's working group at the end of the process. The resulting document would then be presented at public meetings organized by the affiliated area. During the meeting, it would be possible to collect further elements and reflections. Once the entire process is concluded, a final summary document would be drawn up by the working group, which was to be delivered to the Region so that the data collected is taken over by the Regional Landscape Plan. 
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
At the moment, only the materials relating to what happened in the first phase—that is to the first level of governance—are available on the site but there are no minutes and details relating to the interaction with the public. The online Participatory Archive outlines a considerable amount of work carried out, although transparency is lacking in terms of decisions about data in the online archive.
There is no information on the impact of the decisions because the process is not yet fully concluded, and is still in the phase of processing collected data. However, this is a consultation process that leaves a lot of room for interpretation, both in the transcription of the results of the discussion tables and in the acknowledgment of the various requests by the Region, contributed to by the lack of transparency.
The reactions of organized economic actors should be investigated, both on the participatory process and on the level in general because their specific involvement in the process is not envisaged. From an interview of with a member of the University staff it appears that while this involvement has occurred everywhere with environmentalist, agricultural and cultural associations, with the organizations of the economic, industrial, commercial and trade union categories, it has occurred only in two circumstances: in two municipalities with specific laboratorios.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
In the online Participatory Archive, it is already possible to find a considerable amount of work carried out (as of January 30, 2017); in fact, the map is full of reports, even in detail, a sign of a good level of involvement of the population. However, the Archive suffers a serious lack of transparency on how the data are drawn up and the inability to interact with them. One problem with the entries is that it is not possible to host external comments (neither direct nor indirect, through the editors) on the individual cards. It is also not possible to identify the author of a card so peer consultations are not possible (between the experts themselves) just as it is not possible to trace the changes made by the curators. As a result, transparency is lacking for both the experts themselves and the public whom the tool aims to address.
This case reveals how the resolution on the landscape of the European Convention, when it is fully implemented by the Regions (bodies responsible for landscape planning), could become the basis of all the plans and the map of future development scenarios. With its expansive definition, it makes public participation not only an obligatory path, but above all a substantial factor that nourishes itself and grows when it reflects identity (not only territorial in a sub-national sense, but also supra-national and planetary). Therefore, the production of landscape plans can become the beginning of an expanding participatory season if those efforts and the weak expectations of already quite disheartened citizens are not thwarted. Thus, it is important to verify whether any organized actors not involved in the process will be intercepted or, on the contrary, whether they will intercept, at the end of the process, the transmission of the results, modifying them in their favour.
 Regione Autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia (2014), Assessorato alle Infrastrutture, Mobilità, Pianificazione Territoriale, Lavori Pubblici, Edilizia, Piano Paesaggistico Regionale, Vademecum per il percorso partecipativo, https://www.regione.fvg.it/rafvg/export/sites/default/RAFVG/...
 Friuli Venezia Giulia Autonomous Region. Piano Paesaggistico Regionale. https://www.regione.fvg.it/rafvg/cms/RAFVG/ambiente-territorio/pianificazione-gestione-territorio/FOGLIA21/
 Constitution of the Italian Republic, art. 9, http://www.senato.it/documenti/repository/istituzione/costituzione_inglese.pdf
In Italian: http://www.senato.it/1024
 Codice dei beni culturali e del paesaggio, art. 131, par. 1, https://www.altalex.com/documents/news/2014/11/20/codice...
 European Landscape Convention, art.1, https://rm.coe.int/16807b6c32
 Coalition of the Candidate for President of the Region Debora Serracchiani, "Torniamo ad essere speciali", Electoral program for the regional mandate, 2013-2008, Udine, April 2013, http://www.presidente.regione.fvg.it/debora/export/sites/presidente/programma/PROGRAMMA-ELETTORALE-2013-FVG-SERRACCHIANI_links.pdf, p. 45-6 [DEAD LINK]
 Bianchetti A., Carestiato N., Guaran A., Maiulini E., Il processo partecipativo per il Piano Paesaggistico della Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia, in: Region (2014), pp. 42-49.
 Bianchetti A. et al., p. 42-45.
 Bianchetti A. et al., p. 45.
 Interview with a curator from the University of Udine. 1/31/17.
 Bianchetti A. et al., p. 46-47.
Documents produced by the Public Administration
 Council Resolution, No. 433 of 7/3/2014, Avvio del piano paesaggistico [...] http://www.regione.fvg.it/rafvg/export/sites/default/RAFVG/ambiente-territorio/tutela-ambiente-gestione-risorse-naturali/FOGLIA200/FOGLIA2/allegati/DGR_433_struttura_PPR_allegati.pdf [DEAD LINK]
 Friuli Venezia Giulia Region - Regional Landscape Plan, http://www.regione.fvg.it/rafvg/cms/RAFVG/ambiente-territorio/tutela-ambiente-gestione-risorse-naturali/FOGLIA200/FOGLIA2/ [DEAD LINK]
Similar information can be found here
 Friuli Venezia Giulia Region - Participatory Archive (WebGIS)
 Article 143 of the Code of Cultural Heritage outlines the minimum action the landscape plan must provide. It is a very long article, which mentions the functions of the plan, i.e. recognition of the territory and the analysis of its landscape heritage and of the properties placed under protection; requires the identification of: further areas or properties placed under protection, to be enhanced, which have been seriously compromised and degraded, priority guidelines for projects of conservation, recovery, enhancement, redevelopment and management of areas, indicating the management tools including incentive measures.