Problems and Purpose
The purpose of the "2015 participatory process of Calice and Rialto" is to "define actions and projects useful for the management and enhancement of the territory on the basis of a shared sustainable development plan" (EMA, 2015, p. 13).
The project started on 17 June 2015 with the first public presentation meeting and closed on 21 October "with the achievement of the set objectives, which were shared with the population on 8 November 2015 with the meeting: market of local producers - Kilometers zero celebrating in Alta Val Pora, Calice and Rialto ”(Ib.). It is a process promoted by a regional initiative within a European cross-border cooperation project (ALCOTRA) in which the leader is the Liguria Region (Ib., P.13) .
Background History and Context
The Municipality of Calice Ligure and Rialto are located in the hinterland of Finale Ligure, in the Province of Savona. Calice has had a stable population since 1861, which has lost residents only relatively slightly, a few hundred, from 1931 to 2001. Since 2011, with 1683 and 1730 (2015) the share has returned to nineteenth-century levels. Foreigners are 2.38% in 2014. Rialto is located in a higher position (376 m. Above sea level) and the population here instead suffered a sharp decline from 1911 to 1961, reaching 566 inhabitants, which are 564 (2015) . On the municipal site there is no information on the council and mayor apart from the names. From the press it emerges that the current junta is led by a new group "and independent of any link with other realities previously present in the country" . The country had been led since 2009 by center-right civic lists. Reconfirmed in 2014, the mayor died in February 2016, so new elections were called in June 2016. Mayor Salvatore Paonessa was still active at the time of the trial. In the municipality of Rialto, the mayor Silvio Casanvoa is in his second term since the 2013 elections. Among the points of his program: hydrogeological, urban planning, aqueduct, renewable energy (there is a wind power plant with large turbines), development of the territory, hiking, agriculture and tourism.
For the two municipalities involved, however, it is certain that "this was the first experience of participatory processes in their own territory, even if citizenship has always been efficient in the context of active citizenship: various associations rooted in the territory, the organization of events, meetings, or other forms of active participation in the life of the municipality, etc. .. Despite this, it is certainly the first time that the citizens of Calice Ligure and Rialto have been called to discuss first and then decide in a structured way on issues that have concerned the management of territorial development actions of their municipalities (EMA; 2015, p. 13).
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
As stated in the Final Report, the project was promoted by the Liguria Region as part of the INTERREG ALCOTRA cross-border cooperation program between the provinces bordering France and the French ones bordering the Italian territory. The CIMA Foundation (International Center for Environmental Monitoring) is an important partner, engaged in research in the fields of civil protection, risk management, biodiversity and is based in the Savona University Campus. The two municipalities of Calice Ligure and Rialto are fundamental partners but their financial contribution to the project is not clear, it is assumed that the funding is regional but no statements have been found.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
"Given that the municipalities concerned are not very populous, it was considered appropriate not to adopt techniques for selecting and training the sample (eg. Drawing of lots, selection of delegates, etc.), but to open the discussion tables to all those who considered appropriate to participate, through specific invitations to all forms of association and production present in the area, and to all citizens. Overall, the sample counted, in 6 meetings, 57 presences, with a maximum peak of 28 people "at the second meeting (Ema, 2015, p. 14).
"With the participation numbers found, it was necessary to ask whether the sample could adequately represent the population of the territory of the municipalities of Calice Ligure and Rialto. Representativeness was observed according to two dimensions: the representativeness of the participants in the meetings and the progress of these attendance during the six meetings of the participatory process (PP.) The poor representativeness of the sample of participants with respect to the population of the two municipalities is evident, based on the personal variables (gender, age and citizenship), however, analyzing the professionalism of the subjects involved a homogeneous representation of the main categories that structure the productive and active fabric of the territory object of the process is highlighted; the sample was, therefore, considered representative "(Ib., pp. 13 - 14). There are also 9 people with a role in research institutions (certainly CIMA Foundation but who it is not specified) and 7 with a role in the PA (certainly of the municipalities concerned, but it is not specified who it is). "Furthermore, for prudence, in order to reduce the lack of representation of some categories, it was decided to reach a greater number of citizens, through the administration of questionnaires, in order to investigate the coherence with the territory" (Ib.).
Methods and Tools Used
Discussion groups , sometimes called "focus groups" or "discussion tables" as in this case. Group discussion is a method with a not so recent history, it dates back to antiquity and exists in every basic civilization, but it was not among the first tools to be used in social research. Its origins can be traced back from different disciplines to different authors. Among the first we should remember the work on the behavior of the crowd by Gustave Le Bon (Psychologie des Foules, 1895) but among the most significant in the field of democratic participation, the masterpieces of Mary Parker Follett (The New State, 1918 ; Creative Experience, 1924) dedicated to group work and group discussions as a means of emancipation and social evolution in a pragmatic key. Later in the 1940s the theory of group dynamics and methodologies developed further thanks to the work of various scholars including Wilfred Bion in psychoanalysis, Kurt Lewin and Robert K. Merton in sociology. The discussion group has many variants (from which many denominations derive) which depend on the modalities of management, the purposes, the composition, and the use of media for the interaction, including information technology ones. The groups favor mutual learning and produce a mediated result, favor the emergence of new creative ideas, are efficient (they take advantage of non-verbal communication and after some time group languages) and are fundamental in the division of tasks on objectives shared and in the harmonization of common projects. Within the groups various work tools can be used. The ones used in the present case are listed below.
The SWOT analysis is a scheme of organization of the analysis of an object, in this case the territory under examination. SWOT means Strenght, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats that is, it frames the analysis under the strengths (eg internal resources of the territory); weaknesses (territorial limits, scarcity of resources); opportunities (favorable situations, micro and macro trends) and threats (external factors and potentially harmful situations, eg extreme climatic phenomena).
Mind Maps are forms of graphical representation of thought theorized by the English cognitivist Tony Buzan. Mind maps follow a cobweb structure, starting from a center - the central theme-concept - they unravel towards the edges of the sheet, arranging the concepts in space and connecting them together.
The Logical Framework is a fundamental tool of project management to avoid that the intentions, the projects, are drafted in an approximate way, the objectives are not defined in a clear and detailed way, the expected results, the activities to be carried out, all the categories are indicated of the project and all the indicators, sources of verification and hypotheses relevant to each of the categories.
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
The process was divided into three phases (EMA, Ib., Pp. 15 - 16):
1- Introduction to the process: analysis of the variables of the reference context
2- Dialogic phase: initiation of constructive and assisted discussion on needs and opportunities, aimed at identifying and defining the needs and opportunities of the territory;
3- Deliberative phase: selection of proposals for common territorial development projects to be submitted to the competent bodies for implementation.
The phase of introduction to the process was characterized by three distinct moments (Ib., P. 17):
1.1 The presentation of the path that had to be undertaken in the first participatory meeting, during which reference was made to the principles of participation and the steps that had to be taken to achieve the set objectives.
1.2 The dissemination of information through the digital forum created ad hoc called Progetto Partecipata Calice and Rialto (link 2), on which the reports of the meetings were disseminated and the participants in the discussion were encouraged to provide their opinions on the needs , the problems and projects to be brought into discussion (the widespread dissemination of information during the administration of forms and questionnaires to all citizens carried out in the strategic points of the municipalities concerned).
1.3 The analysis of the variables of the reference context. In the second meeting the participants were divided into working groups and developed a SWOT analysis in order to reduce the territorial complexity according to the four factors: Strengths (resource within the territory), Weakness (limitation within the territory), Opportunities (favorable situation) and Threats (unfavorable situation).
The conductors have produced a table ( see table SWOT> link ) in which the points expressed by all the tables are indicated in red, in green indicated by 2 tables and in black by a single table.
The discussion then led to the emergence of a list of indications, “which were considered as starting elements for starting a planning on the territory” (Ib., P. 20). Among the indications that emerged, starting from the first in the list: activate a network for the production and sale of forest products; enhancement of local productions on foreign markets; develop a brand for typical products; forming a group for the achievement of a common goal; adequate exploitation of existing structures such as the nursery and abandoned warehouses, returning them to use; possibility of developing the exploitation of wood as a fuel, creating a biomass power plant; adequate development of the existing trail network; etc .. (Ib., p. 20).
2. The dialogic phase wanted to "underline that in this part of the process the centrality of the dialogue, the discursive and structured confrontation of the participants was provided. A comparison based on arguments presented orally, within groups of work in which a small number of people discuss, within which methodologies are proposed that allow not only constructive and creative dialogue, but which mainly facilitate the emergence of ideas, points of view, opportunities and knowledge of which each person is a carrier. This obviously does not mean that dialogue was concentrated only in this part, which was instead a common element of the whole process. It is possible to frame and create a conceptual map of the opportunities and needs that originated from the discussion on the points of the SWOT analysis produced by the if introductory of the process. In detail, through a plenary discussion, the points of the SWOT were taken up and presented and integrated by the subjects who had identified them during the previous phase, this allowed us to share the identified points collectively and reason to arrive at a shared synthesis on which the themes were. principal on which to anchor the study of problems and needs "(Ib. p. 20).
All those present shared and accepted the 4 points listed below (Ib., P. 20):
- Knowledge of the territory.
- Enhancement of local products.
- Change of mentality.
In four of the group tables then the participants were asked to identify for each theme, needs and problems related to the analyzed point by adopting the logic of mental maps (Mind Maps). This methodology has allowed (Ib., P. 21):
- identify the needs, problems and opportunities of the territory through the debate;
- framing needs, problems and opportunities, to define a framework within which to place a project framework capable of satisfying needs, addressing problems and seizing opportunities;
- ensure that project participants can discuss constructively and in a manner
- assisted on needs and opportunities according to their perceptions;
- identify significant places in the area that represent specific needs e
Each group discussed a mind map for each theme, placing the theme of interest at the center of the map and connecting the identified needs to it and, when expected, the problems related to each need ( example of mind map > link ) (p. 21).
Each map then served to build an overall conceptual map with the four focal themes and related links (p. 23).
“On the basis of the information shared, the participants were invited to present their project ideas relating to the actions to be implemented in the area to achieve the set objectives, projects that had the opportunity to mature during the dialogue phase. In this process, it was agreed that the project proposal should be defined by means of a logical scheme of events that is capable of taking us from the problem (defined and structured through concept maps) to the solution (project actions). To do this it was useful, even if difficult to initially understand, the adoption of a tool that takes the name of the Logical Framework matrix which is nothing more than a table in which to order the things that you intend to create, according to various logical criteria. and respecting some constraints designed to make the project transparent ”(p. 24).
The projects were discussed by the participants divided into three discussion tables, each table developed different project ideas after which the projects were also discussed in the plenary session, giving each table, which had identified a presenter, 30 minutes to be able to explain to everyone the members of the participatory group the projects. [...] Furthermore, some projects were received in the framework of the discussion through the publication on the online forum opened on the project website (link 2), which also allowed a virtual discussion. However, to avoid the reason for computer exclusion, all the projects were reported in the reports of the meetings and made available to all the participants. Once the project ideas were presented, the discussion began, with the aim of bringing out the impressions aroused, the positive or negative aspects, expectations and surprises, and any satisfactions. Within the tables, the debates quickly became concrete and provided useful insights to refine the design ideas, ideas and adaptations which were then discussed and shared in the plenary session (Ib., P.24). An intense dialogue phase with diversified objectives emerges from the work of the groups. The first group focused on meta-objectives, ie on the possibility of creating an information infrastructure capable of assisting the development of various projects, from their elaboration to implementation.
For example, the following is considered a priority (Ib., P. 25): the creation of a database and any new data collection; development of wi-fi; creation of a physical Info Point (which could be carried out by a newsagent, a tobacconist's shop equipped with a terminal, which could also be used to collect information on tourists by analyzing the websites visited) and on the web (updated portal where the various structures are presented and local initiatives); a transport system (eg shuttles) to reach the different areas of the territory without a private vehicle.
Group 2, on the other hand, focused on the governance of the management body which must be able to enhance the territory, through the activation of projects. The body should be of a public-private nature headed by the two municipalities of Calice and Rialto and should have experts in the various sectors necessary for the implementation of the various projects. 11 variable priority projects have been elaborated. The first concern the birth of the new body, its headquarters in the new municipal structure and its communication infrastructures and services connected to tourism and the management of the paths. The second group of projects includes: zero km products, oil mill / multipurpose laboratory / sales point, projects for the enhancement of forest products and biodiversity; finally, the third group of projects with lower priority concern rural roads and paths (Ib., p. 25).
Group 3 focused attention on strengthening the elements that emerged in the other groups. The group strongly points out that the economy is tied to the land and everything else follows. “It is important to focus on a change of mentality and it is necessary to activate a slow and gradual process of growth” (p. 26). Specifically, it lists projects very similar to the previous ones, as well as a "product project" with: the creation of a brand; census of producers, products and characteristics; identify an identity product; land census in order to unite the smaller plots and create agreements with the owners; create a wood collection and distribution center; development of purchasing groups; development of home delivery service; organize school visits to companies; organize cultivation and cultural courses; online product promotion and events. There is also a “hospitality project” with structures and customers censuses, development of a sharing economy between work and hospitality (such as Work-away, Helpx, Woofers); free wi-fi for guests; and a "path project" which provides for a survey of the actual state of the paths; creation of bike parks for cyclists to meet and stop with service facilities; control and cleaning of the paths; differentiate information on trails by type of user (walkers, cyclists, hunters, horses) (Ib., p.27).
3. In the deliberative phase, the participants were invited to evaluate the project ideas and converge towards a common and shared line of action. From the assessments that emerged in the small working groups during the last scheduled meetings, we moved on to an extended validation with the distribution of a structured questionnaire to the population, "which substantially confirmed what emerged in the working groups" (p. 29). The elaboration of all the information acquired led to the subsequent merging and revision of project ideas into solutions more consistent with the indications provided by the tables (p. 29). However, there is no information regarding the distribution, administration and results of the questionnaire.
"The work tables strongly confirmed the desire to create an" Intercommunal Council "which must be of a public-private nature, therefore capable of involving local public and private actors, including the two municipalities that participated in the participatory process. Calice Ligure and Rialto, the Cima Foundation, Coldiretti, az. agricultural, hospitality structures, professionals, citizens, etc. "(p. 30).
As a form of light governance, in itinere, the "consultation" must have a "free" form open to all local actors, who can access and bring their wealth of knowledge, interests and ideas in order to direct the development of territorial projects . For the moment, the participants in the PP freeze the possibility of harnessing the discussion group within a legal form codified by the legal system, however it is considered essential to monitor the framework of action at the regional level in order to identify the most suitable legal form. adequate to the pursuit of local development that can adapt to the dynamism of the "consultation".
The "consultation" must have the role of an incubator of ideas, from which ideas must arise, and the local groups (eg entrepreneurs of a certain supply chain and municipalities, research groups and entrepreneurs, etc.) who will develop and carry out the projects pursuing objectives and purposes shared in the "consultation". The projects that will have to mature in the incubator may have their genesis in function of specific calls, project financing, entrepreneurial or research will. The participants in the PP underline the need for a coordinator and guarantor who is able to structure the actions of the "consultation" and the Cima Foundation is indicated by several voices as a subject capable of animating its activities, monitoring the calls to participate and identify the times and ways of operating. The need for a direct commitment on the part of the municipalities in the "consultation" is highlighted for the provision of structures, information and local know-how, furthermore the municipalities must provide their willingness to support the development of the "consultation" with the available resources (p. 30). A framework emerges on which to set up a collaboration pact between citizens and administrations. For the "consultation" the following specific objectives are identified (Ib., P. 30):
- the constant activity of cooperation and collaboration aimed at pursuing development strategies by increasing relations and relationships between the parties, with a view to sustainable development, planning, planning and shared management of the territory;
- the presentation of projects based on public funding, project financing, entrepreneurial or research will, which will be prepared in the form indicated by the various calls and for the occasion a partnership will be formalized between the subjects who will manifest the will to establish themselves;
- the implementation of the local participatory process with a view to improving the quality of life in a broad sense specifically referred to the areas of economic, tourist, agro-forestry-pastoral development that characterize the territory.
From the process, therefore, precise lines of development of the "Council" emerge, which lead to the development of a Charter of the Intercommunal Council which was signed by the participants and initiated its activities. From the working groups it emerged the need to also set up a purpose association in order to create a juridically recognized entity that can have the ability to respond correctly and promptly to project development needs. The process produced the statute of the purpose association which is obviously based on the principles of the “Consulta” and on what emerged throughout the participatory process (Ib. P. 30). Through the site it is possible to find the documents attached to the final report, such as the Charter of the Consulta and the Statute of the association of purpose.
A further project validated by the process "involves the creation of an agricultural supply chain that directly involves farmers, a multifunctional structure for processing, packaging and marketing. This project represents a practical input, a first embryo that can mature within the" Consulta "And be developed, through the activation of a technical table by the association of purpose" (Ib., P. 31).
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
The result produced an Intercommunal Council which was activated immediately with the local producers' market festival - Kilometers zero celebrating in Alta Val Pora, Calice and Rialto, on 28 November 2015 . Furthermore, thanks to the organization of the Inter-municipal Council, the sporting party event of the 5th Stage Race was held on 22 June 2016, an important competition that takes place on mountain bikes and running with a hundred athletes for a week on the route. of the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri .
Regarding the project of a local agricultural chain "within the process, however, the will to join [...] by some farmers as well as the will of the municipality of Rialto to identify the spaces for the construction of the multifunctional structure have already emerged (Ib., P. 31).
Finally, the process "has also made it possible to achieve those objectives, which can be defined as immaterial, but which must not therefore be considered less important, such as increasing skills and increasing citizen participation in the local area, greater awareness of the administration of the problems of the territory it administers "(Ib., p. 32).
Analysis and Lessons Learned
The process, particularly in its dialogic and deliberative phase, has given the community the opportunity to build a well-planned shared project. The administrations, however, are lacking in the care of their websites which they seem to manage to a minimum, so it is not possible to draw conclusions on the continuity that has been given to the project. It seems that the consultation has not yet activated its own online platform or a dedicated information system. In remote realities, the internet is sometimes not widespread or not very fast and it is understandable how online updates leave something to be desired. All the data relating to the enlarged survey carried out via questionnaire are also missing. It is feared that without further updates on the progress of the project and on the activities of the Council that perhaps should provide its own autonomous mode of communication, this project tends to perish.
EMA (2105), Final report of participatory process for the sustainable development of Calice and Rialto> http: //progettarecalicerialto.altervista.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11 / ... (release 7/3/2017) > link copy
1. EU ALCOTRA project> http://www.interreg-alcotra.eu/it
 This is the Alcotra project, present only with the logo in the header of the final report, but it is not mentioned in other parts of the blog dedicated to the project, nor in the final report. No response has yet been received from the project curators, contacted by e-mail. No answer to the query "alcotra" on the site of the municipality of Calice. The Alcotra project "Latin Alps cross-border cooperation" is an EU INTERREG program, financed by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) which involves various French provinces and departments in the area of the Province of Savona (where the two municipalities are located) , although contiguous. The program deals with cooperation on cross-border projects, innovation transfers, dedicated to quality of life, inclusive sustainable development (link 1).
 La Stampa Savona, Comunali here is the list led by Comi, 18/5/2016, http://www.lastampa.it/2016/05/18/edizioni/savona/elezioni-ecco-la-lista .. .
 Zero km event in celebration in Alta Val Pora, Sunday, Rialto, 8/11/2015> http://www.cimafoundation.org/km-zero-in-festa-in-alta-val-pora/
 Stage 5 Stage Race - Crossing of Liguria, 22/6/2016> http://www.cimafoundation.org/stage-race-liguria/