The Genoa Bypass project, known as the “Gronda di Genova”, was promoted by Autostrade per l’Italia S.p.A. to overcome the congestion of the highway system. A complex process of public debate and interaction with the territory was used to develop the design.
Problems and Purpose
The main problem that prompted the debate was car congestion. This, in turn, generates dilemmas of functionality and for the quality of life of the inhabitants of the city, in addition to being an obstacle to development and environmental compatibility. It was considered that a new road could eliminate the large amount of existing traffic. The main purpose was to face this issue that concerned the city, its future and its territory via a common project—that is, to build a strategic design that individualized the infrastructural, social, ecological, natural, and historical-artistic aspects; which represented their peculiarities; and which defined their identity.
The main objectives pursued by the ASPI company were: to improve driving conditions, reduce travel times, and avoid future deterioration of conditions. The “Gronda” was created for the purposes of: separating the city's traffic from that which only crossed it, sustaining economic growth, improving highway safety, and helping sustainable development.
Background History and Context
At the beginning of the 1980s, the first project to create the east-west section of said highway was devised. In 2000, the territorial plan for provincial coordination was adopted, which identified various hypotheses for the reorganization of the highway infrastructure in the Genoa area. In 2002, the institutional agreement was defined to carry out large infrastructural works.
In 2004, the preliminary project (which culminated in 2005) and the environmental impact study began, and a shared route was defined. In 2006 the local authorities signed an agreement with ANAS in which the layout of the “Gronda di Ponente” project was designed. The technical team concluded its work that year, determining the new configuration of the section. Finally in 2008, the advanced preliminary project was presented to ANAS.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
The entities that have begun to develop this project are: ANAS (National Association for Social Action), and ASPI (Autostrada for Italy). The average cost of this work was calculated around 5.7 million euros. The work was built by the private company Autostrade. The money comes partly from the state and partly from the increase in the toll on the highway—that is, always ultimately from the citizens according to the opinion of the anti-gronda group. What is saved in these tolls goes to the private company that built it.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
From February 1 to April 30, 2009, the debate was open to all interested subjects in general—that is, representatives of institutions, public or private entities, organizations, associations, citizens' committees, informal groups, and singular citizens. On the other hand, an “Antigronda” committee was also created, made up of citizens who did not agree with the work. Everyone's participation was important because the debate gave birth to a network of relationships that allowed them, in turn, to make observations, comments, and proposals through: correspondence, the forum, and the so-called actors' notebooks.
Methods and Tools Used
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
The public debate began when the proposal of the proposing subject (Autostrade per l'Italia), written in a way that is easy for everyone to understand, was approved and published by the commission. From that moment, and within the next three months, public meetings were held of both a general nature and on the theme of infrastructure particularly. These meetings had the purpose of giving citizens the possibility of learning directly about the company and the characteristics of the project, requesting clarifications from it, and making observations. The management of the public debate was entrusted to an independent commission, while the other organizational aspects were entrusted to the “Città Partecipata” office of the commune.
After the closing of the debate, the commission wrote a final text in which the position, arguments and proposals that emerged throughout the debate were presented. Finally, the word passed to the proposing subject who declared the project of the work to be admissible.
The commune determined a chronological index to better organize the debate process that lasted a total of three months, and was as follows: a month and a half for the preparatory phase; the debate itself; within 15 days following its closing, the commission drew up the conclusion; and within the 15 days following it, the final declaration of the proposing subject was issued.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
The debate led the proposing subject to accept the conflict, developing an unexpected role for this large private company. The debate confirmed the territorial and social impact of the routes and revealed the concerns that citizens had about the risks that the work could generate on health, the environment and the landscape.
The useful information and material produced throughout the debate was published on the official site of the Urban Center which works in coordination with the "Urban Lab", which studies the urban transformation of the city. The project also includes a website specially dedicated to the description of the work. These sites are constantly updated and the commission is in charge of responding quickly to the demands of the citizens raised there.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
The debate was complicated and risked being concluded several times due to strong opposition. But it has also made it possible to listen to all voices, discover new problems, and ask for alternative proposals. It was able to disseminate specific knowledge on the subject, to activate participation and stimulate the critical and planning capacity of the citizens, who devised a path that the engineers had not previously thought of.
 http://urbancenter.comune.genova.it/spip.php?article1271 [BROKEN LINK]
 Nearby: urbanistica partecipata | Saperi PA [BROKEN LINK]
 http://www.trail.liguria.it/Interventi/nodo_auto_ge.htm [DEAD LINK]
 La Gronda. http://www.dibattitopubblico.com/genova/la-gronda/
 Autostrada for Italy (2009). La Gronda di Genova: Presentazione sintetica delle ipotesi di tracciato. http://www.urbancenter.comune.genova.it/sites/default/files/Gronda_relazione_descrittivadeitracciati.pdf
 Commissione per il Dibattito Pubblico sulla Gronda di Genova. (2009). La Gronda di Genova Dibattito Pubblico: Relazione conclusiva. http: //www.urbancenter.comune.genova.it/sites/default/files/Gronda%20-%2 ...