Fourth 2016-2017 edition of the participatory budget of Rivalta di Torino (20,000 inhabitants). The initiative was initiated by the Rivalta Sostenibile civic list in 2013 but in the elections of June 2017 the list was replaced by the coalition of the Democratic Party.
Problems and Purpose
The BP of Rivalta is "an initiative of the Municipality that involves the citizens of Rivalta in thinking and planning public works to be carried out in their own fraction ": 4 fractions involved and 120,000 Euros the allocation, 30,000 Euros for each fraction . The 2016 budget shows 23,630,000 euros of expenses for the period . The sum allocated to the BP would therefore be 0.5%. If we consider only the sum destined for capital expenditure, relative to the actual resources available, as declared in the 2015 budget of 2,942,000 Euros, that destined to the BP would insist for 4% [1.a]. p>
Background History and Context
The territory of the municipality of Rivalta di Torino, is located in the agricultural outskirts to the south- west of the Piedmontese capital. Until 1967, a rural village, the year in which production began in the new FIAT Rivalta plant, its population increased from 2,520 inhabitants in 1961 to 10,358 in 1971. It was not the largest but one of the most modern and employed about 18,000 people. Despite the crisis and the outsourcing of FIAT, with the total abandonment of production in 2002, the area - by now infrastructured - lends itself to being hit by the Turin metropolitan dispersion. The municipality of Turin, in fact, since 1971, after exceeding one million, has lost profusely residents, reaching the 883,000 today. The FIAT plant is now only partially used after being acquired by Avio Aero (a subsidiary of General Electric Aviation), a company of "design, production and maintenance of components and systems for civil and military aeronautics" , which , in Rivalta, employs 2,100 employees. However, there are some tertiary activities and other automotive related companies. Thus Rivalta recovers - according to the ex-mayor Marinari - "a bit of dignity ... Before, Rivalta was FIAT, it was not a country with its millenary history" .
After the Fordist industrial crisis has come the party crisis and since the nineties citizens have aggregated into committees on a territorial basis. Also in Rivalta, in 2001, a committee oriented to the new urban needs of environmental quality and relationships was formed, called "Rivalta Sostenibile".
The Rivalta Sostenibile civic list p>
Among the many post-industrial issues of interest, the Rivalta Sostenibile committee is mobilizing against the construction of the new waste incinerator in the nearby hamlet of Gerbido and against the passage of the Turin-Lyon high-speed line, which is still being planned. In 2007 it was established as a "Sustainable Rivalta Civic List" and ran for elections reaching 19% of the votes and 3 opposition councilors. In 2012 he repeated and "without any political semblance" with the slogan "Far from the parties, close to the citizens" (Link 1) he won the elections and administered the country until 2017, the year in which, in the run-off with the candidate De Ruggiero of the PD, the outgoing mayor Marinari loses the elections by 50 votes.
Direct participation and "participatory democracy" are among the points of the program: a "sustainable" program, where environment, community, solidarity are the main keywords (Rivalta S., Programma, 2017). Among its main innovations, the participatory budget takes an important place. On point "3.9 Participation and Active Citizenship" it is reported that the administration, led by Marinari, started, in the first year of the mandate, a participatory budget experimentation in a single fraction, then, in the following 3 years, it extends the BP to all the territory. In addition to the promotion of civic volunteering initiatives, it would have applied "participation in a transversal way on the various activities of the mandate" (Ib., P. 29).
The last edition, 2016 was interrupted by electoral defeat and currently there is no shortage of complaints about the non-execution of the projects chosen by the citizens by the new Giunta PD (Rivalta Sostenibile News, 2017, p. 3).
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
Municipality of Rivalta di Torino
The Giunta led by the Rivalta Sostenibile civic list ( Link 1), both in the Manifesto and in the Program promotes the idea of BP. The mayor Mauro Marinari and the councilor for participation Marilena Lavagno are the main contacts.
The process is also followed by the group of Civic Volunteers of the Municipality who made an introductory video on the BP (Link 3) projected during the first assemblies in the hamlets. This group of 16 volunteers (in 2016) is part of the Organizational Working Group (GLO) of the BP, consisting of the Mayor, the Assessor for Participation and the Manager of the Accounting Office. The GLO "has the function of guaranteeing the neutrality and impartiality of the participatory process, oversees all phases of the project, including compliance with the criteria for selecting the citizens who will participate" (Municipality of Rivalta, BP Regulation, p . 3) and is responsible for "starting the management of the" BP (Municipality of Rivalta, Giunta C., DG 144/2017). All the internal professionals required from time to time must collaborate with the GLO (Ib.) Between which the offices relating to the Social-Cultural Services for the detailed planning of the meetings and the General Affairs Manager for the adoption of all the acts relating to the assumption of spending commitments and all the technical-organizational requirements necessary to guarantee the realization of the program (Ib.).
The sole financier is the Municipality of Rivalta but data on the management costs of the same are not available on the web pages dedicated to the BP.
The conduct of the trial was entrusted to 3 professional facilitators of the Centro Studi Sereno Regis of Turin, an ONLUS (Non-Profit Organization of Social Utility) which promotes research, education and action programs on the themes of political participation, nonviolent popular defense, education for peace and 'interculturality, the nonviolent transformation of conflicts, development models, renewable energies and ecology (Link 2).
Politecnico di Torino
Two interns from Politecnico architects also collaborate with the facilitators.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
The constitution of the Group of Organizational Work (GLO) is annual and the volunteers, apart from institutional positions, make themselves available after the Cultural Office of the Municipality has sent an invitation to all those enrolled in the Municipal Volunteer Register.
The selection of participants in the planning groups is carried out by the GLO through a draw of 80 people, 20 per fraction, drawn from the lists personal data, by contacting them by phone. The criteria established by the regulation provide that they must be resident, 50% gender equality is respected, and belong to 4 age groups, equally dividing the sample among them. Cases in which the person drawn from the draw holds positions of a political nature, positions on the boards of directors of publicly held entities or companies, positions in the management bodies of political, professional, trade union and voluntary organizations as well as municipal employees (Municipality of Rivalta , BP Regulation, p. 4). There is no information available on the total number of residents contacted before being able to form the definitive samples.
The public meetings to present the projects that take place in each village on different days are open to all interested parties. Also in this case there are no numerical data on attendance, but only some photos. In the first meetings and in the final assemblies the institutional offices of the GLO are present.
The advertising of the meetings is handled by the GLO. In addition to online publications (website, social media and video channels) there are posters that are presumed to have been posted in public places by GLO volunteers.
All residents (therefore also foreigners) can participate in the vote. over 16 years old.
Methods and Tools Used
Il Participatory budget (BP) is a method of participation born in Porta Alegre in Brazil in the eighties, which provides for the provision of the public decision, a percentage of the municipal budget. The opening phases are generally organized with public assemblies open to all in the various areas of the city / territory where the problems and needs of the inhabitants are manifested, as well as possible solutions. In some cases, in these assemblies representatives are elected or - as in the case in question - those who will go to discuss in the next phase which projects and interventions to propose and plan are drawn by lot from the registry office. These proposals are examined by the municipal technical officials who evaluate their feasibility, making them continue to the next stage of selection. In the final assemblies open to all, again, the proposals to be implemented are voted. In recent years, telematic voting channels (online, sms) have also been increasingly used - as in this case.
Neighborhood walks are approaches widely used in Italy when it is a question of elaborating urban planning interventions with participatory approaches. These are walks lasting a few hours, in which the participants, accompanied by facilitators and technicians, observe the artifacts or real phenomena and confront the decision-makers directly and informally. In an atmosphere of informality, mutual knowledge and sharing of perceptions are facilitated.
The Problem Tree is a tool for facilitating discussion and group focus. It is similar, as a variation, to the Mind Maps , in which in the center of a drawing / scheme a problem, in the lower part the causes and in the upper part the effects. As problems can be ordered hierarchically, so happens for causes and effects.
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation h2>
The process was divided into 6 meetings and a final public assembly for each fraction. So 28 meetings that were held in the evening at public places in the hamlets. After that, time was given until April 17, 2017 to select the projects, by going to the final project presentation assemblies to get to know the projects and designers or after having viewed them online, and then by voting directly at the assemblies or by sending their preferences via e- mail, sms or whatsapp; in the latter cases, also indicating your tax code and identity card number.
During the first meeting, mutual knowledge and the phases of the path and what has been done in the previous editions were illustrated. In the second meeting, in a circle, the participants began to express themselves on the needs of the territory, stimulated by questions, and began to sketch out proposals. The third meeting took place in the form of a neighborhood walk ; on this occasion the groups were in turn divided into sub-groups and explored different areas, interviewed (e.g. to a teacher at the nursery school in the hamlet) and reported reflections and considerations. Participants were also illustrated in a simple way and with graphs and tables the functioning of the municipal budget and budget availability, how current expenses and capital investments are divided. With the fourth meeting begins the design using the conceptual scheme of the problem tree . A tree is drawn on a blackboard, the problem is identified in the trunk, the causes are found at the roots and the effects in the crown. A discussion follows and proposals are made. In the sub-groups, maps and redesigned public spaces in plan (flower beds, sidewalks, street furniture) are used for each proposal. In the fifth meeting the projects are better defined in order to be presented to the municipal technicians and other citizens. In the hamlet of Tetti Francesi (where the former Fiat factory is located), 4 projects are developed: eg, "Walking in safety", provides for safety measures on pedestrian paths and an increase in lighting in some critical points of the hamlet, as well as securing bus stops; the "Redevelopment of Piazza Filippa" involves the rearrangement of the benches previously removed from the square itself, the setting up of a swing below the 'pyramid' of the square, redevelopment of the fountain transforming it into a game for children, the safety of the pillars of the pyramid (Link 3 - Minutes of 5th Meeting, 31/1/17, French Roofs).
The projects are then passed to the technical offices for the evaluation of technical and economic feasibility and for each of which has passed the technical validation has been assigned a cost estimate. So after 3 weeks, on 28/2, in the 6th meeting, the group of French Roofs re-discussed the projects in the light of the estimates, and remodeled some project proposals (eg reducing the number of new tree plantings, eliminating some urban furnishings ), after which he elaborated the presentations in each sub-group and simulated them by exposing the projects to the whole group (Link 3 - Minutes of the 6th Meeting, 28/2/17, French Roofs).
Nell he final assembly of Tetti Francesi (10/3/17), from the photos available, there is a very scarce presence, very little higher than the people already involved in the design group. The same also in the other hamlets. There is no data available on attendance.
From the evaluation form of the path, given to the participants of the planning group, the validity of the experience, the good quality of the path, some aspects to improve and however, a good appreciation for the initiative carried out up to that moment (Link 3, French Roofs).
The voting phase opens with the final assemblies (which are held from January to March) and closes on April 17 with the counting of the votes received, mostly electronically. There were 2,179 votes cast by 1,274 voters (6.3% of the population), 9% more than the previous year.
Of the 4 winning projects, the one that obtained the most preferences (376 votes) is “Go peacefully in Via Giaveno” in the hamlet of Gerbole, while the least voted (115 votes) is “Steps in safety” in the hamlet of Pasta. Always dedicated to urban redevelopment for the purpose of improving pedestrian safety, it is the winning project in the hamlet of Tetti Francesi while for Rivalta Centro the Scuola Don Milani 2.0 project prevailed, for the renovation and enhancement of the school's computer equipment.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
According to the documentation on the Municipality website, there are no data and no reference to the state of their implementation (apart from a few lines in the "voting information" leaflet) stating that such a project has already been implemented. Only by viewing the newsletter of the Rivalta Sostenibile civic list it is possible to find clearer update articles, in which among other news, sometimes the realization of works or projects appears, including those developed in the BP process.
With the change of the council in June 2017, the last round of projects risks not being realized, according to what is reported in the Rivalta Sostenibile News newsletter (2017).
Analysis and Lessons Learned
There is no data on the total number of telephone interviews carried out before being able to form the definitive sample of 80 citizens who developed the projects for the 4 fractions . The associative fabric seems not to have been involved in the process, apart from in some cases, in the walks. The cases in which he is involved in the policies - in general - of the Giunta Marinari seem impossible to find. More in-depth analysis would be needed but it can be hypothesized that the low presence in the open assemblies of the BP, even the relatively low participation in the vote, up to the electoral defeat, may be attributable to a civic and civic education program, managed and promoted by the Municipality, which overshadowed spontaneous associations and aggregations as well as organized stakeholders. Selecting sample project groups has its positive aspects (dissemination of civic education experiences, greater detachment from factional interests) but also tends to exclude (as was required by the regulation) the leaders of associations, volunteers, society and stakeholders who could contribute to the projects, adding their own resources and consensus, while thus feeling set aside - almost replaced by the new voluntary institutions - both on a concrete and symbolic-communicative level - with a consequent latent opposition to these approaches . As in many other cases, there was certainly no preliminary sharing of the path with the local actors.
See Also h2 >
 Municipality of Rivalta di Torino, Participatory budget 2016, Information for voting & gt; http: //www.comune.rivalta .to.it / sites / default / files / attachments / project / info-votazioni_web.pdf (ril. 31/1/18).
[1.a] Municipality of Rivalta di Turin, Final Balance 2015 & gt; http://www.comune.rivalta.to .it / files / 3.5.1bil_part / 2016-17 / budget_inc3.pdf (release 1/2/18).
 Municipality of Rivalta di Torino, Budget, Forecast data 2016 & gt; http: //www.comune. rivalta.to.it/files/1.4amm_trasp/13bilanci/01bilancio_preventivo-consuntivo/2_bilancio_previsione/2016_entrate_dati_prev2016.pdf (ril. 31/1/18).
 Avio Aero, Chi we are & gt; http://www.avioaero.com/ita/Chi/Avio-Aero (ril. 31/1/18).
 Municipality of Rivalta di Torino - Regional TG3 - Rivalta does not forget: "Ex", the film about Fiat in Rivalta & gt; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbBghV__H8c&t=6s (release 1/2/18).
Sustainable Rivalta, 2017-2002 Program (2017) & gt; https://www.rivaltasostenibile.it/wp-content/pdf/Programma%20amministrativo%20Rivalta% 20Sostenibile% 202017-2022.pdf (ril. 31/1/18).
Rivalta Sostenibile News, (2017), n. 77, December & gt; https://www.rivaltasostenibile.it/wp-content/pdf/Newsletter /RS_NL_77.pdf (ril. 1/2/18).
Municipality of Rivalta, Municipal regulation for participatory budgeting (2013), approved with City Council Resolution of 30/3 & gt ; http://www.comune.rivalta.to.it/ files / 4.5 statute-regulations / regolam_bilancio_partecipativo.pdf (ril. 1/2/18).
Municipality of Rivalta of Turin, City Council, Minutes of deliberation, n. 144, 12/7/17 & gt; http://220.127.116.11/hypersicportal/portale/delibere /getfile.aspx?SOURCE=PATH&KEY=FileTestoDelib_2 (release 1/2/18).
- Sustainable Rivalta & gt; https://www.rivaltasostenibile.it (release 1/2/18).
- Centro Studi Sereno Regis, “for peace, the environment and sustainability” & gt; http://serenoregis.org/who-are/ (release 1/2/18).
- Rivalta Participatory Budget 2016 & gt; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZnp0rKo03I&feature = youtu.be (release 1/2/18).