Problems and purposes
In November 2005, groups, associations and individual citizens gathered around the idea-project of the Social Park, and gave life to the Ventaglieri Social Park Coordination (CPSV): the idea was born precisely from the precise determination to "take care", together, of people and places, through the "promotion of fundamental and positive social relations" (as it is written in the founding document). After various developments between groups, committees, collectives, schools, also involved in participatory practices of dialogue with the district and the Municipality, in 2007 the association will also be born, as an organizational expression of this small galaxy of informal groups, centers and associations (Link 1). Over the years, from 2004 in particular, different participatory practices will develop on various aspects. First of all, attention, mobilization and involvement of the interested parties on the maintenance works and the reopening to the public of the area, closed due to the non-functioning of the escalators and neglect. In 2006, the Park Management Committee will follow, an institutional table with the presence of representatives of the Municipality, the District, the technical offices and the Coordination of the Ventaglieri Social Park (Municipality of Naples, prot. 1026/2006). Under the name of the Management Board, the 2011 elections and the victory of candidate De Magistris, dialogue with the administration resumes after a long period of rupture. Currently the updates arrive to 2013. After that no further information is available.
History and geography
The Ventaglieri Park is a public structure located in the Montesanto district, which falls within the territory of the II Municipality of the Municipality of Naples and is located in a border area between sub-districts: the lower part, accessible from vico Lepri ai Ventaglieri, is part of the Ventaglieri ; the upper part, easily accessible from via Avellino and Tarsia, reachable through a system of pedestrian and mechanized paths, or a system of escalators, is part of the Tarsia area (Link 1).
This location makes it a place of fundamental passage between the different areas, which otherwise would remain without connection, separated by tuff ridges and retaining walls that constitute impracticable jumps in altitude. Its crossing feature is fundamental because these areas, in addition to being densely populated, are equipped with primary services and equipment: the health center of the Gesù e Maria Hospital, located in the Tarsia area, the Pellegrini Hospital located in Pignasecca and the interchange junction of Montesanto with the underground, Cumana-Circumflegrea and Funicular stations. The park guarantees easy access to these services by determining their characterization (Link 1).
The construction of the park dates back to the Extraordinary Residential Building Program (PSER) of 1981 (law 219/81), for post-earthquake reconstruction following the Irpinia earthquake. It provided for a large operation of construction of parks, green areas and for sport unprecedented in the history of Naples (17 neighborhood parks and 3 urban parks were created, including the Ventaglieri), with the intention of reconnecting these to the 'built through an integrated system of multifunctional services. In this project framework, in the period 1985-1993 the following interventions were carried out in Montesanto: demolition, rehabilitation and consolidation of the ridge, recovery of some buildings for both residential and artisan purposes, construction of the school building, construction of the park, construction of the building escalators, inside the park (Link 1 - history of the park).
After the construction of these structures of the Ventaglieri complex, which was completed in 1993, the history of the park is characterized by an evident management discontinuity on the part of the institutions.
The school . While the school, XVI Circolo, begins to operate as early as September '93, the remaining facilities provided, such as the library, the gym center, the craft workshops are not even built. The park becomes a foreign object to the neighborhood, unknown to the city, a refuge for marginalized minorities (Ib.).
The DAMM . Given the persistence of a situation of incompleteness and degradation, some people who lived in Montesanto, seeing a denied opportunity in the place, occupy some spaces such as the gym that will later become DAMM, a self-managed social center. With the intention of modifying the state of abandonment through social, cultural and political interventions in the neighborhood, the DAMM has been an actor in the management and care of the public space, both by taking care of the maintenance and cleaning of the park, and by carrying out initiatives entertainment with the children of the neighborhood, theater and music for the wider citizenship (Ib.).
LET service . At the beginning of 1997, the Projects Service of the Municipality of Naples completed the works on the escalator building, which together with the park were inaugurated a few months later by the Mayor Bassolino, as part of the recovery operation started to get the districts of the historic center and the suburbs. From this moment the Institutions begin to take care of the Ventaglieri park through the management of the green areas and the system of escalators inside it; this management is not comprehensive, does not include social interventions and is characterized by delivery passages between the various municipal services, periodic maintenance of green areas and intermittent operation of the escalator system. In 1997, given the social unease and the rampant deviance, especially among the youth, alongside the works, the Giunta Bassolino proposes through a public call for tenders the management of post-school educational services which will later be called Territorial Education Laboratories ( LET). From 2000, the park will become an area of activity of the LET of the Avvocata district managed by the Fabozzi Foundation.
Forum Tarsia . In 2001 the Forum Tarsia was set up, an association of inhabitants of the area, to protect the environmental conditions and to stimulate social and cultural activities.
Eta Beta Center . At the beginning of 2005, the headquarters of the Eta Beta Center, Youth Service of the Municipality of Naples, was opened inside the escalator structure. The aim is the social requalification of a vital space for the neighborhood, an environmental structure with the characteristics of a city mobility tool that has remained a place of marginalization over the years.
Coordination of the Ventaglieri Social Park . In November 2005, groups, associations and individual citizens gathered around the idea-project of the Social Park, and gave life to the Ventaglieri Social Park Coordination (CPSV). The Ventaglieri Park, according to the intentions of the promoters, must become a place of meeting and experimentation for people who are not considered either in their capacity as users of a service, nor as privileged members of a community, nor as uncritical consumers. The park becomes a Social Park, the place of social, cultural and generational mix, in which to build new bonds of friendship and life; a "public space" and not only for its ownership structure; in which the inhabitant of the place becomes an active subject who expresses and asserts the right to the city, the right not only to use the services that the city offers, but above all "to participate in the government of the city, to express, guide, verify , correct the actions of those in charge of the administration and their results "(Edoardo Salzano_La città bene comune - Link 1).
Mammamà Group . In 2008, the group of mothers who frequent the building occupied by the Damm and which made a significant contribution to the birth and development of the Ventaglieri Social Park Coordination was established as an autonomous group, separating from the experience of the Damm: the group was born from the desire to share the experience of parenting by leaving the private dimension of the family unit and building practices of extended care for children. Privileged places for relationships, games, encounters and creativity are public spaces, in particular the Ventaglieri park, and some self-managed spaces in the city (Link 1).
The last years. The Ventaglieri Park in recent years has become the place where public assemblies open to all citizens are periodically convened to discuss the problems of the neighborhood and the city (waste, transport, violence against women, regulation of city parks); where the "Squares of the solidarity economy" are held on a monthly basis in which, in addition to selling organic products at km.Zero, solidarity buying groups (Gas) are organized, critical consumption and possible alternative ways of conceiving the development and economic relations. During the year, parties, theatrical performances for children, concerts, poetry readings, workshops and Carnival parades are organized and groups of mothers live their parenting in a shared and expanded way, organizing workshops and moments of entertainment for all the children who attend. the park. The children of the "territorial educative" share games, workshops and educators with all the other (Link 1 - history of the social park). With the 2011 elections, won by the candidate Luigi De Magistris, magistrate, independent, supported by Italia dei Valori, the Federation of the Left, the Party of the South and a civic list "with the new President of the Second Municipality the process of confrontation between initiatives from below and institutions seems to start off on the right foot: immediately the enclosed spaces of the park are reopened and made accessible to all citizens and an effective collaboration relationship is established with the associations present in the area, as evidenced by the countless initiatives planned in the park, among which the “self-sustainability” project of the Park seems to us to be particularly significant, with the establishment of a small composting plant. Second Municipality and Social Park Coordination Ventaglieri also decide together to create a Park management table with the presence of gardeners, custodians, municipalities, associations and citizens who will meet periodically to discuss the management of the park and plan social activities. and cultural events that will take place periodically. A new shared management laboratory for a public space starts at Parco Ventaglieri ”(Link 1). The site published 4 minutes of the meeting in 2012 and one last in 2013, after which no further information is given on the development of the affair. Meanwhile, on 5 June 2016, the mayor De Magistris, without the support of the PD, was re-elected with 66.85% of the votes in the ballot on the center-right candidate Lettieri.
Promoters and lenders
Ventaglieri Social Park Coordination (CPSV) is made up of various groups and collectives created by the inhabitants of the neighborhood: ForumTarsia active citizenship association, EtaBeta Municipal Center , Fabozzi Territorial Education Center, MAMMAmà social promotion association.
Municipality of Naples, Municipality II.
The activities are largely self-managed, in some cases there is the co-participation of the II Municipality but no information is given on the amount of the contributions.
Selection of participants
Park management table (2012-2013) is made up of the President and 1-2 technicians of the Municipality II, 1-2 representative / the gardeners (municipal employees), 1-2 representative / guardians of the Coop. "June 25" and by 3-4 delegates of the CPSV. The procedures for calling the meetings are not given.
The initiatives aimed at the inhabitants are open to all. The advertising methods are posters and word of mouth, there is also a social channel on Facebook. For example, at the assembly of the inhabitants of the neighborhood on 11/11/2007, called by the CPSV, there were "about forty people: in addition to the members of the Coordination, there were also the mothers of the Damm and the parents of the Mazzini school, exponents of the Association" Masaniello ”and the meet-up of Peppe Grillo and inhabitants of the neighborhood, a good part of which from the area of the Forum Tarsia. The President of the Municipality, Alberto Patruno, then intervened in the middle of the meeting ”(Link 1).
In 2013 the Landscape design course of the Academy of Fine Arts of Naples took place which involved the students (Link 1).
Methods and Tools
Multi-actor negotiating tables . It is a tool that can take various names, in this case it is called the Management table . These are meetings, generally chaired by the representative of an authority (as in this case by the Presidents of the Municipality II) or his delegate or by a facilitator appointed by the same. Representatives or delegates of the actors involved in the issue are convened (as in this case the subjects who have roles of management and habitual use of the public space). They can be periodic as in this case or temporary on specific projects. In these contexts there is a tendency to assume a negotiating reasoning, to exchange / undertake mutual commitments, highlight shortcomings or problems, share intentions or rules, or in the most advanced cases, methodological paths for resolving disputes or enlargement / verification of consensus on the agreements made .
Assemblies of the inhabitants . Assemblies are moderator-led meetings where the floor is taken in turn and options are voted on. It is not given in the case in question to clearly understand its development and the decision-making methods used.
Focus group Focus group. They are very common ways to bring together a group of people and start a discussion with them around a desired theme, thanks to the conduct of a moderator who is called to stimulate the discussion and verify that everyone can express their opinion. Through this methodology it is possible to collect different opinions, stimulate a comparison between different positions and explore different points of view or reach an agreement. To facilitate the discussion, post-its can be used, which allow those who are not comfortable speaking in public to express their opinions and those who have difficulty summarizing to reflect on what the fundamental concept is. they want to express. Generally, as in the case in question, focus groups host a limited number of participants (12-14) and focus on single aspects of a theme.
Laboratories . These are activities very similar to focus groups but more open to the creativity of each participant to present ideas and elaborate and finalize them in a group.
Deliberation, decisions and interaction with the public
From the Ventaglieri Social Park website (Link 1) it is possible to read up on the auto-biographical history of the park and its protagonists. The description, however, is brief and obviously suffers from spontaneity and voluntary effort.
Among the most markedly participatory activities carried out, the following are highlighted:
The Spring Festival (12/5/2007) in which design laboratory activities were carried out with children with the collaboration of the students of the Architecture course, coordinated by F. Palestino, "played with the students, inviting them to place large maps of the paper park with images on top, to hypothesize new locations and furnishings and imagine possible scenarios useful for the future redevelopment of the green area "(Link 1). No further information is given.
Assembly of the inhabitants of the district (11/11/2007), with 40 participants, and the presence as invited by the President of the district, A. Patruno, there was a comparison between all the groups that revolve around the activity of the Social Park Coordination Fans. The history of the Management Committee's 18 months has been reconstructed, which saw the convening of just 5 meetings during which few “substantive” decisions were taken. From a negative evaluation of this type of experience was born the turning point of the Coordination which, while continuing to believe in the possibility of a participatory management of a public space, does not consider the Administration currently in charge culturally equipped and really interested in carrying out this type of experience. . On the other hand, the CPSV, refusing any hypothesis of “private” assignment of the structure to associations, continues to claim the role of the public in the management of the city spaces. The dossier on the state of the park sites was then illustrated and the various realities present were invited to express concrete proposals. On the other hand, participation cannot be that which involves only the associations that meet on Thursdays: there is a need to broaden the process to the various realities operating in the area and expressing needs and proposals. It is therefore desirable that meetings like these are repeated over time with a fixed periodicity. Someone stresses first of all the need for a timely report of the administration's non-compliances. This is generally done by the Coordination whose protocol is becoming more and more abundant. Other interventions follow. However, no other reports can be found of the meetings, up to the day dedicated to participation practices activated in recent years, which was held in 2013 (see below).
Another sufficiently documented phase concerns a year of meetings, documented with fairly detailed minutes, of the park management table , started after the 2011 elections with the new president of the Municipality II (Link 1). These are 5 meetings in the style of the multi-actor negotiating table (see tools) in which the promoters were present (see above) and they dealt with various issues.
First table of 2/2/2012 . The agenda includes (Link 1 - Management table):
- Goals and meaning of the table. “Shorten the distance between institutions, workers and citizens; experience the participatory management of a place; discuss problems and possible shared solutions; improve the quality of the park and the working conditions in it; to work and fight collectively ”.
- Economic difficulties (risk of suspension of shifts for employees of the Municipality of Naples), difficulty in accessing projects / funds (such as the Maggio dei Monumenti) due to the passage to the Municipality, lack of necessary supplies for workers (tools, suitable clothing, gasoline etc);
- Escalators: possible reopening to the public at the end of April, need to keep the attention high, to put pressure for the restoration of an indispensable service for a large part of the neighborhood and for the revival of the lower part of the park;
- Conditions of the lower part of the park: management difficulties (cleaning, presence of guardians, inability to close the gate.
In the minutes, a list of the commitments made is passed (Ib.).
- Confrontation between the Municipality and Naples Services for the sweeping service, suspended from mid-December and spontaneously acquitted by the Coop. 25 June;
- Officialization of the Participatory Management Board of the Ventaglieri Social Park with a formal act of the Municipality;
- Supply of baskets and containers for separate collection in the lower part of the park to be paid by Asia after the assurance of emptying;
- Discussion of the Draft of Participated Regulations of the Ventaglieri Social Park proposed by the CPSV and approval of a Regulation expressed by the Table;
- Improvement of communication between Associations, Institutions (President, Managers and Coordinators) and workers assigned on site through the direct delivery of mail at the headquarters of the Municipality of Piazza Dante;
- Proposal of activities in the lower part of the park by the associations with the proposal of the CPSV to request an indoor space to carry out workshops with the children;
A calendar of scheduled appointments follows: theater show for children, organic market, dance show, carnival rally and parade.
Finally, the interventions of all the participants, the appointment for the next meeting and the names of the editors of the minutes are described.
Last table of 11/26/2012 . The meetings, documented by the minutes, continue until 11/26/2012. On this occasion, among the topics discussed, the point on the Operation of the Management Table is highlighted. "The Ventaglieri Social Park Coordination highlights that, although its role should be above all that of stimulating and organizing activities aimed at making the park alive and popular, making it a real meeting point for the neighborhood, at this moment it has a limited function to the mere attempt to determine an acceptable basic ordinary management, which first of all allows users to set foot in the park and in the annexed structures, in a "simple" condition of safety. The CPSV takes note of the situation and once again does not shy away from supporting a fundamental part in this function, but does not shy away from denouncing the rather disconcerting fact that its role in recent months has been that of having to push the Municipality and the technical services to trivially verify the agreements with the Municipality of Naples to verify the precise duties of the park workers. Furthermore, despite the effort and energy spent, the times for a decent use of the park, the annexed structures and the escalators continue to expand with deadlines first declared and then sensationally not respected. Therefore, having verified the disconcerting inefficiency of the municipal machine, which does not always have to be justified by the difficulties of the context in which it works, the CPSV promises to consider for the future actions of denunciation through official information bodies "(Link 1 - management table of 11/26/12). No further appointment is made.
Everyday landscapes (April 20, 2013) .
The CPSV organizes a day entirely dedicated to participatory practices that have taken place over the years and on the many difficulties and real possibilities of experimenting, in a complex city like Naples, forms of participation starting from the practices of care - of places and people - that individual citizens, associations and institutions implement starting from the needs and desires expressed by citizenship. A moment of reflection is planned focused on the New Park Regulations, elaborated within assemblies and workshops with citizens, committees and children of the neighborhood, which aims to overcome the old Municipal Regulations in force in all urban parks, proposing as a specific expression of the place and the rules of coexistence that have consolidated over time. During the focus group, the concrete implementation and operational problems associated with the adoption of this Regulation will be addressed which, among other things, provides for the periodic convening of a Park Management Table with the presence of gardeners, custodians, municipalities, associations and citizens who they should each take responsibility for the management of the green space (Link 1).
Influence, results and effects
In all these years the Ventaglieri Park has been the scene of an often controversial and never pacified dialectic between the Administration and groups of citizens. The Administration, in its various forms, only in certain circumstances was it able to grasp the innovative character of the experiences of protagonism from below that were being experimented, as in the case of the organization of the experimental laboratory of participatory planning and self-construction of two games for children then installed in two flower beds in the park, shared with the II Municipality. On the other hand, the experience of the Park Management Committee, established in 2006, of which the Department of Parks and Gardens, the Second Municipality, the Municipal Services concerned and the Ventaglieri Social Park Coordination were part of the common goal of "keeping together the management of the places and that of the social and cultural activities that take place in the Park ". In our city, unfortunately, the word "participation" takes the form of a meritorious intention which, however, finds it hard to materialize in precise communicative and procedural mechanisms that struggle to function because most of the time they conflict with the bureaucratic organization of the municipal machine which is often 'innovation: the failure of the Management Committee arises in the first place from the inability of the Administration to guarantee a daily and ordinary management of the existing (Link 1).
Another critical moment of the Coordination intervened when some associations present in the Coordination preferred to continue their action individually, breaking that unity of purpose among all the forces that worked for the park; moment of criticality partially compensated by the entry into the Coordination of other associative and movement realities (Link 1).
The results obtained in recent years can be identified in the first place in the creation of a vast network of "social capital" that is innervated in the park and which lately is also extending beyond the local neighborhood reality, with the involvement of other subjects (Squares of the solidarity economy). Among other things, the Coordination proposed to Neapolitan committees and associations to work on a project for the “Regulation of public city parks”, extending its action to an increasingly urban environment.
The action of the Coordination certainly contributed to the decision by the Administration to proceed with the renovation of the Park and the Escalators. "Controversial" works in which the Administration has accepted only a few suggestions from the Coordination and which, as often happens, have continued over the years and are not yet completed (Link 1).
Currently, individual citizens of the district are part of the Coordination together with the Eta Beta Center, the Tarsia Forum, the LETs of Fabozzi, Mammamà. Even the last experience of 2012 of the Management Board in which the II Municipality was also involved was interrupted after a year. In the meeting of 2013 this desperate and insuperable difficulty in being able to build a profitable relationship with a municipal administration capable of dealing with the indications expressed by active citizens already engaged in the care of common goods with reliability and a minimum of efficiency is manifested (Link 1 ). There is a fair presence of the case in the media, local inserts of national newspapers and architectural magazines.
Analysis and lessons learned
The case in question presents a historical path of active citizenship, linked to a specific place. The main claims of a postmodern local society are highlighted through the theme and tools of participatory democracy, which has identified its active role in the social context of everyday life, beyond work, and is well aware of the ways in which it can be ordered of the public day their community needs, through the only shared value that still holds postmodern societies together: democracy. Keeping in mind that here we are dealing with a voluntaristically managed process, the transparency of the path is quite detailed even if a little messy and above all suspended. In particular, the development of the relationship with the Administration has been interrupted since 2013. Although there is an FB channel, canonical events (carnival and other festivals) are proposed without further explanations of the relations with the administration and above all of the coordination activities. Coordination seems to have always kept to the inclusiveness of its activities but an external voice is needed to be able to provide reliable verification. The presence of park workers in the management table should be highlighted. On the sharing of the path and its lack of continuity, the only defective seems to be the administration and then the II Municipality, but checks with the same would be needed. Actions to enlarge the representativeness seem to have been organized a few times in the last phases, with mixed initiatives, between the party and cultural event, without activating tools for collecting preferences that are effective both to inform and to detect and to express or mobilize a substantial number of inhabitants.
Municipality of Naples (2006), Trade union decree n. 2777, prot. n. 1026 of 18/04> http://www.parcosocialeventaglieri.it/pagine/partecipazione/decreto.htm (ril., 23/2/18).
1. Ventaglieri Social Park. Participation changes Naples> http://www.parcosocialeventaglieri.it/pagine/tavolo.htm (ril. 23/2/18).