San Casciano Val di Pesa Community Mobility Network, Italy

First Submitted By brennan.corriston

Most Recent Changes By Scott Fletcher

General Issues
Planning & Development
Social Welfare
Specific Topics
Transportation Planning
Ability/Disability Issues
Mass/Public Transport
Architecture & Design
Public Services
San Casciano In Val di Pesa
Scope of Influence
Start Date
End Date
Time Limited or Repeated?
A single, defined period of time
Make, influence, or challenge decisions of government and public bodies
Deliver goods & services
Spectrum of Public Participation
Total Number of Participants
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Open to All With Special Effort to Recruit Some Groups
Targeted Demographics
People with Disabilities
General Types of Methods
Deliberative and dialogic process
Collaborative approaches
General Types of Tools/Techniques
Legislation, policy, or frameworks
Plan, map and/or visualise options and proposals
Recruit or select participants
Specific Methods, Tools & Techniques
Focus Group
Laboratorio (Workshop)
Facilitator Training
Professional Facilitators
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Types of Interaction Among Participants
Discussion, Dialogue, or Deliberation
Ask & Answer Questions
Information & Learning Resources
Expert Presentations
Written Briefing Materials
Decision Methods
Don’t Know
Communication of Insights & Outcomes
Public Report
Primary Organizer/Manager
Tuscany's Regional Authority for the Promotion of Participation (APP)
Type of Organizer/Manager
Local Government
Regional Government
Tuscany's Regional Authority for the Promotion of Participation (APP), Municipality of San Casciano Val di Pesa
Type of Funder
Regional Government
Local Government
Evidence of Impact
Types of Change
Changes in public policy
Changes in how institutions operate
Implementers of Change
Elected Public Officials
Appointed Public Servants

In San Casciano Val di Pesa, Italy, local residents and community organizations co-designed a more inclusive public transportation network.

Problems and Purpose

The rural town of San Casciano Val di Pesa in Tuscany, Italy had experienced cuts to its public transportation budget. With a limited budget, a need to improve “transport connections,” and a goal to “combat social exclusion and promote well-being and quality of life,” the Municipal Council sought to create an inclusive process that would allow citizens—particularly “the most vulnerable groups”—to shape improvements to the public transportation network.[1] This “Community Mobility Network” was built out through a three-phase process, culminating in neighborhood workshops (“laboratori di area”)[2] in which locals worked to “co-design” the network.[3] The process received financial and technical support from the regional Authority for the Promotion of Participation. The process received a “special mention” in the Best Practice in Citizen Participation awards presented by the International Observatory on Participatory Democracy (IOPD) in 2017.[4] 

Background History and Context

Earlier public engagement processes in San Casciano Val di Pesa and in the Tuscan region laid the groundwork for the Community Mobility Network. The municipal government of San Casciano had included citizens in a “previous experience in participatory budgeting,” in which “local residents stressed the weaknesses of the connections between the center and the periphery, which made it difficult for households to access basic services and prevented may residents living on the outskirts of the municipality to benefit from municipal initiatives and programs.”[5] This participatory budgeting process made it clear to the municipality that transportation was a priority for citizens. San Casciano Val di Pesa also has the fortune of being located in the region of Tuscany, whose regional government has made public participation a priority over the last several years. In 2007, the Tuscan Regional Government (Giunta Regionale) passed a law establishing the regional Authority for the Promotion of Participation (Autorità regionale per la garanzia e la promozione della partecipazione, or APP) .[6] The law intentionally expired in 2012 and a new one was passed in 2013.[7] The APP hears funding requests for public participation projects three times per year.[8] The municipal San Casciano government appears to have generated the idea for the Community Mobility Network in 2014, as it applied to the APP for funding in October 2014; as discussed in Section 3 below, the APP granted the project funding in January 2015.[9]

Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities

The Community Mobility Network project was the result of combined citizen and governmental demand. San Casciano citizens identified transportation as an issue in participatory budgeting efforts; then, the municipal government applied for funding for the project from the Regional Authority for the Promotion of Participation.[10] San Casciano Val di Pesa presented the project idea and a request for €20.000,00 in funding to APP on October 31, 2014. The APP declared the project eligible for funding on November 28. In a resolution dated January 13, 2015, the APP declared that it would grant the Community Mobility Network project €12.000,00 in financing (“finanziamento concesso”).[11] The municipality of San Casciano also contributed funding for the project (€2.470,00 based on IODP’s figures).[12]

The project was coordinated by Leonardo Baldini from San Casciano’s “Secretarial, Communication, Culture and Sport Area” (“Area Segreteria, Comunicazione, Cultura e Sport”), with “Financial Services” by Barbara Bagni.[13, 14] Support came from the Municipal Council (“Giunta Municipale”), including “Mobility Councillor” Elisabetta Masti, “Vice-Mayor” Donatella Viviani, and seven other Council members.[15] The IODP summary also discusses “[l]ocal voluntary associations which participated in all meeting and activities” and “[r]epresentatives of the outskirts villages cultural centres” (the below lists are copied from the summary and reformatted).[16]

Local Voluntary Associations

  • Maria Pia Leoncini, ANTEAS [Associazione Nazionale Terza Età Attiva per la Solidarietà, or National Association of the Active Third Age for Solidarity];
  • Gianfranco Ciuffi, AUSER;
  • Mario Piccini, Misericordia di Mercatale;
  • Manuela Dini, Centro Socio Culturale Cerbaia;
  • Alessandro Milanesi, Misericordia di San Casciano.

Village Cultural Center Representatives

  • Luca Piazzini, associazone LA CIURMA;
  • Lorenzo Barubiani, Circolo Arci Cerbaia;
  • Moreno Cheli, Circolo Ricreativo Chiesanuova;
  • Elisa Pucci, referente di frazione a Chiesanuova;
  • Massimo Cerretelli, Proloco Mercatale;
  • Marina Carmassi, Circolo Ricreativo Montefiridolfi;
  • Ferdinando Maida, Associazione Montefiridolfi;
  • Spartaco Casini;
  • Circolo Arci Romola;
  • Silvia Turci, Circolo Mcl Romola;
  • Nico Gronchi, Circolo Ricreativo Casa Del Combattente S.Pancrazio.[17]

According to IODP, “[a]ll activities were designed and implemented with the support of participatory experts and facilitators, to ensure inclusiveness, equal expression of all points of view and constructive dialogue to define shared recommendations for actions.”[18] These experts included “[e]xperts in participatory methodologies” from “Sociolab scarl, a cooperative with extensive experience in planning and management of participatory processes,” and “an expert in the field of alternative mobility.”[19, 20]

Participant Recruitment and Selection

The Community Mobility Network cast a wide net and sought to reach the full community, with special emphasis on “vulnerable groups.”[21] Per IODP, this “process… targeted the entire population and involved citizens as well as local organizations. The participation of particularly vulnerable groups with respect to the issue of the right to mobility (youth, elderly, disabled) was guaranteed through the involvement of associations and informal groups in the area.”[22] Some outreach was conducted via social media and through “a special section dedicated to the process on the regional online platform Open Toscana” (the website for the Regional Government).[23] In an attempt to be inclusive with outreach, “[a]ll communication material used accessible language and provided key information and facts to familiarize citizens with the issue of mobility and the innovations developed in the field, not always known or commonly practiced in the local context.”[24]

It is unclear how Sociolab and the “alternative mobility” expert were selected. Sociolab appears to be a well-reputed public participation expert, as it had previously consulted on public participation projects in other communities in Italy.[25] 

Methods and Tools Used

The Community Mobility Network process occurred in three phases, which are discussed in more detail below. During the information-gathering Phase 1, methods included “mapping of existing services; interviews with key informants; [and] meetings with local organizations.” It seems that this mapping involved collaboration with local residents. Phase 2 included “focus groups with stakeholders, associations, administrators” and a survey regarding “mobility in the local context.” Phase 3 included five “participatory workshops [“laboratori”] to allow citizens to express their views and share recommendations for co-designing innovative mobility solutions.”[26] These workshops included “participatory planning/design tables” (“Tavoli di progettazione partecipata”).[27]

What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation

The Community Mobility Network was a three-phase process. In the first phase, “Coordination and context analysis,”[28] project coordinators met with local individuals and organizations to get a sense of the existing transportation system and needs. This included mapping of existing public transportation and transportation services offered by local community organizations, including services for people with disabilities.[29] In the second phase, “Engagement and needs assessment,” the coordinators presented best practices on sustainable mobility (“mobilità sostenibile”)[30] to key local “stakeholders, associations, administrators,”; they also gathered information through the aforementioned focus groups/meetings and surveys.[31] In the third phase, “Participatory workshops and network strengthening,” “Participatory workshops [were used] to allow citizens to express their views and share recommendations for co-designing innovative mobility solutions, based on existing best-practices and on the needs emerged through the survey and other context analysis tools.”[32] These workshops took place in both “the central area” of San Casciano (2 workshops) and “peripheral locations” (3 workshops); a major goal of the process was to design a transportation network that would better reach these outskirts.[33]

The process mainly utilized face-to-face interactions. The process was promoted online (on social media) and updated information was presented on the government’s Open Toscana website, as mentioned above. From the coordinator/facilitator side, the process involved a combination of information gathering and education about “sustainable mobility.” Citizens were given an active role in contributing to decisions, including especially their work in “co-designing” the network in Phase 3.

As discussed above, starting with outreach to local organizations, the process was designed to reach “particularly vulnerable groups,” including people with disabilities; it also sought to reach people in the outskirts who would urgently need improvements. It seems that this outreach was successful, given the workshops that took place in the outskirts and “the involvement of associations and informal groups.”[34] Remarkably, “The process actively involved approximately 500 people (3% of the population).”[35]

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

The process had several immediate impacts. The primary impact was “the implementation of a co-designed free shuttle service,” running between the “periphery” and “center” “two days a week and currently used by the most vulnerable sectors of the population (elderly, youth groups, disabled).” In addition, the project “[strengthened] the network of organizations working on social transport issues,” by bringing them together and allowing for “enhanced communication of existing services” and bringing more “organizations and human resources” into the network. The Municipality of San Casciano also set up message boards to “[test] a system of sharing of private mobility through carpooling” for “individuals in remote areas”; the boards “are managed by local residents.”[36]

The project seems to have reached its goal of engaging the public in an inclusive, co-design process to improve transportation services for members of the population who urgently needed them.

Analysis and Lessons Learned

This case appears to have been successful in many ways. It engaged many members of the community in the planning and design effort, including those who rely on transit services and may be typically left out of the conversation. And the results of the project, including a free shuttle, a network for carpooling, and a stronger connection among local organizations, appear to set the project up for success and sustainability going forward.

This project seems to have wide applicability both in terms of the community engaged and in terms of subject matter (i.e., transportation). The organizers of the project note that the “‘Community Mobility Network’... represents a significant pilot experience for the regional area as a whole. Although territorially limited to San Casciano, the project has a high potential for replication in neighbouring municipalities of the Chianti Fiorentino area, and in the country as a whole.”[37] The three-phase process - mapping/information gathering, focus groups, and co-designing - could certainly be applied to other transportation projects, and would likely have applicability to other government/urban planning projects such as other infrastructure work, open space projects, and more. This type of “co-design” community workshop is being used increasingly in the urban planning field in the United States.

The project had the financial support of the Tuscan Authority for the Promotion of Participation; not all communities have this type of well-established government commitment to funding and supporting public participation projects.

See Also

International Observatory on Participatory Democracy (IOPD)

Tuscany's Regional Authority for the Promotion of Participation (APP)

The Tuscany Regional Participation Policy, Italy


[1] IOPD, “Summary: Community Mobility Network,”

[2] Regione Toscana / San Casciano Val di Pesa / Sociolab, “Muoversi in Comune,”

[3] IOPD, “Summary: Community Mobility Network,”

[4] IOPD, “XI Distinction,”

[5] IOPD, “Community Mobility Network (Muoversi in Comune),”

[6] Participedia Contributors, “The Tuscany Regional Participation Policy, Italy” (Method),

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Autorità Regionale per la Garanzia e la Promozione della Partecipazione, “Deliberazione del 13 gennaio 2015 - N. 9,”

[10] Participedia Contributors, “Tuscany's Regional Authority for the Promotion of Participation (APP)” (Organization),

[11] Ibid.

[12] IOPD, “Community Mobility Network (Muoversi in Comune),”

[13] Ibid.

[14] Autorità Regionale per la Garanzia e la Promozione della Partecipazione, “Valutazione partecipata degli esiti dell’attuazione della LR 46/2013 FIRENZE,” 2017,

[15] “Members of the Municipal Council that accompanied the activities: Duccio Becattini, Davide Borghi, Letizia Giuliani, Niccolò Landi, Sandro Matteini, Luna Piazzini, Beniamino Tripodi.”

IOPD, “Community Mobility Network (Muoversi in Comune),”

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid.

[18] IOPD, “Summary: Community Mobility Network,”

[19] IOPD, “Community Mobility Network (Muoversi in Comune),”

[20] Participedia Contributors, “Sociolab” (Organization),

[21] IOPD, “Community Mobility Network (Muoversi in Comune),”

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Participedia Contributors, “Sociolab” (Organization),

[26] IOPD, “Community Mobility Network (Muoversi in Comune),”

[27] Regione Toscana / San Casciano Val di Pesa / Sociolab, “Muoversi in Comune,”

[28] IOPD, “Community Mobility Network (Muoversi in Comune),”

[29] Regione Toscana / San Casciano Val di Pesa / Sociolab, “Muoversi in Comune,”

[30] Ibid.

[31] IOPD, “Community Mobility Network (Muoversi in Comune),”

[32] Ibid.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Ibid.

[37] Ibid.

External Links

Regional Authority for the Promotion of Participation [ITALIAN]:

International Observatory on Participatory Democracy:

Community Mobility Network Facebook Page [ITALIAN]:


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