A participation path designed to involve citizens in the urban transformations of the Municipality. The results were used to elaborate guidelines for the drafting of the “Montemurlo + Montale” Urban Innovation Project.
Problems and Purpose
“Montemurlo designs its future” is a participation path designed to involve citizens and, in particular, the younger sections of the population, on the urban transformations of the Municipality. The aim of the project is to identify in a shared way strategies for territorial revitalization and urban redevelopment, capable of improving the conditions of liveability and social inclusion. In particular, the project focuses on the redevelopment of the area of the former sports field - intended as an opportunity to give Montemurlo a recognizable center - and on the hamlet of Oste, in view of the future revision of the urban planning instruments referred to in Regional Law 65 / 2014 .
The administration intended to solve three main problems:
- adolescent distress: Montemurlo has a very high rate of dropout and school failure;
- lack of local support and support structures for the district economy, especially following the period of crisis;
- absence of a central public space and identity, in which the fragmented and multicultural society of Montemurlo could build a "sense of community".
The general objectives of the project design were the following:
- activate a broad path of participatory planning capable of involve, alongside technicians and managers of municipal services li, economic realities and citizens, in order to identify strategies for urban redevelopment and territorial revitalization;
- activate a path of education for citizenship, which promotes, in particular, youth leadership, listening to the needs and desires of adolescents;
- collect suggestions to participate in the Call for Urban Innovation Projects (PIU), issued by the Tuscany Region, to implement the Regional Operational Program (POR) of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) 2014 -2020, for sustainable urban development;
- collect indications to improve the quality of the hamlets, in view of the future revision of urban planning tools, with reference to Regional Law 65/2014. ul >
- design of the logo and graphic identity of the project;
- development of information materials for the launch of the participatory path; < li> activation of a dedicated website within the Open Toscana Partecipa portal, to give the opportunity to participate, not only physically, but also online;
- activation of a Facebook page, to promote the path;
- creation of a brochure to guide the discussion, distributed in the shops and in the main aggregative structures;
- development of the list of subjects to be involved; < li> definition of the calendar of activities, to be disseminated via the web;
- preparation of outdoor listening points (gazebo with tables, panels and info materials rmatives), which represented a first opportunity for information and widespread involvement, in order to intrigue people and broaden their participation to the widest possible catchment area;
- organization of a launch press conference of the project.
The "Montemurlo designs its future" project has obtained the support of the Regional Authority for the Guarantee and Promotion of Participation  and is indicated among the good practices of participation by the Department of public function .
Background History and Context & nbsp;
Montemurlo is an Italian municipality in the Province of Prato, located halfway (8 km) between Prato and Pistoia and about 20k from Florence. Its territory extends for 30.7 km² and is crossed by numerous small streams, including the Agna stream, which marks the border with the Municipality of Montale. & Nbsp;
They are part of the Municipality of Montemurlo also the hamlets or localities of Albiano Bagnolo, Bagnolo di Sopra, Carbonizzo, Case sparse, Castello, Fornacelle, Freccioni, Montemurlo Castello, Oste.
According to ISTAT data as of 1 January 2017, in the Municipality of Montemurlo there are 18,610 people, of which 17.3% minors and 11.6% foreigners. & nbsp;
The industrial district of Montemurlo is going through a positive moment, given that it directly reflects on the unemployment rate : it is, in fact, among the lowest in Italy, ie around 7%, well 5 points below the national average of 12.5% . Montemurlo, however, also boasts a negative record, namely a high rate of school dropout, which is the highest in Tuscany .
The tradition of local government is center-left. From 2009 to 2014 the Mayor Lorenzini is in office, supported by the center left. His mandate was subsequently confirmed for the period 2014-2019. Lorenzini has expressed his conviction on several occasions that " dialogue with citizens is the basis of good politics " . & Nbsp;
Regarding the 2010 budget, the Mayor said : “ The first balance of our administrative mandate is the result of an important process of confrontation with citizens through public assemblies in the various fractions of the Municipality. We met voluntary associations, economic categories and workers' unions, in the desire to develop a dialogue with citizens and involve them as much as possible in the decision-making processes of the administration ".
In the forecast document of 2013 , reference is made to the “ citizens as protagonists ”: “ listening and comparison are factors that determine social cohesion and overall growth of our city. Administrative action will have to encourage active participation in strategic choices, through the establishment of Forums, new forms of access to documents and services, increase online,  simplification and de-bureaucratization in communication, information and procedures. We will broadcast the meetings of the City Council online in order to make government decisions transparent and facilitate everyone's access to the political life of the city. The policies for equal opportunities and safety must be consolidated, confirming the actions that make our city rich in human and cultural relations, lively and participatory ".
The budget for the 'year 2014, among its general objectives, explicitly refers to the theme of participation: "participation will be an instrument of comparison and shared governance between citizens and institutions (active citizenship) ".< p> In the programmatic lines for the 2014-2019 mandate, it is recalled that: " on the level of active participation of citizens, the city of Montemurlo has for years put in place tools aimed at raising awareness, training and educating each citizen em > ". Furthermore, participation is once again referred to as an instrument of shared governance.
Also among the commitments undertaken in the Single Programming Document 2009-2021, there is the promotion of " citizen participation, wanting to enhance active citizenship as one of the elements in the formation of local government decision-making processes ".
In general terms, the use of participatory decision-making processes is an increasingly widespread practice in administrations public. Participation is recommended by European programs and constitutes a requirement also acknowledged by Italian legislation, especially in the field of urban redevelopment, social policies and interventions for local development. Among the procedural innovations introduced by the Regional Law 65/2014, which dictates the rules for the government of the territory, there is precisely the aspect of participation and involvement of citizens.
Art. 36, paragraph 3, states, in fact: " The results of the information and participation activities implemented in the context of the procedures for the formation of the acts of territorial governance contribute to the definition of the contents of the territorial and urban planning tools, according to the motivations made by the proceeding administration ".
The Department of the Civil Service has developed guidelines" so that the public consultation processes are able to lead to informed decisions and quality and are as inclusive, transparent and effective as possible ". These general principles explicitly include support for participation: " awareness of the importance of consultation processes must also be supported through information, communication and education activities aimed at increasing the participation and collaboration of citizens, businesses and their associations ".
In the vast majority of cases, participation practices are activated by public administrations (90%), in particular within local authorities (73%) and aim at the collection of ideas. To a lesser extent, these are practices carried out to collect comments on regulatory acts already formulated, on the allocation of part of the budget expenditures of the entities (so-called participatory budget) and on works projects. & Nbsp;
For since Montemurlo has for years shown attention and sensitivity to the theme of participation, the “Montemurlo designs its future” course represents for the Municipality the first “structured” experience of participatory democracy. However, this operation had a more extensive impact: the council, in fact, undertook to take into account the indications that emerged in the 2016 programming. The same renewal of the urban planning instruments, which became necessary following the Regional Law 65/2014, took place with participatory modalities. The new structural plan, adopted in 2017, is, in fact, the result of a participation process that again involved the citizens of the Municipality, with the help of an information and participation guarantor.
Organizing , Supporting, and Funding Entities
The path, as mentioned, was born from the will of the Municipality of Montemurlo to promote citizen participation to identify territorial revitalization strategies and, in particular, to give the city a piazza, which has always been missing and needed. For years, in fact, the area of the former sports field, located right in the center of Montemurlo, has been indicated as an opportunity to build a civic center, capable of restoring an identity to an agglomeration perceived more as a residential and productive suburb of Prato, which as an urban center. & Nbsp;
The Regional Authority for the Guarantee and Promotion of Participation (APP), with resolution no. 17, of 16 September 2015, granted a loan of 11,000 euros gross to the “Montemurlo designs its future” project, in addition to 10,000 euros made available by the Municipality of Montemurlo. The overall budget was therefore 21,000 gross euros.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
"Montemurlo designs its future" is a participatory process open " to all those who intend give your contribution ”- as stated in the information leaflet launching the project . In this case, therefore, participation is aimed " to all citizens who find themselves sharing a given situation or who have some interest in the topic under discussion " .< p> The selection mechanism used was, therefore, that of the “open door”, ie self-selection. " Participatory processes that are based on the self-selection of participants are essentially open to all interested parties; those who participate have decided to do so consciously and out of their own free will ". & nbsp;
The starting phase of the path, in order to inform and involve citizens, was divided into a series of activities: & nbsp;
The public presentation of the path took place on October 16, 2015, at the Council Room of the Municipality, where the Mayor explained, in the presence of about 40 citizens, the purposes of the process and its importance for the future of Montemurlo.
With the same information purposes, on 10 November 2015, a meeting was held with the representatives of the main economic categories, also with the aim of soliciting sending contributions and considerations.
Methods and Tools Used & nbsp;
The participatory experience “Montemurlo designs its future” is characterized by a high degree of structuring. The process was divided into phases and had pre-established times and methods. Specifically, it was divided into four phases, which took place between October and March 2016 :
· start-up phase;
· involvement phase; p >
· sharing phase;
· Oste's laboratory.
The different phases saw the realization of the following activities:
1 ) Starting phase
· Design of the logo and graphic identity of the project;
· activation of the dedicated website in the portal Open Toscana Partecipa;
· activation of a Facebook page to promote the course;
· creation of a discussion guide leaflet;
· development of the list of subjects to be involved;
· definition of the calendar of activities;
· organization of a press conference to launch the project.
2) Involvement phase
This phase saw the activation of virtual thematic tables and 10 events on the territory:
· presentation meeting of the path - 16 October 2015, 6 pm, at the Council Chamber ;
· point listening to the market - Tuesday 20 October 2015, 9-12, at the market in Piazza della Costituzione;
· meeting with the mothers of the Kindergarten - Friday 30 October 2015, 17.30-19.30 ;
· laboratory with the Salvemini La Pira Middle School - Saturday 31 October 2015, 8.30-11.30;
· laboratory World Cafè with the Liceo Artistico Brunelleschi and the Salvemini La Pira Middle School - Tuesday 3 November 2015, 10-13.30, at the Youth Center;
· first Design Workshop - Wednesday 4 November 2015, 18, at the Youth Center; < / p>
· interactive walk, starting from Piazza del Municipio - Saturday 7 November 2015, 10 am-1pm;
· second Design Workshop - Wednesday 11 November 2015, 6 pm, at the Center young people;
· table of heard in the square - Saturday 14 November 2015, 10 am-6pm, in Piazza della Libertà;
· third design workshop - Wednesday 18 November 2015, 6 pm, at the Youth Center.
The time slot of 18:00, chosen in particular for the design workshops, suggests the willingness of the organizers to favor participation as much as possible, taking into account the working times of the citizens involved.
As regards instead, the venue for the meetings, all the design workshops took place at the Youth Center. The choice to keep this location unchanged, throughout the entire journey, is probably explained by the desire to ensure that it becomes a neutral space for comparison for all . & Nbsp;
3) Sharing phase
This phase of the journey saw some meetings with the technicians, administrators and any project partners, aimed at examining the proposals of the citizens and translate them, where possible, into interventions to be included in the Urban Innovation (PIU) project “Montemurlo + Montale”. The phase ended with:
· final meeting to return the results of the path to the central area and to present the proposal of the Urban Innovation project (PIU) "Montemurlo + Montale", together with the Municipality of Montale - Saturday 19 December 2015, 4.00 pm, in Sala Banti.
4) The Host's Laboratory p>
This phase was aimed at identifying, together with the citizens, possible strategies to improve the urban quality of the hamlet of Oste, perceived by the inhabitants as a "second class" location, compared to Montemurlo; in particular, the discussion focused on the theme of possible public functions to be hosted in the area of the former red factory, an industrial building in a state of neglect, divided between several private properties.
To this end, 2 events were held in the Oste area:
· listening point at the market - Friday 11 March 2016, 10 am-5pm, in Piazza Amendola;
· design workshop - Tuesday 22 March 2016, 6 pm, in the Parish Hall.
With reference to the three phases of work indicated above, the methodologies used were:
1) strong > Start-up phase
This phase was organized through internal meetings and focus groups with the project partners.
2) strong > Involvement phase
This phase was organized through listening and involvement activities, using different methodologies in order to intercept all the population targets:
· Interv located in the shops and in the meeting places;
· listening point at the market (both in Montemurlo and in Oste), through a gazebo and panel for collecting ideas;
· interactive walk in the places of the interventions, together with facilitators and municipal technicians;
· collection of contributions and comments on the web, using the Discussion Tables of the "Participation Room" of Open Toscana;< p> · focus group with the mothers of the nursery school;
· focus group with representatives of the economic categories;
· workshops with schools organized with techniques World Cafè and Planning for Real ;
· listening point in the square with gazebo, ideas panel and "Interactive table" (collection of proposals on large photo detailed area of the municipal territory);
· workshops with citizens organized in work tables and with the use of interactive design simulation methodologies inspired by Christopher's Pattern Language Alexander (use of evocative images).
3) Sharing phase
In the last phase of the journey, for meetings with technicians and administrators, the focus group method was used. These meetings were aimed at examining the citizens' proposals and translating them into a project. The final meeting, on the other hand, took place with the classic form of a public assembly: the mayors of Montemurlo and Montale and the project representatives took part; the path followed was illustrated by the projection of slides and videos; in conclusion, space was given to public interventions.
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
“ Involving tens, hundreds or thousands of people, making them working together, making them talk, dealing with conflicts, creating a context in which they can express themselves freely and enrich their points of view, and possibly finding common ground is not an easy task. Participatory processes need to use specific methodologies to address these difficulties and to create situations favorable to the expression of needs and confrontation ". & Nbsp;
To this end, the method decision adopted in the "Montemurlo designs its future" process was based above all on the discussion within small groups, in which people were not called to pronounce real interventions, but had the opportunity to express themselves in a few sentences, to counter , take the word multiple times, interrupt each other and, in general, they could interact face-to face . In other words, from the reports relating to the various design workshops, the desire emerges to favor, within the circumscribed deliberative framework represented by the "working tables", the exchange of opinions among the participants, the expression of their desires, interests and ideas. The rule adopted to deliberate was the principle of consent. & Nbsp;
“ As a rule, in participatory processes an authentic communication is triggered, in its many forms, only when the pure informative function is not ( more) at the center of attention and when in the participatory process the inputs of the participants really count ".
For example, the first design workshop, held on Wednesday 4 November 2015 , was divided into three discussion tables, which saw alternating about 60 citizens of varying ages between 17 and 80 years. The participants were very interested in the topics discussed and interacted with each other positively. From this comparison, reflections and ideas were born on what are the good characteristics of an urban center, on the strengths and weaknesses of the meeting places present in the territory of Montemurlo, as well as on the potential to be developed to create a new urban center. To stimulate discussion, participants were made available an enlarged photo of the area under study - a modality that further helped to share some key issues, perceived as critical issues to be resolved .
Also during the second design workshop on Wednesday 11 November 2015, two working groups were organized, around which about 25 citizens of varying ages met, in order to identify the indispensable and shared functions to be proposed for the future. Montemurlo urban center (former sports field area). From the report on the meeting, it emerges that the discussion among citizens was animated and resulted in numerous shared project ideas, while some issues remained to be explored, given that a common position was not reached. To facilitate the work of the groups, option cards were used, depicting the various proposals that emerged in the previous meetings, to which the participants added further activities and functions, considered a priority for the new urban center.
A key aspect to improve the quality of participation consists precisely “ in the adoption of measures that favor communication between specialists and laymen. Some approaches propose to "show" things rather than "describe" them orally or pre-written, show a model rather than an architectural drawing, give examples rather than cite numbers. They presuppose a job of translation, which allows to put everyone on an equal footing. Or they resort to simulation techniques to facilitate the understanding of the problems and the exchange between the participants ".
The workshop with the schools, carried out on November 3, 2015, saw the participation of about 60 boys and girls aged between 13 and 19 and some architects of the Municipality. The boys were seated around a large photo area depicting the whole territory of Montemurlo and invited to place a yellow marker on their home. An exercise in visioning was then proposed: the students imagined being able to travel with a time machine until 2020, when the new center will already have been built. A lively exchange of ideas followed, as emerges from the report of the meeting, stimulated by a series of questions. In the next phase, organized with the World Cafè methodology, the students were invited to work together for about an hour, arranged in tables of 5-6 seats, interacting in a productive and constructive way around a question: “what would a 14-year-old boy want to find in the new urban center?”. Each table had colored markers, post-its and placemats available to write down proposals and ideas.
The above suggests, in general terms, the achievement of a good level of interaction between the participants, as well as of a fair result in terms of their empowerment . The entire path made use of the expertise of facilitators, that is, professionals, experts in participation, specialized in managing small groups and in encouraging interaction between people. Specifically, the company "Cantieri Animati" of Florence was commissioned. From the table of costs incurred for the "Montemurlo designs its future" project, contained in the Final Report, it appears that for the "Planning, management and management / facilitation of processes", 16,000 euros were used (on a budget < / em> total of 21,000 euros), of which 6,000 borne by the Regional Authority for Participation and 10,000 made available by the Municipality of Montemurlo. & nbsp;
There is a lack of data to evaluate the effort made in terms of internal training, in order to internalize the participatory process; in this sense we can only mention the fact that, during the workshops with the schools, some student volunteers were asked to take on the role of facilitators.
As regards the numbers of participation, the 12 appointments of the path was attended by a total of over 400 citizens, including about eighty young and very young. & nbsp;
Participation in the initiatives related to the process was significant not only for the number, but above all because it affected the population in a transversal way, involving an age group ranging from 13 to 80 years and diversified levels of education. This type of result appears satisfactory, since the participatory process aimed to empower, involve and sensitize the entire citizenry. The data :
· about 200 people at the listening days in the square in Montemurlo center;
· 80 children, between 13 and 19 years old, at the workshops set up in schools middle school and art school;
· 60 citizens enrolled in project workshops;
· 30 mothers (and a father) at the meeting at the Kindergarten;
· 25 participants in the "interactive walk";
· about 90 people at the listening day in the square and at the Oste's workshop.
Participation on the web was also consistent :
· the "Open Toscana" portal, saw over 5,000 visits and 11 contributions to the "Virtual Discussion Tables";
· the Facebook page collected over 200 "likes "And some posts reached more than 2,000 people and a high number of interactions;
· several local and provincial blogs talked about the project.
part of the participants, a survey was carried out on the Open Tosc platform ana Participates, but the responses were limited: only 11 citizens responded, making this tool not very significant for the purpose of surveying opinions.
Again in order to record the degree of satisfaction of the participants , two questionnaires were administered, both at the beginning and at the end of the course: in general, these tools recorded a high level of satisfaction.
Specifically, the questionnaire at the beginning of the course was completed by 51 participants , that is the majority of citizens (60 people) who participated in the first meeting of the design workshop (Wednesday 4 November 2015).
The data relating to trust in participatory processes is particularly interesting. : 35% believe that citizens can greatly influence political choices by participating in associative life or participatory processes, 25% on average, 22% very much, 14% little, 2% very little or. 2% did not answer the question.
As regards the channel through which citizens learned about the participatory process, it appears that 20% learned the news from the internet or from a message on social networks , 17% from friends, family or acquaintances, 14% from a telephone or paper contact with the promoter of the project, 14% from flyers distributed in the post office, 10% from the local press; 25%, on the other hand, provided a multiple answer, having learned about the path from multiple media.
When asked "what prompted them to participate?" 41% of the participants replied: "interest in the topic dealt with", 8% indicated a desire to influence public choices, 8% trust in the person from whom they learned of the trial, 6 % the chance to give their opinion, 2% were driven by simple curiosity; many participants gave a multiple answer, being motivated by several reasons.
Finally, we must point out the data relating to citizens' expectations: to the question "what do you expect from this participatory process?" Numerous responses were provided. Overall, they testify to the willingness of the participants to contribute actively, constructively and shared to the improvement of the Municipality of Montemurlo.
The final questionnaire was delivered at the time of the final meeting: due to the limited number of participants who filled it in (20 people), the result cannot be considered fully significant, however some data are interesting for the purpose of evaluating the type and quality of horizontal interactions between the participants:
· level of interaction: in general, it was considered high: most (10 citizens) said they listened to others, put forward proposals, supported others' ideas and mobilized other citizens to participate; only 4 citizens said they mainly listened to the proposals of others;
· role of experts: the majority of people (9 citizens) considered the intervention of the experts clear and useful, 5% transparent and not deployed, 3 people, on the other hand, called it "unclear and not useful", 3 did not give an answer;
· climate of the meetings: most of the citizens who filled out the questionnaire (12) rated the meeting climate very good, 4 wrote that they found it optimal, 1 citizen did not answer, 3 people defined it as discreet;
· satisfaction with the course: when asked "would you participate again in a process of this type (also on another topic) or would you advise an acquaintance to participate in such an event if it were proposed? ", 17 out of 20 citizens answered yes, 3 people did not answer.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
The results of the participatory path were shared i with the Municipality of Montale  and were used to elaborate guidelines for the drafting of the Urban Innovation Project "Montemurlo + Montale".
The Municipality of Montemurlo was able to seize the opportunity to participate in the Call for Urban Innovation Projects (PIU), issued by the Tuscany Region, to implement the Regional Operational Program (POR) . This is a financing channel linked to the European structural funds for the period 2014-2020, whose objective is to contribute to the realization of the European Union strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as to promote economic, social and territorial cohesion. . & nbsp;
Urban Innovation Projects (PIU), as defined pursuant to the Deliberation of the Regional Council of Tuscany n. 57/2015, are a coordinated and integrated set of infrastructural and intangible actions aimed at achieving development objectives based on urban quality, in a perspective of social, economic and environmental sustainability; are based on a systemic, multidisciplinary and participatory approach. & nbsp;
In particular, the Urban Innovation project "Montemurlo + Montale" aims to overcome the administrative separation between the two territories - strengthened by belonging to two different provinces - in order to allow the sharing of both the territorial heritage and the services of the two municipalities which, in fact, constitute a single urban agglomeration. & nbsp;
The PIU is structured around 6 main objectives [25 ]:
1. create a new urban centrality for the two municipalities: in the case of Montemurlo, in particular, for many years the area of the former sports field, located in a central area of the country, has been indicated as an opportunity to create a city center, intended as a meeting place for all citizens, or as a central public space and identity, where residents can meet in order to increase their sense of sociality and belonging to the territory. The lack of a "city effect" is felt above all by the elderly, due to age-related mobility problems, and by young people, in particular by adolescents, without adequate services and autonomous means of travel: all this has exacerbated the conditions of marginalization and phenomena such as early school leaving, integration difficulties and bullying;
2. create a new governance of the territory: the physical and landscape unity, as well as the strong economic homogeneity of the two territories require sharing the management of services and economic and territorial planning, in order to deal more effectively with problems such as aging of the population, insufficient childcare services, lack of local support structures and support for the local economy;
3. create a unitary system of services and mobility networks: the goal is to make the areas and architectural emergencies of the two municipalities usable by the entire population and well connected, giving them a new urban and social value;
4. improve the quality and effectiveness of childcare services: the creation of a new nursery school and the renovation of the nursery school are planned;
5. create new services to the economy: the recovery of properties to be used for services for the foreign population is expected;
6. create an alternative soft mobility system: the footbridge over the Agna stream constitutes an important intervention for the physical overcoming of the stream bed that separates the two municipalities.
The Urban Innovation Project Montemurlo PIU Montale has been admitted, with decree of the Tuscany region n. 1762 of 7 April 2016 , at the merit assessment phase, following which a maximum number of 8 Urban Innovation Projects (PIU) were selected. PIU M + M (Montemurlo PIU Montale) was the ninth project in the ranking, therefore the first of the not admitted to the subsequent co-design phase. The Regional Council of Tuscany, with decision no. 5 of 5 June 2017 , presented to the Supervisory Committee a proposal to modify the text of the POR FESR 2014-2020, in the parts in which reference is made to a maximum of 8 Urban Innovation Projects (PIU) that can be financed. On 27 June 2017, the above changes to the Program were approved to increase the maximum number of PIUs that can be financed from 8 to 9 .
With resolution no. 824 of 31 July 2017, the Tuscan Regional Council has decided to proceed with the scrolling of the ranking, admitting to the co-design phase the PIU proposed by the Municipalities of Montemurlo and Montale.
Finally, on 28 May 2018 , the Program Agreement  was signed between the Tuscany Region, the Municipality of Montemurlo and the Municipality of Montale, for the implementation of the Urban Innovation Project (PIU) M + M (Montemurlo PIU Montale).< p> The financial resources allocated  to this Project, equal to Euro 2,186,592.90, are below the minimum threshold of the budget to be assigned to each PIU, equal to Euro 4,000,000.00. For this reason, the Regional Council  has undertaken to verify the availability of further resources from community, state or regional funds, in order to guarantee this minimum budget threshold to be assigned to PIU M + M. The Municipalities of Montemurlo and Montale have, in turn, ensured that they will commit the necessary resources to co-finance each PIU operation and, to this end, have recently signed a loan of approximately 2 million euros . & Nbsp ;
Overall, the funded projects are 7: & nbsp;
1. redevelopment of the central squares of Montale and the natural shopping center;
2. new Nerucci aggregation and multipurpose center in Montale and refurbishment of the appurtenant areas;
3. recovery of the former school of Novello, as the home of the economy;
4. new civic center of Montemurlo and redevelopment of the natural shopping center (Piazza Libertà and viability);
5. new civic center of Montemurlo and redevelopment of the natural shopping center (city center and roads);
6. construction of Morecci nursery;
7. Montemurlo-Montale cycle / pedestrian path and footbridge for crossing the Agna stream.
These projects must be carried out in accordance with the deadlines set out in the time schedule presented by the Municipalities in the application for funding. The first project to be carried out will be the redevelopment and completion of Piazza della Libertà, in the Municipality of Montemurlo: the start of the works is set for 3 October 2018. The Program Agreement signed between the Tuscany Region, the Municipality of Montemurlo and the Municipality of Montale identifies December 31, 2021 as the deadline for the conclusion of all PIU operations.
The Municipality of Montemurlo, on May 29, 2018, in Sala Banti, presented the seven projects that are part of the PIU M + M (Montemurlo PIU Montale). In this regard, the local press talks about a dream, which has become a reality for the Montemurlesi.
“ The dream of the new city center in the area of the former sports field in Via Rosselli is reality . The project that Montemurlo has been pursuing for thirty years takes shape; this is the Montemurlesi project, born from the indications received from citizens through the participatory process ".
Lorenzini, Mayor of Montemurlo declared:" Finally let's give a heart and a soul in Montemurlo and we create that city effect that we lack ".
The Mayor of Montale Betti also added:" I am very satisfied with the result achieved, this signature gives us a great opportunity to redevelop our urban center ".
" Compared to the initial idea that envisaged overall interventions between Montemurlo and Montale for 9 million euros, the project was downsized, without however losing sight of the priorities indicated by the citizens. The main objective was, in fact, to finally give the Montemurlesi a city center, a place of aggregation, identity and socialization through the use of the former sports field, closed for decades ". p>
Analysis and Lessons Learned
" Participatory processes are not simple arenas in which to form opinions and to define decisions, but are also places for individual and collective learning: through participatory processes the participants are offered the opportunity to broaden their knowledge and update themselves. Furthermore, they can refine "democratic skills" such as, for example, knowing how to listen and accept those who think differently, take into account the opinions of others, argue together, build consensus, develop a common point of view or even develop strategies for conflict resolution. The personal utility that derives from a refinement of one's social and communication skills can already represent a separate objective of participation.
In addition to contributing to the process of forming a political point of view, participatory processes also have to do with the empowerment of the participants, with the activation of civic commitment and mobilization in support of active participation in political life ".
In this perspective, the participatory path" Montemurlo designs its future ", has favored the creation of a shared vision, as well as a planning capacity coming from below, by all the citizens involved, with the common intention of enhancing their territory; this was possible, presumably, by creating or restoring a "sense of community", which made the participants more attentive, aware and also more active within the public sphere.
It is an important heritage of knowledge and experience, also in view of the future; not surprisingly, the renewal of urban planning tools, which became necessary following the Le Regional days 65/2014, took place with participatory methods. The new structural plan, adopted in 2017, is, in fact, the result of a participation process that again involved the citizens of the Municipality of Montemurlo. Specifically, the participatory process envisaged a series of meetings  with citizens and the possibility of providing contributions in paper form, by e-mail, or using an "interactive map of contributions", available online , where it was possible to insert one's own reports, having as reference the cartography and the photo area of the territory. As further participatory tools, a survey questionnaire on the perception of the inhabitants was also developed and a Guarantor of information and participation was appointed.
Finally, it should be emphasized that, with the participatory path "Montemurlo draws its future ", the municipal administration has been able to offer a positive response to the" participatory propensity "of the Montemurlo community, enhancing the potential of a critical and conscious participation in decision-making processes.
In this sense, decisive is was the support of the Regional Law on participation (Law 46/20017), which " is considered as one of the few examples in Italy and in many ways unique also in the international field, of legislation that seeks to introduce and test forms and innovative ways of citizens' participation in the processes of construction of public policies and collective choices. [...] The idea of participation that the law presupposes, therefore, is not that of a confused assemblyism, in which those who shout loudest prevail, but that which is expressed through a public confrontation between the different thesis, governed by shared procedures and rules, in search of a solution that is as common as possible; it is an idea of participation that does not nullify the responsibilities of politics and representative institutions, but acts to strengthen the quality, effectiveness and level of consensus of the decisions that it is still up to the institutions to take ”. & nbsp;
In light of these general purposes, it can be said that, with the participatory process "Montemurlo designs its future", the Administration has achieved an important objective: to enhance the "reserves" of "spirit civico "(still) present in the social fabric of Tuscany and, in particular, of the Municipality of Montemurlo.
See Also & nbsp;
References & nbsp;
 The art. 1, paragraph 1, of the Regional Law 65/2014: " dictates the rules for the government of the territory in order to guarantee the sustainable development of the activities with respect to the territorial transformations they induce also avoiding the new consumption of land, safeguard and enhancement of the territorial heritage understood as a common good and the equality of rights to the use and enjoyment of the same, respecting the needs and linked to the better quality of life of present and future generations ". < / p>
 Process financed with the support of Regional Law 46/2013: “ Regional public debate and promotion of participation in the development of regional and local policies ”.
 Department of the Civil Service, Summary of reported public consultation experiences , 9 March 2017; document available at the following address: http://open.gov.it/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Quadro-sintesi-raccolta-esparmi-v1.0.pdf [last accessed 27/08/2018]. p>
 See: https://www.lanazione.it/prato/cronaca/montemurlo-eldorado-del-lavoro-disoccupation-ferma-al-7-per-cento-1.1716738 [last accessed 08/15/2018].
 Source: Report of the public presentation of the itinerary, on Friday 16 October 2015, document available at the following address: http://open.toscana.it/web/montemurlo-disegna-il-suo-futuro/documenti
 See: In & amp; out, Quarterly information of the Municipality of Montemurlo, The dial ogo with citizens is the basis of good politics , Year XVII, number 2, December.
 See: In & amp; out, Quarterly information of the Municipality of Montemurlo, The municipal budget for 2010 , Year XV, number 1, May 2010.
 All the documentation relating to the budget estimates of the Municipality of Montemurlo is available at the following address: https://montemurlo.etrasparenza.it/pagina730_bilanci.html [last accessed 15/08/2018 ].
 Department of Civil Service, op. cit .
 Document available at the following address: http://open.toscana.it/web/montemurlo-disegna-il-suo-futuro/documenti
 Bobbio L., Pomatto G ., Models of citizen involvement in public choices , Report prepared on behalf of the Autonomous Province of Trento, as part of a research on the quality of democracy coordinated by Fabbrini S., October 2017.
 Nanz P., Fritsche M., Citizen participation: a handbook. Participatory methods: protagonists, opportunities and limits , Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, Bonn, 2010.
 Source: Final report “Montemurlo designs its future”, 10 June 2016, pp. 7-10.
 http://faccionotizia.gelocal.it/iltirreno/ Edizione-di-prato/montemurlo/2015/ 10/14 / montemurlo-designs-its-future-and-starts-the-participatory-process-of-pg1 /
 The design workshop on Tuesday 22 March 2016, relating to the hamlet of Oste, on the other hand, was held, again at 18, but in the Parish Hall of Oste, for obvious logistical reasons. & nbsp;
 Bobbio L., Pomatto G ., op . cit., p. 19.
 Nanz P., Fritsche M., op. cit. , p. 48.
 Source: First Design Laboratory Report : Wednesday 4 November 2015, pp. 1 and 4.
 Bobbio L., Pomatto G., op . cit., p. 20.
 Source: Final report “Montemurlo designs its future”, 10 June 2016, pp. 11-12.
 The participants had the following characteristics: 37% were between the ages of 50 and 64; 67% were male; 39% had a diploma as a qualification; as regards the workplace, 28.3% turned out to be a professional; all the participants were of Italian nationality, except one French citizen; 90% resided in the Municipality of Montemurlo; with regard to civic commitment, 33% did not belong to any type of organization.
 The Municipality of Montale had already carried out a participatory process, called "Let's design our square together", aimed precisely the design of a new center, in accordance with the Regional Law on participation number 69 of 2007.
 The POR FERS provides for a priority axis (Axis 6 - Urban), aimed at promoting social inclusion and the reduction of socio-economic discomfort in the urban area, through the enhancement of the regional settlement structure, promoting a balanced urban development, to be implemented through integrated interventions to improve social and educational services, the use of places of culture, energy efficiency , of public buildings and urban mobility. It establishes that the Axis 6 strategy is implemented through Urban Innovation Projects (PIU), as coordinated and integrated sets of interventions aimed at solving social, economic and environmental problems in the urban environment.
 See: Application for selection of the Urban Innovation Project (PIU) Montemurlo + Montale (M + M), submitted on 13/03/2018 to the Tuscany Region and to the Managing Authority of the POR FERS 2014-2020, Axis 6 Urban. Available at: http: //www.comune.montemurlo.po.it/pagina2784_progetto-di-in Tecnologia-urbana-mm-montemurlo-piu-montale.html [last accessed 15/08/2018].
 News available at the following address: http://www.regione.toscana.it/-/por-fesr-2014-220-bando-piu-i-progetti-ammessi-alla-valutation-di-merito < / a>
 Again with Decision no. 5 of 5 June 2017, the Regional Council of the Tuscany Region decided to use the savings deriving from the unreserved resources for the co-financing of the first eight PIU, equal to 2,186,592.90 euros, as a useful budget for the co-financing of the ninth PLUS in the ranking, pending the approval, by the Supervisory Committee of the ERDF ROP, of the amendment to the ROP in the part in which it envisaged funding a maximum number of PLUS 8.
 Source : Tuscany Region, Regional Offices Regional Council, extract from the session of 24/07/2017 (point N 3), resolution number 784 of 24/07/2017; document available at the following address: www.regione.toscana.it [last accessed 15/08/2018] .
 Decree of the Tuscany Region n. 105, of 13.06.2018, in the Official Bulletin of the Tuscany Region n. 25 of 20.06.2018.
 With Decision of the Council of the Tuscany Region number 824 of 2017.
 With the same Decision number 824 of 2017. P >
 Source: http: // www. comune.montemurlo.po.it/ archive10_notizie-e-comunicati 0_2284.html [last accessed 24/08/2018].
 Source: ibidem .
 Source: http: // met. city-metro.fi.it/news.aspx?n=269033 [last accessed 24/08/2018].
 Ibidem .
 Source: http: //www.comune .montemurlo.po.it / archive10_notizie-e-comunicati 0_2284.html [last accessed 24/08/2018]. & nbsp;
 Nanz P., Fritsche M., < em> op. cit.,p. 50.
 Presentation of 29 June 2016; meeting 1 March 2017 - the territorial heritage; meeting 8 March 2017 - Montemurlo capital; meeting 15 March 2017 - Bagnolo; Meeting March 22, 2017 - Host; meeting 18 December 2017 - Adoption of the new Structural Plan; Presentation 25 June 2017 - New Structural Plan, Operational Plan.
 The interactive map of contributions is available at the following address: http://montemurlo.ldpgis.it/contributi_gmaps/index.php [last accessed 28/08/2018].
 Report accompanying the law proposal " Regional Public Debate and promotion of participation in the elaboration of local and regional policies ", text available at the following address: http://www.regione.toscana.it/-/approvata-la-nuova-legge-regionale-sulla -participation [last accessed 28/08/2018] .ase_body_placeholder
· http://open.toscana.it/web/montemurlo-disegna-il-suo-futuro/home < / a>
· https://www.lanazione.it/prato/cronaca/montemurlo-eldorado-del-lavoro-disoccupation-ferma-al-7-per-cento-1.1716738< p> https://montemurlo.etrasparenza.it/pagina730_bilanci.html < p> · http://faccionotizia.gelocal.it/iltirreno/ Edizione-di-prato/montemurlo/2015/10/14/montemurlo-disegna-il-suo -future-and-from-the-start-to-the-participatory-process-of-the-pg1 /
· http://www.comune.montemurlo.po.it/pagina2784_progetto-di-in Tecnologia-urbana-mm-montemurlo- più-montale.html
· http://www.regione.toscana.it/-/por-fesr-2014-220-bando-piu-i-progetti-ammessi- merit-evaluation
· http: / /www.comune.montemurlo.po.it/ archive10_notizie-e-comunicati 0_2284.html
· http://montemurlo.ldpgis.it/contr ibuti_gmaps / index.php
Most of the information contained in this item comes from information material, reports and the final report by the company Cantieri Animati of Florence, as well as from the news disseminated by local online newspapers and institutional websites.
All images credit: Open Toscana https://goo.gl/a3sff6