A participatory design workshop was used for the drafting of strategic guidelines for the development of the Camerino reconstruction plan after the 2016 earthquake.
Problems and Purpose
At the foundation of the Camerino Reconstruction Workshop (Workshop Ricostruzione Camerino, WSR) project, there is the idea that reconstruction (after an earthquake) can prove to be an opportunity for relaunch, development, and growth, for improvement and not simply going back to "as it was before".
This strategy also rests on the need to involve the inhabitants in a concrete way, calling them to take part in a path of true co-planning that redefines the future of the city.
Background History and Context
Mario Cucinella Architects (MC A) and School of Sustainability (SOS) were called by the Commissioner for Reconstruction, Vasco Errani, and by the mayor of Camerino, Gianluca Pasqui, to elaborate strategic guidelines for the reconstruction of Camerino after the 2016 earthquake. The MC A studio was also involved following the 2012 Emilia earthquake, creating several public buildings. It is likely that his approach on that occasion was appreciated by Errani and was re-proposed once Errani was appointed Commissioner for Reconstruction after the 2016 Central Italy earthquake.
Camerino is a mountain town (661 meters above sea level) with 6,800 inhabitants, in the Marche Apennines, in the province of Macerata and home to a university. After the earthquake, the historic center of Camerino was declared an inaccessible red zone.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
Extraordinary Commissioner for the 2016 Earthquake Reconstruction: Vasco Errani. The Commissioner, reporting directly to the Prime Minister, acted in coordination with the State Administrations, the presidents of the regions affected by the earthquake and the Mayors, as well as in close contact with the National Anti-Corruption Authority. They work to define plans, programs, and resources needed to rebuild public and private buildings and infrastructure. It is clear that Errani entrusted the task to MCA  but it is not known how this happened and what contribution was paid.
The Municipality of Camerino was one of the areas most affected by the 2016 earthquake and owner of the reconstruction plan.
MC A (Mario Cucinella Architects) is a highly qualified and articulated architectural firm, with a visionary approach to design (especially of individual buildings), and post-earthquake reconstruction plans (Emilia-Romagna and Camerino). They are innovative because through the School of Sustainability (SOS) that it hosts in its headquarters in Bologna, the firm integrates training with its design activity, thereby opening stimulating and confrontational discussions to nourish the project with new points of view (in particular local) provided by students (already graduates in architecture generally). For Camerino, they took care of the management, the overall strategy, and the architectural/building component of the project.
Ascolto Attivo SrL is a Milan-based company that elaborates and develops processes of participatory planning, creative conflict management, decision-making facilitation, and mediation. Its founder is the well-known anthropologist Marianella Sclavi (former professor of urban ethnography at Milan Polytechnic). For MC A, he took care of the participatory workshops and provided consultation for the overall strategic component and assisted at some institutional discussions. There is no data on the remuneration for this assignment.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
A press conference to start the project (7/4/17, COC Camerino) involved Vasco Errani (Commissioner for Reconstruction); the mayor Pasqui; the architect Cucinella; the president of the Marche Region L. Ceriscioli, Mons.Brugnaro; the president of the School of Architecture of UNICAM - University of Camerino, G. Losco; the Regional Superintendent of Fine Arts C. Birrozzi; and the president of the Montana Union of Camerino, A. Gentilucci.
Inspection in the historic center (16, 17, 18/5, Historic center of Camerino): Accompanied by the architect, Bondanelli (external collaborator) the Workshop-SOS staff (6 students) was authorized to enter the red zone of Camerino for the mapping of the buildings, their safety status, accessibility of the routes, surveys, etc.
Presentation of the Reconstruction Workshop (WSR) to the population (19/5, City Park , Camerino): The City Park is a tensile structure of 2,000 square meters which was inaugurated on 29/1/17 and houses about thirty shops/commercial activities. There are also various gazebos outside which add another 20 activities . The WSR group positioned itself at the entrance, displaying maps of the work carried out. Passersby could get involved, getting to know the group and providing information on where they lived or live, and where they would like to live. About 30 people were involved .
Internal review of the work (6/6, Studio MC A, Bologna): The WSR team, under the supervision of architect Mario Cucinella, carried out an internal review of the research work of the strategic document for the reconstruction of Camerino. The architect Paolo Tombesi, the sociologist Marianella Sclavi, and the architects Consuelo Nava, Alessio Battistella, Michele Bondanelli and Laura Lee contributed to the team, with a critical and constructive evaluation of the work done.
Participatory planning (16/6/17, City Park Camerino): It took place in an open space, with gazebos in front that served as the backstage, and it is estimated that there were about 50 people in a hemicycle over several rows. During the day, an inspection was also carried out in the historic center. People were interviewed by the facilitators (two from Ascolto Attivo SrL, the SOS student group) who reported the participants' interventions on the posters.
Two planning meetings (20-21 / 6, Rocca Borgesca, Camerino) with the "population". The space was outdoors in a park in a panoramic position. It is not specified how the advertising took place. The meetings were facilitated by A. Bertello and S. Lattuille (Ascolto Attivo SrL). From the photos, it is estimated that about 40-50 people participated, while in the return presentation, about 80 people are estimated.
For the last participation meeting (26/6/17, Rocca Borgesca, Camerino), unlike the previous one, there was a poster advertising the event (with aperitif).
Summer seminar on “The sense of Italy for the future” (7-8 / 7/17, Treia - MC): An initiative of the Symbola Association hosted the WSR group and illustrated the work for the reconstruction of Camerino. It is unknown who participated.
Presentation of the work (restricted) (21/7, Studio MC A, Bologna). SOS presented the work that was done in the presence of Commissioner Errani and Mayor Pasqui. The studio staff (including Cucinella), external collaborators, and international guests as expert reviewers were present: Cathrine Harrington, Senior Project Architect Architype, London; Eike Roswag-Klinge, Architect, ZRS Architekten Ingenieure, Berlin; Brian Ford, Architect, Prof Emeritus, Uni Nottingham; Massimo Imparato, Architect, Assistant Professor, Canadian University of Dubai. 
Delivery of the document and presentation of the work (in private) to Mayor Pasqui (6/9/17, COC Camerino): The WSR group with the architect Cucinella, accompanied by consultants (A. Bertello di Ascolto Attivo and the architect Bondanelli, expert in reconstruction), handed over the "Strategic document of guidelines for the post-earthquake reconstruction of the city and its territories" and gave an on-screen presentation.  The disposition of about 8-9 participants was circular.
Presentation at Summer School (17/9, L'Aquila): A representative of the WSR Camerino group and the arch. Ruini of the MC A studio presented the work that was done at the "9th International Summer School Awareness and Responsibility of Environmental Risk", a school of high specialization for students and professionals in terms of knowledge and prevention of environmental risks. 
Presentation of the document to local authorities and actors (19/9, COC Camerino): Cucinella and a representative of the WSR presented the document to an audience of entities and actors in the Camerino area: mayor and council, Vice-Chancellor of Unicam, Director of the Faculty of Architecture, President of the Province of Macerata, Archbishop of Camerino, official of the Special Office for Reconstruction, Councillor of the Marche Region, Mibact Officer, Superintendent of Architectural Heritage, and President of Cotram.
Seminar on "Participating in reconstruction to enhance territorial identities" (13/10/17, Acquasanta — AP): The WSR group reported with a targeted intervention. The event was organized by the Municipality of Acquasanta, one of the municipalities that belongs to the Cratere dei Comuni, Ordine degli Architetti di Ascoli Piceno, l’ass.ne Architetti in Azione (Crater of the Municipalities, Order of Architects of Ascoli Piceno, Architects in Action Association). 
Open City Council (17/10/17, COC Camerino). Following some questions by the minority councillors, an open City Council was organized in which the mayor and the council questioned the WSR group on the strategic document, in order to inform the Council and the population present. 
First operational meeting of the working table (23/10/17, COC Camerino): The WSR plus Ascolto Attivo group convened the bodies involved in the drafting of the Strategic Plan to review the contents of the project and plan the public presentation.
Reconstruction = Participation (31/10/17, 18:00, Benedetto XIII Auditorium, Camerino): A public meeting for the presentation of the strategic guideline document for the reconstruction of Camerino was held. The meeting was advertised with playbills and posters. Arch. Cucinella, the WSR group and Ascolto Attivo presented the work to the general public. From the photos, it is estimated more than a hundred people attended. 
Work in progress (Nov-Dec 2017, Ancona, Camerino): In November and December, the MC A team with Ascolto Attivo SrL carried out the study phase of the scenarios related to the implementation planning for the Post-Earthquake Reconstruction, organizing some technical work tables. In particular, in November, a meeting was held at the headquarters of the Marche Region with the Special Office for Reconstruction Ancona-Macerata and in December, a meeting occurred with the Town Planning Office of the Municipality of Camerino to provide technical support.
Accompanying communication: A wordpress site was activated after the first press conference to launch the WSR project. In the static pages, there are all the plans and in the dynamic ones (articles), there are the various appointments and short reports. Synthetic reports have been made of the participatory meetings organized by Ascolto Attivo but the number of participants is not given. The WSR team also made a short video presentation and overall report of the project, which was put online on 29/10/17 .
Methods and Tools Used
Inspections and open meetings (outreach) - This involves going to frequented places, passing through (in this case, it was the entrance to the temporary shopping centre) to spontaneously approach passers-by in order to: be recognized and make the project known, get quick information, provide illustrative material, and test the interest in participating in future meetings.
Laboratories/workshops - These are facilitated meetings, similar to focus groups, in which public administration technicians and experts often also participate. They are aimed at the group elaboration of projects or design indications of various types. In the case of laboratories on reconstruction, large format maps and markers were used along with info-graphics, displays, and large sheets to write the proposals of the public.
Letters to a friend - A tool to enable the inhabitants of the Camerino community to express their desires about the future was to ask them to write a letter to a friend, imagining that they had returned to Camerino after a long period abroad, describing the scenario they found before their eyes. The activity continued the next day, with working groups and in-depth analysis on topics and doubts that emerged from the letters.
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
Approach to reconstruction
Since the first press conference (7/4/17), the architect Cucinella made his vision and approach known in a very direct and clear way.
- The earthquake is an undesirable event but it can be an opportunity for development, to rebuild in a different way what was before and improve it.
- It is necessary to identify priorities in a participatory way, starting from the wishes and needs of the inhabitants.
- It is necessary to define the contexts and urban units from which to resume building or restoring, creating centres of aggregation and development opportunities.
There seems to have been unanimous consensus on this approach but only because no critical feedback can be detected.
After the inspection for the mapping of the historic center/red zone, on 5/19, the WSR group approached the passers-by at the entrance to the City Park. In addition to making the project known, they obtained information on the participatory consistency they could count on, precisely by asking people where they live now, where they lived, and where they would like to live in a few months. No reports are available on the data collected.
On 6/6 in the first internal audit meeting of the WSR working group with Cucinella and some of his staff, in Bologna, Marianella Sclavi of the company Ascolto Attivo also joined to provide its support to the participatory process.
A first dialogic meeting almost as an assembly took place at the City Park, where the concepts and syntheses were written on large sheets in front of the public. The blog stated that the participants “contributed constructively to define the mission for the project”. From what can be seen in the photos, there must have been an open discussion about the "future in progress" (the changes that can already be imagined today compared to real or perceived actions in progress) and the "desirable future". The results obtained were used to prepare the subsequent workshops and stimulate the curiosity of the community.
In the second participatory meeting with the population (20-21/6, Rocca Borgesca), "visioning" activities were carried out, on what participants desired for Camerino. Through the instrument of the letter to a friend, each participant expressed feelings and desires towards what was left and how they would modify it. From the available report, there were 8 letters returned. Reported in original calligraphy, synthetic concepts are highlighted inside circles of different sizes, probably based on the times they are mentioned: e.g. on a big scale, there is “Demolished the court”, “Less dense center”, “Green spaces and squares” and “Underground parking lots”; while smaller are ideas such as "scientific pole", "many pedestrian accesses", and"usable botanical garden". In addition to the letters, the discussions were organized in working groups with maps of the urban units. The purpose was to select priority places for the start of the project and outline the character of the reconstructed Camerino. Through the maps showing the perimeters of the urban units built by the WSR group, participants were asked to indicate the type of property, the owner and any tenants, and the changes to the initial perimeters. In the contents:
- Various demolition interventions were requested: the former court, the tower of the ex-casa delascio, the high schools; greater rationalization, opening gates and spaces towards the exterior, overlooking the surrounding landscape.
- A second theme concerned the ancient walls and accessibility to the historic center. This included interventions to organize the paths of the walkways and among the ruins, the possibility of using underground paths of public buildings; or the securing and seismic adaptation of buildings that are along escape routes.
- Mobility included various aspects, e.g. instead of high schools, a parking space; inside the historic center, one might want electric mobility, equipped paths for the enhancement of the landscape and a buffer zone just outside the walls, etc.
- On social life: its quality is expected to reverse the depopulation trend already underway before the earthquake; Camerino is not used to entrepreneurship so it is necessary to understand with whom and with what resources to make the city attractive, how to make the apartments in the historic center return to life, etc.
- What are or can be the resources on which to focus for the rebirth of Camerino? Tourism. But a unifying brand is needed, there is a strong shortage of accommodation facilities and guides, communication plans are needed to make the events known, a multifunctional center is missing, to promote the city and its theater (e.g. by taking advantage of the dress rehearsals)
- The Camerino area is rich in resources but has been depopulated for years. There are cycle paths, partisans' paths, and naturalistic areas that should be enhanced. Between the old and the new center, one could "fill the big gaps" with functions that do not need to be in the center. The new self-sufficient campus towards Castelraimondo is losing that mix between students and residents that was typical of the historic center.
On 26/6, a third meeting at the Rocca park was dedicated to the verification of urban units and the reconstructive approach adopted by MC A. No reports are provided.
Several seminars (outside Camerino) of the WSR group followed, which were also a group of postgraduate students of the SOS school. In the seminars, exchanges with the outside world are certainly useful to better define the project, revise it and identify any errors.
Delivery of the project
The delivery phase of the work carried out was gradual and also participatory, but more formal. At first, a meeting was announced in Bologna with Errani and the mayor Pasqui which would not take place. On the same date (21/7, studio MC A, Bologna), an internal seminar was to be held to review the work carried out with international experts, while on 6/9 at the COC of Camerino, in a restricted meeting, the document of the reconstruction plan was delivered to the mayor of Camerino, G. Pasqui. Following the presentation, there was a comparison between the two but no report is given. On 17/10, the presentation of the plan took place in an open City Council requested by the minority councillors and on 23/10, a presentation with the entities involved in the project took place. The official public presentation was held on 31/10 at the Benedict XIII auditorium, together with the video of the WSR project and 28 illustrative slides (mainly maps and infographics).
In addition to the cards illustrating the route, among the products were:
- Manifesto of the Vision on the Camerino of the future
- A map with the main functions, recreational areas, university, management, institutional and civic hubs, museum, etc.
- The map of urban units before and after the process, with some minor changes.
- The reconstruction plan document with the strategies characterized by four pillars:
- Infrastructure: ensuring the reconstruction of the territory also according to the density and complementarity of the infrastructure (strengthening services and roads)
- Living: ensuring the redevelopment of the built-up area, temporary living and re-living.
- Safety: ensuring a high level of livability and safety, through the adaptation and anti-seismic improvement of the urban fabric, risk prevention, and emergency management.
- Resources: ensuring socio-economic recovery, development of economic infrastructures, enhancement of cultural and natural heritage.
10 operational actions were then identified for Camerino's Old Town (historical centre), the priority urban units from which to start the reconstruction. These included a new school complex just outside the walls, churches, squares, the new urban park close to the walls, and the theatre. These actions would also be activated in phases. The first map identified the entrances, the access routes, and the urban units on the borders of the center—that is, between the center and the walls, from which to start again. In the second, construction sites were increased and other urban units were connected. In the third, the symbolic places began to be connected and the units to the north would be fully usable. In the fourth, an accessible center was foreseen and could be traveled from north to south. Finally, the last phase involved the expectation of total use of the center and the optimization of its connections with other areas of the city. In the detail of each action, it is interesting that temporary and other long-term strategies are envisaged (e.g. Piazza Mazzini) .
This phase ended with technical meetings at the Region and the Town Office Planning of the Municipality of Camerino, the content of which is not given.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
Despite the public approvals and technical meetings (of which no reports are given), a formal decision of the Executive or Council on the plan is not detectable. The first operational meeting for the Camerino permanent reconstruction table was held on 11/15/2018 and the plan is not mentioned. There were no others after that. The demolitions seem to have restarted on 9/10/19 three years after the earthquake . No further progress is given.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
There has been no monitoring of the consequences of the process outcomes nor a communication linked to the plan. The transparency in general in the path was indirect, much left to the imagination of the public: neither detailed or descriptive reports of the plan, nor formal decisions are available. The final document itself, as provided, is a collection of maps with very little text. It probably wants to be a plan to be interpreted . In terms of inclusiveness, it included institutional authorities, public bodies, but did not include trade unions, businesses, associations, the disabled, or foreigners. Organizers mass recruited those who can move to City Park without other more direct modes of contact. The representativeness, especially with the final event, reached over 100 people.
 WSR - Workshop Ricostruzione Camerino, https://wsrcamerino.wordpress.com/ (rel. 10/31/17).
 WSR, Press conference of 7/4/17, COC (Centro Operativo Comunale / Municipal Operational Center), https://wsrcamerino.wordpress.com/2017/04/08/conferenza-stampa-7-4-2017/ (rel. 30/10/17).
 Orazi, M. (2017, January 29). Apre Camerino City Park, il centro commerciale in tenda. Cronache Maceratesi, https://www.cronachemaceratesi.it/2017/01/29...(release 31/10/17).
 WSR, Il processo partecipativo, 20/5/17, https://wsrcamerino.wordpress.com/2017/05/20/il-processo-partecipativo/ (rel. 31/10/17).
 WSR - Workshop Ricostruzione Camerino, I Nostri Articoli. https://wsrcamerino.wordpress.com/category/articoli/ (rel. 10/31/17).
 Biason, G. (2017, Oct 29). Terremoto di Camerino (Marche): ricostruzione. [Youtube video] https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=11&v=k1tC_0WjA-s
 WSR, Documents of the public presentation of 31/10/17, https://wsrcamerino.wordpress.com/2017/11/02/documenti-della-presentazione-pubblica-del-31-ottobre/ (release 2/11/19).
 M.O. (2019, Oct. 9). L’esercito inizia le demolizioni a tre anni dal terremoto, Cronache Maceratesi, https://www.cronachemaceratesi.it/2019/10/09/lesercito-inizia-le-demolizioni-a-tre-anni-dal-terremoto/1309309/
 The data of the current resident population should also be interpreted, given that 4,000 residents with uninhabitable homes were found, without specifying where they currently live.