A participatory process aimed to establish the Managing Entity of the Area Paesaggisticamente ed Ecologicamente Attrezzata (APPEA) (transl. Landscape and Ecologically Equipped Area) of the Municipality of Bitonto. The strategic objective was to convert to an APPEA according to current regional guidelines (4.4.2).
Problems and Purpose
The participatory process stems from the need to identify a managing entity for the Area Paesaggisticamente ed Ecologicamente Attrezzata (APPEA) (translated: Landscape and Ecologically Equipped Area) in Bitonto. The manager, together with the implementing bodies, would have to structure the redevelopment, coordinating its implementation and management. The participatory proposal therefore aims to guide the process of setting up the new Body which, through a defined program focused on specific objectives, can act with a view to improving the general environmental performance of the area. The recognition of a Managing Entity is particularly important in this process because it is destined to become the privileged interlocutor to share, identify, and implement the conversion strategies. The training of a person with adequate technical, organizational, economic, and legal skills is essential because they must have sufficiently flexible management power, possess legally recognized requirements and be able to guarantee the financing and implementation of the actions envisioned in the Environmental Program. The participatory process is therefore configured to analyze the responsibilities and tasks of the new Body, its characteristics and capabilities; and to evaluate the most suitable type of legal entity that can guide the correct drafting, implementation, monitoring and environmental management of the area. The strategy aims to obtain as a result the improvement of urban quality and quality of life in the selected area. The change of scenario induced by the implementation of the participatory project aimed to:
- generate greater awareness of the problems and potentialities of the area for the subjects directly or indirectly involved;
- promote a greater level of participation and shared planning between participants of the most suitable strategies for achieving the set objectives;
- contribute to an improvement in the vital conditions of the area, its competitiveness and its management, adequately structured according to a schedule of operations headed by the Managing Body of the area.
Background History and Context
At the helm of the Puglia (Apulia) Region is Nicola Vendola, in his second term. For the elaboration of the Piano Paesaggistico Territoriale Regionale (PPTR) (translated: Regional Territorial Landscape Plan), Professor Emeritus Alberto Magnaghi (and some members of his research group), an expert in territorial planning, of the University of Florence was commissioned. Magnaghi is a prominent figure in the most culturally critical and politically active Italian academic world; engaged in protest movements from a young age, founder of the Network of the New Town Hall (2001-2011) and of the Territorialist School in 2011, he is a theorist of self-sustainable local development and participatory democracy.
The PPTR itself was elaborated through a participatory process and WebGIS tools. Published in February 2015, it provides for different ecological conversion / transition strategies of the settlements as well as for planning and decision-making.
The PPTR states that a plan is a "cultural event" as the transformations it induces are not measured only by their technical-normative cogency (in Puglia, not very effective, given a historical management and application deficit of planning), but also their impact on the cultures of the actors who produce the territory and landscape on a daily basis. According to the PPTR "[translated from the original Italian] the cultural context in which this plan takes place is a context in which planning is not the ordinary form of government of the territory. The efforts made by the current regional administration to mobilize Puglian society are essential to carry out the cultural transformation necessary to recognize the usefulness of planning territorial transformation of collective assets. On the other hand, the critical balance of the territory and contemporary landscape, developed in the context of the first seminar of the Scientific Committee (on the nature and role of regional landscape plans) did not spare the Regions where Planning has long been the method of governing the territory (for example, Emilia Romagna and Tuscany), showing the gap between the plans' content and the low quality urbanization outcomes actually produced. It was therefore assumed that Puglia cannot be treated as a "still insufficiently planned country" (that is, it must imitate and reach other models), but must find an original way, in the heart of its own self-reform based on the construction of a new "meridian thought" [the term is from the sociologist Franco Cassano], to the good governance of the territory." 
According to the PPTR, the search for this uniquely Puglian way of planning lies in a balance between two opposite trends :
- the first concerns the absence of a municipal historical culture and the continuation of a centralistic, exogenous and bureaucratic decision-making system since the early twentieth century, which has led to socio-economic dependence and lack of entrepreneurship in many sectors (from agriculture to the tertiary sector) and bureaucratic inertia of the administrative structure, accompanied by clientelist disbursement of large public funds. These elements would seem to point to a strongly authoritative plan of "command and control" being the most "culturally effective" way for the landscape, and the latest version of the Code of Cultural Heritage seems to allude to this, aiming at reinforcing the central state in the governance of landscape assets;
- on the other hand, there is widespread private anarcho-illegalism (but also public anarcho-government, few “general urban plans”) and a swarm of local intertwining of public and private interests aimed at renting
«These trends face the strong ethical tensions of a cosmopolitan intellectual class, an associative world, local administrators and, in part, entrepreneurs, who are strongly motivated to renew the local culture and the territory towards self-recognition of identity, re-appropriation of cultural, economic and political self-determination paths, and the enhancement of endogenous resources, including the landscape. These highly innovative subjects seem to suggest the way of building pacts and contracts is strongly rooted in the identity of the place and that particular interests can be recomposed in a framework of recognition of common goods such as the territory, the environment, and the landscape. These are values on which to base a different local development, overcoming illegalism, bureaucracy and dependence "from below". From this strongly disaggregated framework between centralistic-authoritarian impulses and civic tensions towards active citizenship, some strategic suggestions have been drawn for the "typology" of the Puglia (Apulia) Landscape Plan. These include making the plan capable of developing strong negotiation and participatory processes as a tool for construction of active citizenship, and at the same time, capable of defining a strong institutional framework of simplifying, clear rules, thereby establishing the preconditions for a process of valorisation of the territory from below». 
The strategic scenario of the plan consists of 12 objectives. Objective 11 is dedicated to the production areas and specific guidelines are dedicated to it:
«The recently built production areas are generally configured with characters of strong environmental, building, urban planning and landscape criticality. The common characteristics of craft and / or industrial areas, scattered sheds, warehouses are:
- prefabricated building structures of poor aesthetic quality, strongly approved and decontextualized;
- simplified urban systems with little or no presence of public spaces, services, street furniture, cycle and pedestrian paths;
- often improper and widespread locations in the territory (at the municipal level) which aggravate the problems of circulation, consumption of agricultural land, environmental and landscape degradation;
- scarce attention to the problem of energy saving and production, of the water cycle, of waste.
The PPTR tackles the problem of production structures in the area, setting itself the goal of reducing these criticalities by producing guidelines for Area Paesaggisticamente ed Ecologicamente Attrezzata (APPEA) (translated: Landscape and Ecologically Equipped Production Areas) which constitute an inclusive evolution of landscape issues, building quality and production issues of traditional APPEA». 
The guidelines indicate that «the municipalities, the provinces, the system areas, and the production districts will have to identify and register the productive buildings present in the territories and draw up a plan for the reconversion of the production areas, identifying the APPEA among the existing production areas. Furthermore, the larger production areas that may already have an internal area have been selected as a potentially convertible institutional figure, such as the ASI consortium, which may become the managing body of the conversion process during the implementation phase.
The redeveloped production areas will therefore define a new contemporary landscape that does not erase the historical sedimentations or the environmental and structural values of the territory, integrating with landscape mitigation and with the creation of the ecological network, as well as redeveloping the urban and architectural system of the areas. Relocations of areas deemed improper and non-convertible according to the parameters of the guidelines will have to converge over time towards these areas. Another distinctive element will be the concentration of new technologies for the production of alternative energies that will define a new skyline of the area; the choice of which alternative technologies to insert will be based on the recognition of the potential of the place: exposure to the sun, the degree of windiness, the production of waste materials from agricultural production or from production chains present in the APPEA. [...] The process will naturally have to be guided by the Region with application rules, incentives, technical aids, aimed at increasing the productive capacity of the settlements ».  The production area of the municipality of Bitonto falls within the areas convertible into APPEA.
In 2015, with the approval of the PPTR, Vendola's mandate also lapsed, followed by Emiliano (PD). The regional law on participation no. 28, approved in 2017 is one of Emiliano's priority objectives, with the portal "Puglia partecipa" as its showcase and the participation office its organizer.
Organization, Supporting, and Funding Entities
Puglia Region - Participation Office coordinates all the processes and activities to promote regional participation. It prepares the call for local authorities and manages applications from local authorities. A maximum of 20,000 euros is paid to each project. However, the applicant must contribute 20% to cover the total estimated costs. The requested / disbursed regional contribution is not reported and therefore the overall cost of the process is unknown.
Municipality of Bitonto is the holder of the decision concerning the drafting of the guidelines for the establishment of the manager of the APPEA.
Fablab Poliba Bitonto is an association founded in 2015 by the will of a group of friends who are passionate about technology and applied their skills to engineering, architecture, cultural heritage, and archeology. Their activities take place in a modern building in the artisan area of Bitonto, in Viale delle Nazioni, the same artisan area subject to the process. The meetings were hosted in its conference room. From 2017, it has assumed larger functions and dimensions, with the entrance of the Politecnico di Bari and the Municipality of Bitonto. Now it is a center equipped with computers, complex machines, and a library, where training, research, and experimentation of prototypes is carried out, but also where various professions exchange experiences and knowledge. This project involved professional architect, Nicola Parisi, and as facilitators, the architects Maritè Cuonzo, Federica Fiorio and Luca Savino. The methods of engagement and the amount of remuneration are not given.
Sponsoring partners included Figurano la Camera di Commercio di Bari (translated: The Bari Chamber of Commerce), the Comitato Zona Artigianale (transl. Artisan Area Committee), the Quarantadue Cooperative, the Argo Puglia Cooperative, the Ulixes Cooperative and Atech Srl (engineering services).
Participant Recruitment and Selection
26/7/19 Open Day for the new APPEA in Bitonto: participation and management. The poster depicted an ideal rendering of a new artisan area; this first meeting was to present the process, and was not explicitly open to all. The program listed:
- Presentation of the proposed conversion plan for the artisanal area;
- Analysis of the best practices present on the Italian territory;
- Stakeholder analysis;
- Presentation of work forums;
A communication plan is not available (e.g. whether billboard campaign or invitations via email or social media were used). 40 people and 9 representative actors are reported, but those representatives are only of the organizers and sponsors, not external actors. Deputy Mayor Rosa Calò presented institutional greetings.
13/12/19 The new APPEA Bitonto, participation and management. Conference on contents and methods of the participatory process. The program indicated: Institutional greetings from the Mayor of Bitonto, Michele Abbaticchio, and the Rector of Poliba, Francesco Cupertino; scheduled interventions by: Nicola Parisi (The project of the first APPEA in Puglia); Maritè Cuonzo and Luca Savino (Methods of the participatory process) and Federica Fiorio (Presentation of the working groups). 35 participants and 9 actors are reported (as in the previous meeting). The meetings would then take place in 6 thematic tables to merge into a final meeting. The following meetings would be announced on the Fablab website and by subscribing to a newsletter.
6 thematic tables
- 8/1/20 (from 17 to 20), 1st meeting of the thematic tables: Energy and Economy - Parallel meetings of the two thematic tables with two respective engineering experts, Ruggiero and Petruzzelli del Poliba. 20 total participants, same 9 actors.
- 10/1/20 (17-20), 1st meeting of the Water and Waste table and the Administration and Legal Aspects table - Parallel meetings of the two thematic tables with two respective experts: ing. Tricarico (Atech Srl) and lawyer Bonasia (Municipality of Bitonto). A total of 16 participants and the same starting actors are reported.
- 15/1/20 (17-20), 1st meeting of the tables, Architectural Quality of the Sector and Landscape Integration - Parallel meetings of the two thematic tables with 2 respective experts: arch. Parisi and arch. Annalinda Neglia from Poliba. 15 participants and the same starting actors are reported.
From the Fablab website, the program delivered to the participants showed the program in the 2nd meeting for each thematic table on the days of 17, 22 and 24 January respectively. However, on the website of "Puglia partecipa," there are no reports, however short the first ones, of these meetings.
29/2/20 (9:30 - 12:30). The new APPEA Bitonto, participation and management for the establishment of the manager of the area. On the program was the presentation and sharing with the participants of the final document regarding the guidelines, final debate, and signature. This meeting was coordinated by Puglisi; 30 participants were present and the same actors as before.
Methods and Tools Used
Stakeholder analysis. Participants were asked to write their status (citizen, company, freelancer, etc.) on a post-it and to place the post-it along a red line whose ends represented the opposite poles with respect to the change proposed with the APPEA. The diagram shows a "cloud" of positions positively oriented towards change. To deepen the deployment obtained, the participants were then asked to justify their position. The outcome of the discussion provided an interesting picture of the expectations of those present but also highlighted needs and fears regarding the proposed change. 
Focus groups are common ways to bring together a group of people and start a discussion with them around a desired theme. A moderator 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 comparison between different positions and reach an agreement. To facilitate the discussion, post-its, maps, and sheets may be used to allow those who are not comfortable speaking in public to express their opinions and those who have difficulty summarizing to reflect on the fundamental concepts they want to express. Generally, focus groups host 12-14 participants; in this case, there were 7-10, who were led by an expert in the disciplines / theme indicated in the program. Focus groups can also be conducted using specific tools (e.g. SWOT analysis, mind maps, etc.), including the GOPP used in this case.
GOPP (Goal-Oriented Project Planning). The method, as well as other approaches or tools inspired by the Logical Framework, was created in the 1960s from a set of techniques and tools developed as part of the planning activities of bodies and agencies dedicated to development cooperation. GOPP facilitates the planning and coordination of projects through a clear definition of objectives. It is part of an integrated approach called PCM (Project Cycle Management), disseminated in 1993 by the European Commission as a quality standard in the programming phases, management, and evaluation of complex initiatives. From an organizational point of view, a GOPP workshop involves about a dozen people, identified as among the key-players who have a crucial role in the success of a project, as well as a facilitator. GOPP workshops can last one or more more days. It is a methodology that makes extensive use of visualization techniques: large sheets of adhesive paper are used side by side on a wall and the participants, seated in a semicircle, write their suggestions on coloured cards according to the steps of the methodology (e.g. from analyzing problems to proposing solutions). Once these ideas have been inserted on the adhesive wall, they can be viewed by the whole group who can move or aggregate them as needed. The use of this technique can lead to strengthening communication and the convergence of working groups. It is particularly effective for analyzing problems, suggesting proposals, highlighting risks, and developing solutions in a relatively short time.  In this case, the following categories were displayed in the picture: keywords, criticalities, objectives, actions, and subjects. The arrows represented the connections between the various elements (see images above).
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
1. Information Phase
In the first phase, an Open Day was held in July with:
- first presentation of the process
- illustration of some best practices of ecologically equipped areas
- stakeholder analysis with the participants
Participants placed their post-its to indicate the category they felt they belonged to on the line of proposed change to the APPEA. However, it is not clear what the axes of the diagram in which the line was positioned corresponded to (see images). A discussion followed that brought out expectations, benefits, contributions, needs and fears related to the changes. For example, expectations included the following: "Every transformation avoids extinction," "Positive and exciting vision of our Artisan Area," and "Increase the university specializations." Fears included: "Low participation," "Functional consortium if it becomes a network", whether joining the consortium would be compulsory and concerns about who would be excluded. 
The presentation conference took place on December 13, 2019 in the presence of the relevant authorities; the participation program was illustrated as well as the objectives that the APPEA plan will have to achieve and the reconversion strategies proposed for the area:
- Unified management of infrastructure and services in the production area;
- Improvement of the quality and efficiency of common infrastructure;
- Control of environmental performance with reduction of impacts;
- Definition of a program of progressive requalification and conversion of the existing parts towards a unitary and ecologically equipped management of the area.
Born from the need to identify a Managing Entity of the area, the proposal for a participatory process was meant to guide the process of setting up the new Body, analyzing its responsibilities and tasks, characteristics and skills needed. The process was designed to explore the key themes of the APPEA in 6 thematic tables, each of which divided into two work sessions with which to gradually build a shared strategic vision on the area and on the most appropriate profile for a managing entity. The meetings were held following a common process: an expert would be specially invited to participate in introducing and contextualizing the specific theme of each table with the aid of key concepts relevant to the APPEA area. This first step was followed by analysis of the problems and criticalities that characterize the area today and on the subsequent transposition of the problems identified into sustainability objectives to be achieved. The second work session focused on identifying the activities to be undertaken to achieve the objectives outlined during the first meeting. This was followed by a final phase of identifying the actors involved in the identified activities and analyzing their role and skills for the topics, in particular as it relates to the managing entities. 
2. Operational phase
In January, 6 parallel thematic tables were held in two meetings each. The focus groups were led by an expert with the help of the GOPP tool. In addition to the stationery needed to conduct the GOPP, maps of the area were available. Of the contents that emerged, for example, the table led by Antonio Messeni Petruzzelli (Professor of Management Engineering at the Polytechnic of Bari) provided ideas for the creation of an economic management model of the Bitonto APPEA capable creating favourable conditions in economic, financial and administrative terms for companies already operating, as well as the establishment of new businesses. The inputs provided to the participants concerned the concepts of competitive advantage, digital transformation and open innovation, partners and partnerships, proximity relationships between companies, not only of a geographical nature but also of a technological and cognitive type. 
Each scheme reported in the final report was led to a synthesis by the group of facilitators in 3 areas (relational, technical-specialist, economic); "from the simultaneous comparison of the results of the thematic tables it is possible to identify recurring and transversal themes that represent the pillars of the project for the re-functionalization of the production area, as well as strategic objectives" relating to the three general themes.  For example, for the relational field, "there is a strong need to build a common vision of the APPEA through the creation of proximity relations between the established companies; the activation of public-private partnerships and above all [... ] a wise coordination by the Managing Authority who will have to respond to the need of companies to team up."  To achieve this goal it is important to improve communication and information between companies as well as between them and the external context: participants proposed the creation of an APPEA website, information panels, the promotion of a logo competition, and experimental pilot projects aimed at redeveloping the public spaces of the area. The need to build relationships is not restricted to the production area alone: in fact, the tables revealed a relational need between the area and the city, and the desire to build synergies with the city that allow the extension of use of the area to outside working hours, through the creation of meeting spaces and the promotion of territorial animation initiatives.  Finally, a relationship pattern was represented with new key actors (not involved in the process) and a multitude of actions that they, in addition to and thanks to the managing authority, in particular, will have to implement. 
3. Proposal phase
This phase, "focused on organizational governance for the unitary management of the Bitonto APPEA, was conceived as an open phase that does not end with the closure of the process but on the contrary relaunches it towards an implementation path."  Therefore this phase aimed to provide the Municipal Administration of Bitonto some strategic guidelines for the establishment of the Managing Entity of the APPEA; the signing of this document by the participants is almost a collaboration agreement between the companies to make the area redevelopment process fully operational. The manager must possess: managerial skills (i.e. leadership, technical, organizational, and legal skills, in order to direct and coordinate companies in the implementation of the environmental program); economic solidity and ability to find resources; deep knowledge of the territory, and competence in the productive areas of the APPEA. The manager will be responsible for coordinating the companies located in the area, providing them with information, and listening to their needs; promoting greater participation; mapping companies to foster close relationships between them; communication and marketing activities including creating a website, newsletter, and information panels in the area; equipping an area or place for product display; promoting competition for Appea logo ideas and for the design of common spaces; promoting and managing the adoption of green islands administrative management and creation of partnerships; creating a technical table with public / private management bodies (e.g. Enel); achieving better university involvement; stipulating agreements with companies for disposal; and performing the functions of the purchasing center.
From the participatory discussion it emerged that the profile that best corresponds to the tasks assigned to the Managing Authority of the Bitonto APPEA is represented by the mixed public-private company with a private majority. This company, with its own staff, may make use of external consultants and may resort to forms of collaboration with other subjects, universities, organizations, etc. The presence of the Municipal Administration, albeit in a minority share, appeared important for the management of activities in areas such as urban waste, road maintenance, urbanization works, but also to legitimize the decisions taken, verify the feasibility of choices, define measures of incentives that could concern both authorization procedures and technical standards. In fact, a need particularly felt by the participants concerned the need to implement non-bureaucratic governance in order to make the decision-making timing of companies more efficient and to strengthen their competitiveness with a view to environmental sustainability. To this end, on the basis of the results of this participatory process, the Municipality of Bitonto, the current Managing Authority of the area, may launch a public tender procedure for the collection of expressions of interest from groupings of companies, however named, to which to entrust the role as Managing Entity of the Bitonto APPEA, with which to stipulate a specific agreement. The types of legal entity possible for the Managing Authority are various and the choice of the most suitable profile must be fitting to the reality in which this entity is established and will have to operate; moreover, in orienting this choice, it is important to evaluate the type of unitary management services to be created in the area and the related costs. 
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
With the presentation of the Participatory Proposal Document dated 29/2/20, the process was completed. However, it does not emerge from the document which and how many subscriptions have been collected and how the open phase will continue, which was expected to lead to the actual establishment of the managing body. There are no references for updates or newsletters (which had already been activated during the process but are not reported here, and not even on the Fablab Bitonto site).
Analysis and Lessons Learned
The transparency of the process is lacking in particular with regard to the second meeting of the thematic tables, for which neither the appointments on the Puglia website nor minimal reports appear. The list of the actors involved has not actually been drawn up, except those who have joined as partners / sponsors. Regional contributions are not given, nor are the specific remuneration of conductors and experts involved. The representation is still very poor, especially without online participation. The first phase may have worked as a moment of sharing the path with the actors, but they were scarcely present, and their solicitation probably failed with adequate advertising.
There is no consistent follow-up to what is stated in the document, no feedback is given on the signing of the document and on the continuation of the process with an open phase for the definition of governance and the establishment of the managing body. In fact, there is no monitoring of the decision or references (subjects, tools) for the continuation of the path.
 Regione Puglia, Area politiche per l’ambiente, le reti e la qualità urbana, Servizio assetto del territorio, PPTR, Elaborato 1, Feb 2015, p. 2-3. http://paeso.regione.puglia.it/PPTR_2015/1_Relazione%20Generale/01_Relazione%20Generale.pdf (ril. 23/8/20).
 Regione Puglia, Area politiche per l’ambiente, le reti e la qualità urbana, Servizio assetto del territorio, PPTR, Linee guida (4.4.2) sulla progettazione di aree produttive paesaggisticamente ed ecologicamente attrezzate, Feb 2015, p. 12, http://paeso.regione.puglia.it/PPTR... (ril. 23/8/20).
 Regione Puglia, PPTR, Linee guida (4.4.2), P. 20.
 Puglia Region, Puglia participates, Appea Bitonto: partecipazione e gestione, https://partecipazione.regione.puglia.it/processes/APPEABitonto (ril. 23/8/20).
 Parisi et al., La nuova Appea Bitonto, Documento di proposta partecipata. Linee guida per la costituzione del Soggetto Gestore, doc. undated, p. 23-24, https://partecipazione.regione.puglia.it/uploads/decidim/attachment/file/548/APPEA_DCPP.pdf (ril. 23/8/20).
 Bussi, F., ILa progettazione integrata con il metodo GOPP, Progetto Gruppo SrL, 2008 teaching materials, http://partecipazione.formez.it/sites/all/files/progificazioneGOPP.pdf (ril. 23 / 8/20).
 Parisi et al., Doc. cit., p. 27.
 Parisi et al., P. 31.
 Parisi et al., P. 37.
 Parisi et al., P. 38.
 Parisi et al., P. 39.
 Parisi et al, p. 42.
 Parisi et al, p. 47.