Ideas in vertical is a participatory path, promoted by the Municipality of Casciana Terme Lari (Pisa), with urban regeneration objectives. The path aims to involve the community and local actors to identify the new functional destination of the “Skyscraper”, a disused property located in Perignano and a symbol of the crisis in the local furniture sector.
Problems and purpose
Promoted by the Municipality of Casciana Terme Lari, with urban regeneration objectives, the expected result is the identification of a new functional destination for the "Skyscraper", a disused building located in Perignano (hamlet and industrial area of Cascina), symbol of crisis in the local furniture sector.
“Ideas in vertical aims to give new life to this abandoned building, which in terms of size, location and symbolic value, represents a potential for relaunching the entire district” (Link 1).
“The itinerary is part of the wider redevelopment project of the Via Livornese Est, the main development axis of the district and today a symbol of the socio-economic difficulties of the area” (Link 1).
The stages of the project are (Link 1):
- Establishment of the control room to share the direction and development of the project with the promoters, offices and other subjects considered strategic. The involvement of the various municipal sectors, combined with the constant monitoring of the development of the path, will allow to fine-tune and evaluate step by step the adoption of the most appropriate administrative tools for the implementation of the solutions and experiences that the path itself will bring out.
- Mapping of the actors and listening to the needs to identify priorities in the intended use for the redevelopment of the disused building involving stakeholders (representatives of schools, local associations of various types, aggregative and entrepreneurial realities), privileged witnesses and citizens of the area to draw together a picture of needs and proposals.
- Inspiration to involve actors and citizens in a moment of knowledge and discussion on the most innovative themes and experiences in the field of reuse and regeneration of disused urban containers.
- Co-design to identify and share ideas and interventions for the regeneration and reuse of space through facilitated workshops, based on the themes emerging from the mapping of actors and needs and inspired by the public meeting.
- Public restitution of the project results to citizens and collect suggestions and indications both publicly and online.
History and background context
The Municipality of Casciana Terme Lari has a territory characterized by 2 main centers, Casciana Terme and Lari, and by several hamlets scattered in the southern plain of Pisa. Perignano is one of these, the most populous and the one where the artisan and commercial area is located, almost exclusively oriented towards furnishing. Between Perignano and Ponsacco, the neighboring municipality, there are various activities in the wood and furniture sector, which have been in severe crisis in recent years. The site in question is located in via Livornese Est, the so-called “street of exhibitions”; the provincial road between Perignano and Ponsacco is in fact a sort of furnishing exhibition gallery, many major international brands, other local ones, have their own exhibition shed in that stretch of road.
"The economic crisis of the last decade has had serious repercussions on the various components of the production system of the Municipality of Ponsacco and neighboring areas - explain from the Municipality - hitting transversally crafts, industry, young people and investments and accentuating the disparities with other territories that have reacted better to the crisis. [...] In particular, the furniture and furnishings sector was hitrgb (0, 0, 0); "> which for a long time represented a cornerstone of the local economy. A progressive fall in the added value produced and in turnover, aggravated by the decrease in the domestic market, no longer offset by exports, which then extended to the negative employment dynamics ". 
The building in neglect for years, called "the Perignano skyscraper" is located above an exhibition shed and also contained commercial showroom exhibitions in the past, and has become the symbol of the crisis in the wood, furniture and furnishings sector, once flourishing in the Valdera area. For the mayor, redeveloping a building that is a symbol of decay can also become a tool to relaunch the entire sector, making it a place to create innovation. In 2018 the mayor presented the project to the call for the participation of the Tuscany Region, with the support of Sociolab experts, managing to obtain support and funding. 
Organization, support and financing
Tuscany Region - Regional Council is the governance body that oversees (legislates), finances and designates the 3 members of the Regional Authority for the guarantee and promotion of participation (APP).
Regional Authority for the guarantee and promotion of participation (APP), established with the regional law 46/2013, has the task of promoting the participation of citizens in the construction processes of regional and local policies. Index periodic public calls to support participatory processes in the regional territory. In this case the contribution paid is not given.
Municipality of Casciana Terme Lari, is the promoter, beneficiary of regional funding for the participatory project and referent of the overall intervention, for the redevelopment of via Livornese under its responsibility.
Sociolab is a cooperative company founded by a group of young researchers in Florence, in 2007, in a garage. Today it has a welcoming office where 7 partners and many collaborators work. He oversaw the planning and management of the process. The remuneration obtained is not given.
The building is privately owned but is never named.
Recruitment and selection of participants
- Control room , mapping and listening to needs. Definitely Municipality, Sociolab and Edra Spa (which hosted the meetings) but no reports are given on this activity.
- Notice for expression of interest in being part of the co-planning group . Communicated on 20/9/19 and expiring on 15/10, then extended to 30/10. The co-design phase was preceded by recruitment by public notice implicitly asking future participants for motivation and competence. "At Art. 2 - Subjects admitted to submit their candidacy - Public entities, private entities having a legal nature (i.e. companies, organizations, associations, higher education and training institutes, freelancers, etc ...) are allowed to submit their candidature - also in associated - and informal groups of individuals capable of expressing skills consistent with the subject matter of this Notice. 
- Inspirational event 40 people participated , including representatives of local authorities, companies and associations, professionals and citizens, as well as representatives of the municipal administration of Casciana Terme Lari. During the scheduled interventions, the following spoke: mayor of Casciana Mirko Terreni, Francesco Ranghiasci (Sociolab), Ludovica Cabib (Officine De Rolandi, Milan), Niccolò Mazzei (Edra SpA, Perignano, owner of the company that hosted the event), Andrea Di Benedetto (Technological Pole of Navacchio). Also referred to as a " launch meeting ", it is organized when the deadline for registering for the co-design laboratories is already over (see above).
- 2 co-design laboratories (Edra Spa, Perignano, 13 and 21/11/19), the presence of "administrative technicians, professionals, entrepreneurs, teachers, researchers, citizens" is declared but not the number or other information on participants. From the photos it is estimated the presence of about twenty people. They collaborated in 2 separate meetings, supported by 2-3 expert Sociolab facilitators.
- Public restitution meeting (Club hunters and cyclists, Piazza V. Veneto, Perignano, 2/12/19, 9 pm). Advertised with poster and social media, there are no scheduled interventions. No account of the meeting is given, nor images.
Methods and tools used
Crowdlab® is a method developed and patented by Sociolab. It is a reinterpretation of the classic conference, in which at the end of each expert's report, the participants, divided into small groups, elaborate and then submit questions to the same.
Co-design workshops. These are meetings that generally take place in focus group mode , in which participatory planning tools, maps, sheets, post-its, felt-tip pens, images are used to develop more or less complex projects in a group.
EASW® method (European Awareness Scenario Workshop). Initially conceived by the Danish Board of Technology then developed thanks to the Innovation program of the European Commission, it is a method of discussion in groups for homogeneous and plenary categories, participatory and partly negotiating at the same time. It takes 2-3 days to complete. In the first phase, the groups divided by homogeneous category (eg environmentalists, resident committees, furniture companies, orders and construction companies) identify the desired scenarios (even more than one) and shared and review them, also re-negotiating them, in plenary (therefore with the other groups). Once the collective scenario has been chosen, also with the help of experts and facilitators in a select committee, in the second phase the composition of the groups is reshuffled and the action plan is drawn up, with the most detailed description possible (cards are used common) of the actions / policies / innovations to be tested or implemented. In this case the precise composition of the groups is not declared. Initially, before the scenarios, all the participants in the plenary were asked to identify some themes on which to focus the discussion: 3 functions to be entrusted to the space. After that, the groups for each theme-function were formed and the project was defined. It therefore seems to have followed a different path (see below) from the EASW scheme.
What happened: process, interaction and participation ng>
September 2019 - Constitution of the Control Room, between the Municipality, Sociolab and Edra Spa, a successful company, present in the furniture sector, which has made its spaces available for holding the meetings. However, there are no reports relating to this listening phase.
20/9/19. The notice of expression of interest in the co-design is advertised online, on social media and on the poster, with a deadline extended to 15/10/19.
5/11/19. Inspirational event . It represents the first public meeting and is also called a “launch event”, it is open to all but is organized when the submission of applications for the co-design group is closed. The 3 privileged witnesses invited, selected by the control room, illustrate their successful innovative experiences and the audience, in small groups, elaborates questions to be submitted to the speaker. For example, the Officine De Rolandi in Milan, from an abandoned building, have once again hosted artisan workshops, "dividing the spaces of the sheds and creating events and activities for the whole neighborhood, even for children [...] To do this, we tried to create synergies, first of all through a strongly characterized shape of the space: the central area had to be an event space and also a large market ”. There have been problems related to the cadastral non-compliance of some spaces, but thanks to tenders for start-up financing, credit and public visibility, also due to the direct interest of the Milanese administration, the space opened in September 2018 and all the spaces have been rented. The questions of the groups concerned the energy characteristics of the building (which has no panels because it is not well oriented, but underfloor heating); common services (it has a website that showcases the activities it hosts); there are about twenty artisans and artists' ateliers, there are spaces for rent for parties, conferences, events. For Perignano it is necessary to see what activities could co-use the space and what synergy to develop. And so the other interventions mainly concern the local context and the potential of the furniture sector. For example, Mazzei moved from wooden furniture to upholstered furniture as early as the 1980s, and today it has created articles of international excellence. Edra his company, focuses on the Tuscan workers, on the artisan skills that are all located within 50 km from the headquarters. The questions are very personalized and try to get the owner to express his interest in investing in the skyscraper, and his answers make us understand positively. Di Benedetto, the last speaker, also goes back to the role that Edra can play, because there are 2 models: “with a leader like Edra, which creates a system of companies around it (Brembo model); or with a more horizontal approach, where a series of companies create a talent factory (H-Farm model). The second, however, is more complicated and takes more time. For the future of the skyscraper, art, business and continuing education would be needed. From the comparison it emerges that in Tuscany "very practical" short degrees should be developed, that politics can play a role of facilitator but has no money to invest, parochialism as a force of identity and not fear of the other, can help local development processes. However, the Regions finance and the example of Bollenti spiriti in Puglia, which financed many youth initiatives projects without many bureaucratic steps, is to be replicated. It is important that they are initiatives that start from the bottom, otherwise the game "is already a bit lost," says Di Benedetto. However, for training, demand must be encouraged with scholarships, for example, but training must be financed through the market. 
13 and 21/11/2019 Creative yard. 2 Co-design workshops.
First workshop. The entire working group met in plenary to bring out development directions on which to imagine the re-functionalization, coming to identify three functions on which to focus the intervention: These same three functions became the thematic areas of work for the next laboratory on scenarios:
style = "background-color: transparent; color: rgb (0, 0, 0);"> - enhancement of the territory and its tradition;
- business services.
Second laboratory . We moved on to the construction of shared scenarios. Divided into the three thematic sub-groups identified, the participants met to elaborate a shared project proposal, trying as much as possible to identify the necessary actions, including indications on roles and responsibilities. Specifically, each group followed an articulated discussion path for crucial questions to answer (title / slogan? What does it offer to the territory? Who should involve? What skills are needed? What characteristics should the space to host have?) And then presented their paper to the other groups in a plenary session of restitution.
3 proposals. In the end, we came up with 3 ideas: MAMob (Museum of Arts and Furniture), Restart (Multifunctional Competence Center); Artisan laboratory (training center that looks to the future in the home of wood craftsmanship).
The MAMob wants to be "a cultural center of national importance that starts from the industrial memory to offer culture, training and" inspiration. " A place for collecting and storing personal and company archives (machines, photos and memorabilia) on the industrial culture of the area. It wants to offer: cultural and tourist attraction, commercial relaunch, cohesion and rediscovery of a collective identity, training, new job opportunities, inspiration, business services. When setting up the building, the starting point is the ground floor, which represents the past (with museum, archive, auditorium and bookshop); on the first floor there is a multimedia space, where the participating companies can set up the virtual exhibition of their products, a representative room that can be reached after crossing the exhibition space; on the second floor there are rooms for theoretical training; on the third floor there is a "creative laboratory", therefore the future, where you can conceive ideas, relying on memory. A bar on the terrace.
The Restart idea is more oriented towards the advanced tertiary sector, business services and communication / marketing. The building could host an open space on the first floor for welcoming and building relationships; on the second of the business rooms, on the third a meeting room equipped for videoconferencing and projections.
The idea of the artisan laboratory is more oriented towards training to provide the territory with ad hoc human resources with hybrid training, which combine craftsmanship with knowledge of industrial processes. The building can flexibly contain an exhibition space, laboratory spaces, computer rooms, conference / event rooms, classrooms for frontal lessons.
In the job prospects, presented by the Mayor of Casciana Terme Lari, "having defined and shared functions for the Skyscraper is, however, only a first step, because it is clear that having worked with a focus on this structure must represent a trigger with the aim of carrying out a much broader project on the area. In the first place, it is necessary that this intervention take on an inter-municipal dimension, so from this stage we intend to start a dialogue with the other interested territories. It is then necessary to expand the network of public-private collaboration, which has represented a positive element of this experience: it is indispensable, in fact, that alongside the commitment of the Municipality there is that of local businesses in terms of proposals and responsibilities ”. 
2/12/19 rong style = "background-color: transparent; color: rgb (0, 0, 0);"> Return results . On that occasion, the results were presented but no report or photo of the meeting is available. The return document with the results of the course was uploaded on 27/3/20 on the site, 4 months later.
Influence, results and effects
The process delivers the qualified results, which required the participants several hours of effort, probably free of charge, but their names and any qualifications do not appear. The path is in fact a starting point, in a very embryonic phase, which could have been less detailed and required less time for the participants.
Analysis and lessons learned
On transparency lacking in many ways, in addition to the regional financial statements and remuneration, there were no some accounts, eg the list of members of the control room and his contacts in the listening phase. The context and how Mazzei's process and role was born is not clear. Strangely, the representative organizations of the sector and businesses in general do not appear. The sharing on the process does not seem to have taken place. The representation is low, 40 co-designers and an audience not specify the return does not support a project. The aim was perhaps to provide ideas and stimuli for local businesses, which however do not appear (apart from Edra). Furthermore, the property of the building does not appear and is never mentioned.
 Here news Valdera.it, Crisis of wood comes the regional councilor, 20/3/2017, https://www.quinewsvaldera.it/ponsacco-crisi-del-legno-arriva-lassessore-regionale.htm ( release 29/8/20).
 Esposito, S., Stop degradation for the skyscraper. Perignano, the municipality launches the urban regeneration project, 8/10/2019, https://open.toscana.it/documents/1257083/1354429/La+Nazione+-+08.10.2019.pdf/b057eff3-c001-4aa2- a1d2-bef399d8f585? t = 1570525448628 (release 29/8/20).
 Municipality of Casciana Terme Lari, Public notice, 20/09/19, https://open.toscana.it/documents/1257083/0/Proroga+-+AVVISO+PUBBLICO.pdf/53ef452e-f602-4cb1-b014 -4da7c761d2ae? T = 1571155136548 (release 8/29/20).
 Sociolab, Inspirational event report, 5/11/2019, https://open.toscana.it/documents/1257083/0/Idee+In+Verticale+Report+Evento+di+Ispiration+5+nov+ 2019.pdf / 6468b75d-cc10-beb4-31c6-9b699759c0ec? T = 1585309160585 (release 29/8/20).
t; color: rgb (0, 0, 0); ">  Sociolab, Return of the results of the course, (undated doc.) https://open.toscana.it/documents/1257083/0/Idee+in+ vertical + - + return + 02.12.2019.pdf / 781faa3f-df40-32e4-92c3-0f098f9b8185? t = 1585308783291 (release 29/8/20).
- Tuscany Region, Open Toscana, Vertical Ideas, https://open.toscana.it/web/idee-in-verticale (ril. 29/8/20).