Sandra Bonfiglioli


The article addresses the case of the project of transforming the stores in Corso Libertà, in the historic centre of Bolzano (Italy), into a Natural Mall (Centro Commerciale Naturale – CCN) and analyses the participatory technique called co-planning and the government’s strategy of public/private partnership. This successful case represents a practical example of participatory governance, able to make the territory more attractive and sustainable, by transforming the geographical proximity of several businesses into a collective enterprise for the management of business development. This is a process that starts with the creation of the partnership and finishes with the realization of a Statute for business development.

The project arose from the need to change the individual management of businesses affected by the crisis of 2007, which are located in a historic area that despite having many qualities was quite unattractive. Three trade associations proposed a partnership to the Municipality that, in 2011, started an extensive renovation project of the area as part of the new master plan of the city, deciding to enhance the human resources of the territory and use the philosophy of public action, experimented in 1992 in the co-planned management of the Piano dei Tempi (Time Plan).

“Co-planning together” is both a philosophy as well as a technique that acts according to the logic of the territory, but is it an approach replicable in other regions of the world? There are reasons to believe it is. Since the ‘80s in Europe the toolbox for urban planning has changed, including in the territorial scale of planning interventions.  But action in a territory does not necessarily follow a logic of the territory understood as the appropriate space for addressing an urban problem. Territory, as a planning concept, includes the dimension of historical time and is a historical habitat configuration. This doctrine of urban space and time was born in Italy as part of the women’s movement at the end of the ‘80s and included issues of family, children and jobs, putting the quality of life in the centre of the urban transformation. The initial practice of enhancing human relations of the local territory became the general logic of the approach to the project, sensitive to women’s culture and daily practices of living. This is a project of transformation of the territories of the world, in the spirit of the UN Agenda 2030, that can potentially enhance the value the special and complex competence of women, opening spaces for action that go beyond the domestic sphere, to care of the world for a material and cultural development of living beings.


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territory; inclusive governance; co-planning, urban planning

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