The goal of the transversal planning of the Parco Agricolo is to transition the area towards a coherent and inclusive development. The Parco Agricolo, as imagined by the local stakeholders, can function only if the different dimensions make complementary contributions, hence it is important that the plan is inclusive to all these dimensions.
The lead of the project was the Municipio Roma XIV. The team of the municipality was supported by BIC Lazio and OSMOS Transversal Planning, a spin-off from TURAS. A large number of stakeholders participated in the process, including a local NGO connected to the Parco Agricolo, regional policy makers, members of the local community, local businesses and academic researchers. The land owners of the Parco Agricolo, both public and private, also participated in the project.
Based on previous work by the Municipality of Roma XiV and local civil society, a process of stakeholder participation was initiated with the help of TURAS partners. This process is transversal, which means that it plans the transition of the Parco Agricolo to include the urbanistic, landscape, economic and agricultural dimensions.
The project concept was built on the experience of BIC Lazio in planning the I-Agri, an innovative agricultural incubator. The key idea of the Public-Private Partnership was inspired by the Community Interest Company (CIC) that is being developed in Barking Riverside. Elements of the method for Transversal Planning were developed by OSMOS through different projects in Brussels and elsewhere. All these elements and the representation of the local municipality in the project has brought the project higher up on the political agenda of the regional policy makers.
The project faced some obstacles related to the difficult negotiation of a public-private partnership between various partners. Moreover, this negotiation happens under uncertain political conditions as the regional and local elections can influence the process. The commitment of the regional policy-makers came at a later stage during the process. An earlier decision could have accelerated the process of establishing a public-private partnership, which would have developed the Parco Agricolo further as a substantial financial investment.
The political commitment of the local municipality was a crucial resource, especially the personal engagement of the local politician. The resources provided by TURAS were another factor for the advancement of the project. Also, existing local networks and civic movements related to the Parco Agricolo were essential so that the transversal planning process did not have to start from scratch but was built on a solid basis. The municipality provided the overall coordination and was supported by BIC Lazio and the region of Rome for logistical and networking issues. OSMOS provided process support. TURAS contributed with financial resources to develop the process.
The project received a huge opportunity to succeed, due to the presence, availability, and dedication of a local politician working for the municipality.
A vision document was produced that displays how the Parco Agricolo could develop in terms of governance, economic, agricultural and social development. The document also includes a roadmap for implementation. In addition, the participation of the local actors in the planning process can be measured as a result.
Parco Agricolo will benefit in the long run if it overcomes the obstacles and challenges such as the launching and constituting of the public-private company, which was inspired from the CIC in Barking Riverside. In addition, the project's sustainability on the long-term is visible in the function of the Parco Agricolo as a supplier of local, fresh and organic food -embedded in the Italian Kilometro Zero movement- that will depart from current unsustainable food consumption in an urban context.
The project and the concept of transversal planning process have brought many of the actors who shared the same interest together and raised the expectations that the huge potential of Parco Agricolo can be realized. Without this project, fragmentation of actors would still be existing. The new phase towards implementation was perceived with enthusiasm especially with the vision document as part of the new phase.
"The external intervention to structure the process of transversal planning was very useful. It not only helped to improve the content of the project, but also helped to raise the expectations from the local stakeholders which led to a stronger, more constructive participation. But it is important to take into account that external help is only effective when there is a clear political commitment and manpower to implement the planning process."
Stephan Kampelmann, Researcher