LED2LEAP 2020 - Bologna Team 3

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Area Eta Beta coop.soc.onlus
Place Via Scipione Dal Ferro, 4 – 40138 Bologna
Country Italy
Topics Cooperative - Sustainable life - Neighborhood
Author(s) Alessandro Dini - Alice Sabattini - Enrico Maria Scarponi - Xhorxhina Metohu - Alice Riga - Rafael Jamie Salas Carretero

Landscape Democracy Rationale

  • This community is a challenge for the metropolitan city of Bologna, which has been buried behind little publicity or information.

Starting from the common principle that it is based on pillars:

  • man
  • health
  • creativity

The cooperative has developed trying to connect abandoned spaces, in disuse and degradation of the urban periphery.

Location and scope

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Phase A: Mapping your Community

Welcome to your community and its landscape

  • Eta Beta is a non-profit cooperative formed by President Juan Crous and 14 other members

to bring together all those people who have little voice in society in a community in the outskirts of Bologna.

Groups of actors and stakeholders in your community

  • The main actors of the community are groups of students, volunteers and families who cooperate in various initiatives.

These include several sensitive categories, which however do not interact with each other and exclude new points of view.

Relationships between your actors and groups

  • The community involves several groups for different activities:
  • cooperation to create objects that are sold inside the company's workshops
  • reuse of abandoned spaces through community work
  • sale and involvement of the neighborhood through events
  • contribute to feeling good, both physically and within society

Summary of your learnings from the transnational discussion panel on April 22

Since the presentation of phase A we have discovered new methods of thinking and development of international analyzes and ideas.

  • From the Dublin team we noticed that their method of analysis is very much geared towards the sustainability of the intervention.
  • From the Freising groups, on the other hand, we investigated new methods of graphing and analyzing the territory.

We were surprised by the diversification of representation.

Theory reflection

  • Interest in storytelling in planning has grown over the last two decades.
  • Focusing on storytelling possibilities helps us to see its as a model for planning, emphasizing the use of storytelling as a democratic, inclusive activity; one that offers space to a variety of actors, all with their own lived experiences and their emotions; one that enables actors to co-construct shared understandings of what their situation is and what can be done.
  • As Sandercock (2003a: 22) told us: ‘We need to understand the mechanisms of story, both in order to tell good stories ourselves, and to be more critical of the stories we have to listen to.’ As critical researchers, administrators, politicians, planners and citizens involved in planning, we should always ask for more than a single story.
  • Stories often get told after actors are confronted with or stumble upon new social and physical realities.
  • Storytellers do not necessarily come up with something totally new; rather, they comment, build or elaborate on the stories that are circulating. Stories and storytellers can suddenly enter the stage and gain momentum or lose their appeal because of the activities or events that interfere, or because of the reactions of important stakeholders or the general public. That is why it is useful for both practitioners and researchers to focus on the ongoing storytelling and not just try to reconstruct ‘the’ (conflicting) stories of a case as if they have been there all along.
  • And that is why we should see storytelling as a politically relevant planning activity only when the institutional design is flexible enough to really accommodate it.
  • It is the way in which stories are related and how storytelling relates to other activities that help us to understand the actual role of storytelling in planning practice and the value of the concept for planning.


Phase B: Democratic Landscape Analysis and Assessment

The Scene in your Story of Analysis

  • Our story begins with Arianna in the mitology, who tends her yarn to get Theseus out of the maze once he has killed the minotaur. With this reflection, we bring with us a guiding YARN into the history of the EtaBeta cooperative, which for twenty-seven years has been aiming at all those people who cannot get out of the maze.
  • Summing up, the stages of the cooperative moved from putting ideas in the center, to putting people themselves at the center.

The cooperative was born as an association of artists who participated independently and with private titles in the rehabilitation of people with social, mental and physical problems through various forms of art as music, painting, etc.

In 1993 synthetic drugs became a big problem in the city of Bologna and so the following physical and social problems related to their use, those situations marked the advance of a problem never faced before: AIDS and overdose, problems that didn’t see a real resolution until after the appearance of the first treatments in 2006.

In 1996, therefore, the OPEN SCHOOL project started, always centered on the development of personal art, the association moved from the city center toa rural area looking that people could reconcile with theirselves and increase their sensitivity to living in a healthy system.

This type of association, however, did not allow to be able to reintegrate people through work, so they moved to a type B non-profit cooperative (at the legislative level) to be able to hire these people in difficulty and give them a concrete development in their new life as a symbol of social rebirth.

The Actors in your Story of Analysis

  • In etabeta there are several actors, on first place they have people in economic difficulty where consigned social enterprise help these disadvantaged workers thanks to a certification of disadvantage, this certification must show to be greater than 40% to participate in the association. The objective in general is to increase the productive labor force.
Furthermore, ex-prisoners are also helped to reintegrate into society through training placements. 

Other actors are people with special needs because they are helped by educators and social services.

People with socio-mental problems are also trained to be able to work on the duality of health and mind that underlies the beta age.

Also the relationships between institutions and schools are maintained to create powerful working links, in fact people are lay off from work only when they create big problems within society because they try to keep the working relationship as stable as possible.

Finally, the craftsmanship is linked to durability, well-being and the development of the senses, and thanks to the search for unusual materials they create pieces of particular value.

The Story of Analysis

  • In 2006-2007 the etabeta social cooperative was officially born, and they immediately began to deal with the theme of handcraft that has the value of a kind therapy.

They are looking for noble, raw or natural materials such as glass, wood and other, for the creation of objects (lamps, glass plates, toys, box ecc ..)that are generally brought to the bottom WITHOUT AN ASSEMBLY CHAIN. Its a kind of war against the industrial productin where the human side is totally missing.

Later they participated in the cop25, the ONU Conference on Climate Change, with glass plates created by them

Reflect on your Story of Analysis

  • In the reflections we asked ourselves where the YARN will be led, and how others will intersect Etabeta’s YARN.

From phase A, therefore, we have deepened the unheard voices and, through an interview with the president of the cooperative, given them a way to be the subject of reflection

First we find the necessity of connection to other realities outside Bologna, this for greater cooperation beyond borders, but the most important yank will be stretched in favor of young people who, until now, have been little listened to and need to be integrated into the community.

During the Covid-19 emergency, in fact, young people are the key to help even during the pandemic, becoming an irreplaceable part of the cooperative, an unheeded call that will find space within the non-profit organization during the near future.

In conclusion, Etabeta can make sure to unroll new YARN for a greater connection, and to be able to help other realities get out of the maze.


Phase C: Collaborative Visioning and Goal Setting

The Scene in your Story of Visioning

  • Since the last meeting we have found a problem of popularity of the association, it is not well known, not even in its own city.

Our goal is to reconnect the fragmented places of etabeta with the city and people and we want to do it through four fundamental points: make connection, reorganization, events and sponsor. To make etabeta a visible connected part of the city.

The Actors in your Story of Visioning

The Story of Visioning

Reflect on your Story of Visioning

Phase D: Collaborative Design, Transformation and Planning

Your Prototyping Action

The Evolution of Your Prototyping Action

  • Our prototype gives way to create a network of interconnected actors who can exchange tips,

products, tutorials, videos and new ideas. The application is sponsored through social channels and when the actor enters it, he can customize his profile, view and be informed of new events, sponsor his products or purchase those of the cooperative.

The Plan Behind Your Prototyping Action

Action Plan defines how and in what steps all this can be configured and what the specific tools of the process can be. All this starts from the assumption that the cooperative, to date, already has several products and artistic forms developed and present that need to be expanded and brought into a more visible way on the market, such as dishes and table accessories, furniture, jewelry, and other products. .

The Realization of Your Prototyping Action

  • the decision-making process helps to understand what steps take place immediately after the prototype is made. To get to know and understand the new needs of the actors, a monthly event based on an informal dinner is set up which can help the cooperative to become familiar with the new actors and involve them in the decisions of the future through direct involvement.

During the dinner, blank cards are provided to each actor in order to express new ideas, vote for those present within the system and decide together on development and how to fit into the new reality.

the active process instead enters the physical dimension: after dinner and the decision-making process for the insertion of the actors, two new processes are activated: inserting the actors into EtaBeta providing it with a free (creative and available) space inside the Battirame Space as a laboratory, product display, meeting place and active participation. In the opposite way and immediately after this event, the actor can decide to host the products and therefore the EtaBeta exhibition within the company by receiving the related products for free. This climate of trust is consolidated when both these projects are realized.

Reflect on Your Prototyping Action

Phase E: Collaborative Evaluation and Future Agendas

Collaborative Evaluation and Landscape Democracy Reflection

  • Regarding our challenge, the visibility of EtaBeta was carried out through the achievement of the UN goals:

- 3: "good health and well-being" helping the well-being of the person giving him the purpose of being part of something bigger and being listened to

- 10: "reduced inequalities" bringing actors in social and psychological distress to regain possession of their lives

- 12: "responsible consumption and production" by recycling construction products, old objects or furniture to bring them back to life through craftsmanship

- 17: "partnership for the goals" bringing new players into the dimension of the UN goals and increasing awareness’'

  • Each actor in the process has brought something new and interesting to the development of the community, from the knowledge of the president, to the ideas of our team, the goal has not been changed at the base but has grown with us through the many processes of ideas.

The Actors in your Collaborative Evaluation

  • ’'we explored the etabeta dimension starting from who can be more involved in the cooperative. Our team therefore pushed the search for greater visibility through the connection and greater communication between groups of actors involved.

Before, the cooperative confronted itself privately or with the institutions in a private, anonymous and unilateral forum.

Now with the living lab, actors can talk to each other, express new ideas and opinions, obtain a community identity by involving

the neighborhood and neighboring companies. We therefore see ourselves as opera masters who try to orchestrate and give voice to the actors in a single organization that can interchange projects.

Reflection of the Online Seminar

  • ’'Working as a team in Covid times and also in post-Covid 19 was the most difficult challenge,

where our ideas were flattened by a screen that gave us the possibility of being always connected

but on the other hand it denied us the maximum expression of our ideas and optimal understanding of them.’'

Before covering a physical place, our theme concerns a community, a cooperative made up of people.

This was the main problem in facing the challenge: not being able to listen to them,

see or touch the reality in which we were interfacing.

Reflection of the Living Lab Process

  • ’'We are quite satisfied with the laboratory.

The goal seems to have been reached, and to be able to truly help this reality to grow.

The realization of the app, of the participatory event and of the new projects has led us to bring into play unexpected materials for us architects but has given us the opportunity to create an interaction and a network of actors who can take part in a new growing community .

If this goal on our part seems to have been achieved, an evaluation by the cooperative itself of our method would be nice and could be questioned again and carried forward together. To evaluate the process, in fact, we would like the application by telephone to be a tool for obtaining suggestions and changes to the process that we have devised through surveys and evaluations.’'

Your Living Lab Code of Conduct

  • ’’To ensure a code of conduct for the process and our democratic challenge, we have set ourselves as a cornerstone of the personal values shared within the team. These range from the moral to the collaborative level in a few selective shared keywords.

After this we then moved on to defining common objectives linked to previous moral choices. Our rules have therefore become slogans that concentrate our ideas for the democratic challenge in a concentrated way. By rearranging the rules, few and certain key concepts came out that if they were previously untied are now interconnected by the meaning of the words themselves:

  • listen to each group or individual
  • join the voices together and connect them in order not to leave them isolated
  • create as a rule to give life to all those ideas that can get out of the connection of the voices without letting them fall

Our challenge therefore opens and closes by putting the person or individual in the first place, who can get out of their personal labyrinth (situation of social or psychological distress) through the help of a thread stretched by other people and not only by institutions or associations.

Process Reflection

The limitation of the process of ideas on the computer often led our voices to be poorly understood or listened to by the rest of the group,

having a lot of difficulty explaining what the best moves or steps might be for the process.

If there had been a physical interaction and in closer contact, the process would certainly have been more able to respond to the needs of the community.

Furthermore, the fact that the laboratory takes place during the work or examination period limits the concentration on the topic continuously.

We have certainly learned that listening and trying to give shape to every idea requires a lot of time and patience but that the results can always be obtained satisfactorily and giving space to every voice.

We would like this method of approach to democratic challenges to become a book or a manual that can guide us in retrospect into other and new systems of local challenges, applicable to many areas and spaces of the city.

In the next labs we would like to see the same interest in creating a method before a result, but surely a visual and concrete interface would be more important.

The development of teams that can listen to each other is the part that we liked most, even if the discussion space was often limited by the presentation space.

We would therefore like a greater expression of ideas also from the teams, advice and a greater dialogue with the realities that we are going to face.