LED2LEAP 2021 - Bologna Team 2

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Area Salus Space
Place Bologna
Country Italy
Topics Democracy, Landscape projectation, Sustainability, Coworking, Cohousing, Self production
Author(s) Bianca Mengozzi, Marco Palma, Stefano Tagliatti, Michael Venturelli
Logo salus.jpg

Landscape Democracy Rationale

  • People who live in an environment for a while, start to process their habits and know exactly what they need and they have to do, even to make internal decisions of complex organization. Our work has to be fulfilling of what they are engaging, and enhance their attitude and feeling of belonging of the space they're living; they already have a network quite autonomous towards the city, that maybe can be upgraded by our knowledge.

Location and Scope

Salus Space, Bologna

Loading map...

Phase A: Mapping Your Community

Welcome to Your Community and Their Landscape

The community of salus space is located in the Savena district, near the highway, the railroad and close to a retirement home. The complex is not yet the final one, in fact, in addition to the 20 apartments and the vegetable garden, a theater, a restaurant and some small shops will have to be completed. This newly born project of co-housing is funded by the European Union and the municipality of bologna, with the goals of zero waste, energy and economic independece.

Groups of Actors and Stakeholders in Your Community

The main actors are the inhabitants of the area, and this includes 4 types of different groups: students, families and singles, workers, immigrants, and refugees. There are diversified life experiences, age, nationality, actual working place, and past situation.

Other groups of actors, the so-called stakeholders, can be found in a very large scale of intervention; from a European organization to the local scale with the main association that leads the project. There is U.I.A. (Urban Innovative Actions), the Municipality of Bologna, the Waldensian church, ER-GO with the University of Bologna, SAI (System for Acceptance of Immigrants), ATS with Opengroup (Association Temporary of Sake), and last but not least, ETA BETA.

Right now, about half of the apartments are occupied, with an expected total number of inhabitants from 40 to 60 according to the desires and habits of each person in its apartment. 12 accommodations are available by public announcement

Relationships Between Your Actors and Groups

The community of inhabitants is still under construction and today only the 50% of the co-housing apartments are already assigned. In the next months new people will join the co-housing and will be included in the process, which means that the community-map is still un-complete, and other relevant actors may emerge in the future and the relations might change as well.

As described in the pictures, three different relations’ areas between groups have been identified: - Red circle: strong relation - Yellow circle: intermediate relation - Grey circle: weak relation.

The co-housing represents the main output of a European funded project. The consortium has already set the scene, designing the main activities, the monitoring indicators, and the expected outputs. Some of the partners have a stronger role in the project activities, and work on a daily base at Villa Salus. These organisations have the stronger relation with the inhabitants, which are supposed to became the main actors on the field.

Other actors potentially included in the process are the neighbourhood’s inhabitants, which are expected to benefit from the activities and at the same time contribute to develop them.

Summary of Your Learnings from the Transnational Discussion Panel

  • The first thing is to identify the need of the community and elaborate the right plan of interviewing the community, according to their possibilities, their behaviours, their identity. Talking to them in their home is a delicate process and has to be managed really carefully and wisely.

Theory Reflection

The definition of spaces is a fundamental part for the good life inside a community. But the architect designed the spaces without the active participation of the inhabitants. Furthermore, a part of these apartments is still uninhabited, probably due to the lack of propaganda and the difficulty of way of life of many people, who are not used to share spaces, stuffs and specially rights and duties.

As the European Landscape Convention said, the diversity of people with different cultural and landscape backgrounds is promoted. In the community differences help to have a complementarity of skills and resources. It tends to become a holistic welfare center, physical, economic, psychological, social. However, the slow mobility routes are not well developed and interconnected, unlike those of fast mobility, but is still inserted in a pleasant and protected surrounding.


  • Council of Europe, Landscape Convention Contribution to human rights, democracy and sustainable development, 2018
  • LED Team (2019):Landscape Education for Democracy (Chapters 1-3, InBo Special Issue)
  • Editors Shelley Egoz, Karsten Jørgensen, Deni Ruggeri (2018): Defining Landscape Democracy (introductory chapter)

Phase B: Democratic Landscape Analysis and Assessment

Marco Palma and Aurora Mihatov Correspondence

Stefano Tagliatti and Paola Modric Correspondence

Michael Venturelli, Yana Babakova, Wiktoria Kiedrowicz and Moussa Ouarhim Correspondence

Delete the boundaries! Be free and be yourself in your environment!

We had a tortuous start due to the difficulty and delay with which we felt, going from 2 to 4 in a few days. However, we managed to grasp everyone's ideas, somewhat broken, and to put them into a system in a sort of scheme that shows a flow of thoughts in constant evolution and deepening.

Bianca Mengozzi and Samira Shirzad Correspondence

Phase C: Collaborative Visioning and Goal Setting

The Scene in Your Story of Visioning

The scene that presents itself is that of a young community, somewhat isolated, both geographically and in part also socially and economically, which is slowly and progressively entering an articulated context such as that of the city of Bologna. Currently there are few inhabitants who populate this place but a conspicuous increase is planned through the renewal of the call for housing. This community seeks autonomy from the rest of the city, wanting to become a housing model for the future, in which collaboration, participation and socio-cultural and environmental sustainability wins. In this case, in fact, we speak of integration and even more of integration of the physical space of Salus and above all of its inhabitants in the city.

The Actors in Your Story of Visioning

Here too we introduce the main actors, who in our case are the inhabitants, unlike the first part of the design of the physical space of Salus in which people extraneous and external to the community and cohousing reality participated. It was important that the real actors, those directly involved, ie the inhabitants of Salus, were put first in the hierarchy of the decision-making process. Obviously all this would not have been possible without various stakeholders, such as the municipality, organizations and associations, and many other realities that have financed and finance the community, with non-repayable investments. The goal is not advertising for oneself but for Salus and the people who live there and who make its progression and evolution possible in the future.

The Story of Visioning

INTEGRATION and INCLUSION are the keywords that guided the goal and strategy development process. Mobility and accessibility, comfort inside and outside the home, visibility and advertising, participation and representation, quality and livability, these were the main themes studied and elaborated by us, trying to establish the pros and cons of each aspect, to be able to understand what could be improved and what not.

Reflect on Your Story of Visioning

Identifying individual goals was more laborious than expected because the realities to keep in the system are many, especially remembering the fact that the community we are dealing with is still quite fragmented and therefore more difficult to obtain more effective and concrete results, especially in a short time. The fact that they are not autonomous with respect to the municipal entity leads them to often have to put themselves back to limits and pre-set decisions of others, such as the evolution of spaces. We hope that they can get up with their legs and choose what is best for the place they live in, after all it is they who live there and they who carry on everything, not the designer, not the team who thought about their spaces but who then he did not fill them and did not live in them.

Phase D: Collaborative Design, Transformation and Planning

Your Prototyping Action

Our prototype is based on the real area of Salus Space in which we operate. A short introduction, such as a game play or a game setting of the game, had the intention and purpose of identifying the participants, before completing the questionnaire. In reality, of course, this will be facilitated by the fact that people are truly part of the community and therefore have lived, known and imagined those spaces for longer and more personally than we do.

The Evolution of Your Prototyping Action

Trying to grasp the diversity of the subjects that inhabit the community, each with its own specificities, we created these 5 archetypal profiles to introduce those who participated in the game to the cultural, social and ethnic mix of the Salus community.

The main objective is, in the reality of the action, to collect all possible information on the social, cultural, ethnic and behavioral characteristics of those who join the community, with what intention they want to live and stay there, also including some personal future perspective.

The Plan Behind Your Prototyping Action

Below are the questions and the consequent answers of our online survey, thanks to which we hope to take timely and efficient action with the community. (the real questionnaire is a bit broader and more in-depth).

Although it was just a quick simulation done with some students, hot topics emerged, quite crucial points were recognized for the enhancement of community life, and that we were needed to identify key points for the design of new spaces, which can intensely qualify this community space.

The Realization of Your Prototyping Action

We created an online questionnaire with a series of questions similar to those we then sent to the community; the answers collected in real time then allowed us to elaborate the ideogram scheme, using pre-selected icons. We have thus graphed the answers and made the types of feedback immediately understandable.

Reflect on Your Prototyping Action

Unexpectedly, this short questionnaire simulation game we submitted to the community proved to be effective and fruitful, allowing us to collect first-person feedback from the other students who participated during the presentation. Many hot topics emerged that we had already identified and other interesting suggestions for how to interpret some points in a new way.

Developing this abbreviated version, but which had to be equally effective, allowed us to reflect in itinere also on the kind of questions and the way of asking them that we had already thought of for the community, revising and improving the real questionnaire.

Phase E: Collaborative Evaluation and Future Agendas

The last chapter of our adventure takes place in a place between the reality of the community and our didactic imaginary, that is, where the lessons learned try to find a place in the concrete process of democratic planning. Live with people is very different, because what you thought was right up to that moment, there live, without the possibility of canceling the gesture, the professional's thought takes shape.

Immediately you will see if what you have thought is appreciated, but only time can truly reveal the talent of grasping the peculiar aspects and the true needs of a context.

Collaborative Evaluation and Landscape Democracy Reflection

As already told previously and also in the presentation, this community is very special, unique in its kind in the context of Bologna, for real. Becoming a community, a mini village, independent and autonomous is not an easy goal to reach, and that takes place in a short time. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the municipal administrations and those who deal with the management and distribution of funds for urban initiatives do not have large periods of time.

In our case, net of the actual life of the place and the initiatives taken, we are talking about giving constant feedback and in 2 years proving to be self-sufficient, in order to become independent and self-serving, no longer tied to the restrictions of the administration; like when you leave your parents' house when you are young with your head held high because now you know how to take care of yourself.

The Actors in your Collaborative Evaluation

The disparity and variety of characters involved is often synonymous with wealth and advantage, culturally speaking. In this case, however, there is almost a redundancy of figures who oversee and control the steps of this community, which has found itself in a place designed by someone else and is working hard to make it more its own. The background, let's say the past life of the inhabitants makes this place a source of multiculturalism and different stimuli, but it also requires a lot of attention for the multiplicity of needs and habits, often that it carries with it as a legacy, a tradition. The work of some bridging people is essential to interconnect this small ideal world with the most complicated and rough bureaucratic, organizational and decision-making reality. In fact, every choice that is made in this context can have fantastic or disastrous effects and if it does not prove to be up to the independence that was originally entrusted to it, it would become more complicated to live there. Fortunately, there are people who are able to dedicate themselves completely to the work to keep the organism functioning and aggregated.

Your Living Lab Code of Conduct

Our method of approaching the community, which is already full of commitments that occupy it during the week, seemed to us to take a form that was manageable even from a distance, with a certain freedom, without providing constraints or deadlines and that it was above all free and voluntary.

Our mediator and internal contact person accepted very enthusiastically and promptly submitted our initial contact project to the community, to get to know them and get in touch with them without having to physically enter their home too often. In fact, one of the decisive facts of our actions is that, although we were motivated by the best of intentions, we would have had to physically enter their home during a non-event to be able to speak freely, taking away those few moments of respite from work and the commitments they have, divetnando a somewhat uncomfortable approach for us too.

Hence, our idea of ​​a preventive questionnaire that would allow us to understand immediately what their intentions were, how they lived in this place, whether they liked to live there or not and what they liked most; in short, to map how they stand towards the place where they live and for which (many) work. In this way we were able to ascertain and consolidate the first sensations, that there was an idea of ​​community and social regeneration, and cultural mending, trying to identify and let them take possession of their places, making sure that they can better identify with them and treat them more. as an extension of their home or room, their public property but with a private quality and personality.

The questionnaires are followed by moments of debate and sharing of ideas, collecting the first feedback and working together to define a possible course of action, a bit of a prototype in which the foundations are, however, laid entirely by them.

Reflection on the Living Lab Process

The weak point in this case was the process itself of creating this prototype or model, very long and expensive, which requires constant presence and vigilance of those who supply it to the community, that is, in this case we experts. So, to help us and help them, create a series of guidelines that can give the process its own life almost immediately, with enough autonomy, is a series of specific interventions on the various methods of approaching the community and also of collecting data. It must not be something too general, nor boring or monotonous, even as a format that provides such indications; it must not, however, run out immediately without first being able to pass under our analytical and critical lens. Events that involve and unite the community, strengthening the bonds between the members, seems to be the main direction to follow (also according to the first feedback received from the community).

Above all, without twisted psychological intentions, give them freedom and scope to be able to begin to lay their foundations for work, intervening to help and guide them from time to time, and to provide professional advice that can direct them and make them work in the right direction, even only by providing them with contacts of external persons and entities.

Then taking stock of the situation on who is most fundamental to growing, developing and expanding the community, it seemed to us that the important actors for their livelihood were overshadowing: external visitors.

We then identified indicators to be monitored consequentially, and in the end by valuations

Reflection on the Online Seminar

On the other hand, reflecting on the seminar itself, it seemed clear that an important point to take into consideration in the evaluation process, in addition to the quantitative and qualitative indicators of the actors, also those of the context and of the project itself, is a sort of progress report.

A critical point to reflect on in order not to take it for granted is trying to find a meeting point that can somehow satisfy most, so how the concept of democracy comes into play here and how it is declined . The point of arrival must be decided in advance and in some way a range of action must be defined, which does not act as a limit for decision-making freedom but which helps to understand if, when and how much you are going off topic or want to give too many restrictions. Personalization is also this, too many cooks who turn the soup risk ruining it.

So it is indeed important to leave space and free will but always keeping the system under control as a whole, intervening when needed to be able to put the process and actions back on line, finally bringing his professional and technical contribution when it is necessary to sum up what you want to do. However, observing closely in a detached way can often point out some details, some initiative details that were taken for granted.

There is always something to learn on every occasion and the bidirectionality in a creative process of participatory planning is intrinsic in its prototypical structure, whatever form it takes to adapt to the needs of that community, of that moment and place.

Process Reflection

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