Landscape Democracy 2015 Working Group H - Case Study 1

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An unfinished project in Crema (Cr), Italy

Place name Cascina Valcarenga area
Location Crema, CR
Country Italy
Author(s) Barbara Boschiroli
Crema copertina.jpg

Rationale: Why have you chosen this case for the landscape and democracy seminar?

Crema is a small town 40 km far away from Milan, in the north of Italy. It grew around an historic centre and is surrounded by new developments immersed in the agriculture system, mainly composed by rural buildings called cascina and cultivated fields, dedicated to crop cultivation and milk production. Crema is the reference center for the smallest villages and towns that are all around it in terms of schools and other public services. In the 2003 a private company developed a project for a school campus (16.000 m2) in an area located next to one of the latest cascina existing in the first periphery called Cascina Valcarenga. The project is a typical example of a traditional planning approach: the project was authorized from all the public authorities, but only after a certain stage public was really informed and involved. At that point, the decision of making the project was already taken and impossible to interfere with. In the 2013 the construction stopped due to the failure of the developer. Since then, the site has been closed but the structures and some of the external part of the buildings were finished and thus abandoned. In the last year, public and local authorities attentions have started to focused on the future of the buildings and the site.

Representation of your observations

  • you are basically free to use one or a mix of different presentation techniques
  • possibilities are: analytical drawings, graphical representations, collages, video clips, comic/graphic novel, written essay/visual essay
  • please add any visual material to the gallery, videos can be placed below, you may add text as you like


What are the major challenges for changing the situation?

The first topic to clarify is the future owner of the property, now put up for auction: the different authorities involved are waiting to see who will have to deal with: will be a public or a private area? The first challenge relates to the change of perspective between the various authorities involved now: the common trend is to look for a culprit of the situation, discuss only on what has happened in the past and talk about possible interventions mainly only in economic terms (How much does it cost? There's no money! Public funds must be returned). The second point concerns the involvement of the public and other stakeholders, today relegated to mere spectators of the story, understanding the modalities for a possible process of participation and understanding which subjects get involved. Finally, the main challenge remains the construction of a shared vision for the future of the area in terms of re-use of buildings, area management and fundraising.

What could be a starting point for democractically-based change?

One of the first thing to do could be bring all the autoritihies involved sitted at the same table at the same time and discuss the strategy for a new approach. This could led to the following:

- present all the authorities and all the parties involved;

- search and involve other stakeholders and the local experts in the process;

- take a public commitment to build a shared future vision for the area.

The meeting could be held on the site giving the chance to visit the buildings and involved the neighborhood.

Stakeholder Mapping

Create a visual representation of the stakeholder groups that are involved in your case. Try to cover the following aspects in your representation: Power (high, medium, low) / Support (positive, neutral, negative)/ Influence (high or low)/ Need (strong, medium, weak)+ also map the relationships between the stakeholder groups

Change Scenario

Look at the various methods and tools available and think how they can be applied creatively. Think about the needs of different stakeholder groups - you may need a methodical mix to address them all. Visualize a scenario illustrating how these methods/tools can be applied within an imagined time frame

Cross cutting theme

Identify a cross-cutting theme/topic between the cases of your group and write a short reflection on it (approx. 150 words)

All of our case studies are good examples of “top-down strategies” applied to urban development. The cases suffered from private developers pressures on the areas and the community needs weren’t taking into account by the political bodies. The lack of communities involvements caused also short terms visions attitudes in the planning decisions. Therefore, the cases have several cross cutting themes:

• Need for a long-term strategy: green infrastructure concept at different levels and scales or linking urban development to social development

• Increased involvement of the public in decision making

• Increased education of the public concerning the stakes

• Need to strengthen the community

Concluding reflections

Reflect on your case and your change model. Potentials? Limitations? (approx. 150 words)


• The storytelling will reveal the local knowledge about the site from the community/public and will canalize the gripes and the attitudes of many political bodies

• The participation process has the aim to define a shared vision for the building that has more possibilities to be accepted and pursued from all the levels and bodies

• Allowing temporary uses in the building could led to different benefits:

  - small incomes from renting the spaces (associations, start up, events)
  - providing reasons to visit and stay in the building and the area increased the visitors and the sense of security in the neighborhood
  - helps maintained the public attention on the process and on the building


• The participation process is quite slow and long due to the fact that during summer time – from June to September- will stop because most of the inhabitants are on holiday. This could cause a lack of attention and interesting

• Temporary use is not a common thing in Italy, so it may not be easy understood and accepted. The building is now without a proper owner and this may be a difficulty in the renting contracts


* Please make sure that you give proper references of all external resources used.

* Do not use images of which you do not hold the copyright.

* Please add internet links to other resources if necessary.

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