2.2.3 Lesson learned

Course subject(s) Module 2. |A| Service design

In the city Bologna, in Italy, a successful example underlining the importance of service design in the creation of nature-based solutions can be found. Bologna has approximately 400.000 inhabitants and is located north of Italy between Florence and Venice.

After the economic crisis, the citizens of Bologna had a collective distrust in the municipal politics. In response, the municipal administration of the city made the decision to shift focus to more citizen engagement for the definition and implementation of new policy actions and new interventions with short term investments. This included for the municipality to support citizens initiatives in the making of green spaces and public squares and increasing the citizens capability to have a say in the future of their own city.

With the aim to improve local democracy, local policies, citizen participation and a more integrated system of co-design, the Civic Imagination Office was established. The Civic Imagination Office consists of a young multidisciplinary team with a background in urbanism, architecture, economy, political sciences, art and communication to deal with the technical aspects of urban development, community engagement and organizational issues. This led to the foundation of multiple laboratories in different districts of the city which facilitated the interaction between municipality staff and specific groups of citizens to collaborate on the analysis of their own neighborhoods. These analysis allowed for the identification of priorities, problems and resources per area.

After this analysis, the Civic Imagination Office opened up the process to all citizens by working directly in the field and exposing citizens to all the decision that are usually make behind the closed doors of the municipality. The implementation of community engagement actions facilitated to inform and activate as many people as possible by making use of digital platforms, social media, formal and informal meetings, performances, walks, bike rides and workshops.

This resolved in the definition of a series of public space projects with the support of locals and municipal officials, which sat together to share competences and knowledge with each other. After the projects were set up, all residents had the possibility to vote for one winning project in each district. In the first year of the Office existence this resulted in 2500 engaged citizens and nearly 15.000 people voting for participatory budgeting projects.

Creative Commons License
Nature Based Metropolitan Solutions by TU Delft OpenCourseWare is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://online-learning.tudelft.nl/courses/nature-based-metropolitan-solutions/.
Back to top