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A new Plan for Bologna

City of Bologna. Territory and Planning Division


Twenty years after the last general urban plan, Bologna has commenced the programme for the approval of a new instrument governing the territorial area. This period has been marked by important changes in the city and territorial area and by a new urban planning law that has radically changed the relevant institutional framework. The proposal for the new urban plan is an important event in the history of the city and of urban planning in Bologna.

The new instruments governing the transformation of the city territory, which substitutes the old General Development Plan (Law 20/2000) consists of the Structural Plan (PSC), the Operational Plan (POC) and the Urban Building Regulations (RUE). The three instruments are in the process of being developed in an integrated form. In relation to the PSC it was launched a more general discussion as to the lines of territorial protection and development, which will then be developed and set out in detail in the other two instruments.

In Seven cities, the PSC strategy
“Bologna metropolitan city” and “Bologna city of cities” are two images which briefly set out the approach that resulted in the Outline Survey and the enquiry process that was concluded with the Preliminary Document.
These two images have drawn attention to the multiple nature of urban forms that are the distinguishing features of Bologna and its territory today, expressing the desire to make best use of them.
In the work of developing the Structural Plan these images, which were still vague, have been translated and linked to specific parts of the territory in which projects, policies and actions are concentrated – areas upon whose transformation the redevelopment of the city and the surrounding metropolitan area depends.

The 7 Cities are territorial figures that seek to identify differences that are already present and to highlight the strategies that guide various different actions which are described in terms of space, time and the people involved. They represent the general project which links and animates the individual policies of the PSC, reinterpreting also past ideas and proposals, bridging administrative divisions beyond municipal level and those of the neighbourhoods of Bologna.

The 7 Cities, of the Railway, the By-pass road, the Hills, the River Reno, the River Savena, the Western Via Emilia, and the Eastern Via Emilia, each inextricably linked with the other, but each distinguishable through their history, characteristics and future strategies, identify as many series of spaces, developed and open, where various populations and social practices prevail, where the way of living changes. In these differences the richness of the city of today can be recognised and in their development is measured the utility of a structural plan which does not involve the territory in a uniform manner, but concentrates and diversifies interventions.

Situations for local guidelines
The identification of 37 Situations, 22 of which are densely populated, identified with the names known to the inhabitants in order to aid recognition of the places concerned, has the purpose of building up a suitable agenda of actions for the Operational Plans, the Implementation Plans and the Urban Building Regulations, in part entrusted to the initiative of the Districts.

Systems and Contexts for extending quality
In this case the PSC has looked for a way of translating into urban planning language the indications that have emerged during the detailed programme of analysis, consultation and discussion that has led the experts, citizens and district institutions to bring their experience together in order to decide upon the importance of the problems and reach possible solutions in the “micro-cities”. Knowing that the quality of the relationships between space and society are not divisible and that a series of sector interventions, which are individually virtuous, do not guarantee tout-court the excellence of the overall outcome, and knowing also that the development of integrated urban policies is essential, the PSC is seeking to play its part by providing for the different implementing instruments a sort of pro memoria with reasoned priorities.If the 7 Cities enable us to interpret the choices operated by the Structural Plan on certain parts of the territory that are judged to be strategic, it is in the Systems and in the Contexts, on the other hand, that we find the ways in which the PSC seeks to guide the interventions and the policies that involve the entire territory, pursuing the objective of spreading quality, bearing in mind the different conditions at the outset.
The planning of the three Systems - mobility, the public city, environment- is aimed at guaranteeing facilities and services that are regarded as essential for habitability. In the PSC it has been sought to highlight the objectives followed for each system and to set out the criteria for the choices made, examining also guidelines and planning choices beyond local level.
The Contexts – belonging to the Territory to be Developed, the Developed Territory, the Rural Territory - translate the project for the Development Plan into the form set out in Regional Law 20/2000 in order to dictate the regulations, defining for each part of the territory the urban and functional characteristics, the social, functional, environmental and morphological objectives and the relative service requirements.
Interpreting the logic of the legislation, which configures the context as a minimum unit for the regulation of the structural plan, the Bologna PSC proposes a level of disaggregation that is sensitive to the characteristics of the territory and makes it possible to give completeness to the redevelopment operations. This means contexts that are sufficiently broad, portions of territory recognisable for their urban characteristics, state of conservation, level of facilities, functional mix.

Bologna's Community participation
Bologna City Council has set up various activities to encourage participation and involvement in the planning and transformation processes in the city. A traditional and codified programme is that of information and consultation in the city districts, with decentralised institutional units.

These have been supported at the same time by activities of an institutional nature, pursuant to Law no. 20/2000 (the Emilia Romagna Regional urban planning law), which involves consultation with economic associations and coplanning with institutional bodies.
On the other hand, programmes of an experimental and optional nature have included the "Bologna: A Changing City" Forum and the "neighbourhood workshops" set up to look at several important areas of transformation.

The Administration decided to launch a programme involving public participation at the time when the strategic guidelines of the Structural Plan were being drawn up, in order to obtain the views of the various community groups in the city upon various subjects: the transport system, the environment, the urban system.
The "neighbourhood workshops", on the other hand, were local actions where those involved in transformations (citizens, associations, administrations, experts) can bring together various points of views on the city and different areas of expertise (technical or otherwise), searching to reach quality solutions which are shared as widely as possible.