Greenways promote and develop sustainable and soft mobility solutions with citizens living in rural villages and peri-urban areas of Reggio Emilia.
Rural and peri-urban areas of Reggio Emilia often lack direct and sustainable connections either with core places of social life inside each village (parish, school, sports facilities, etc.), between nearby villages or with core urban functions located in the City centre.
The Municipality of Reggio Emilia identified solutions to the mobility issues affecting each village/neighbourhood through the so-called “Neighbourhood Labs” with local communities: the general objective that was shared was to complete/refurbish a dense network of rural tracks, comprising river/creeks levees, cart roads of farms and other paths and tracks in private properties, instead of planning investments in further road infrastructures.
This good practice addresses several needs:
- to identify solutions for a soft mobility and functional connection in peri-urban areas, while at the same time preserving their ecological values
- to stimulate social cohesion in more peripheral and rural areas through activities and initiatives geared towards the valorisation of local heritage
- to improve the liveability of peri-urban areas for both for residents and visitors/tourists
- to innovate city governance by engaging citizens and CSOs in city management and policy formulation through the signature of the “Citizenship Agreements”, detailing the commitments of the Municipality, CSOs, citizens and other public/private stakeholders willing to develop and share new model solutions for sustainable mobility.
The project is implemented in partnership between the Municipality, CSOs and citizens. The resources needed for the implementation of the greenways (equipments, works, paths signs) are covered by the Municipality, whereas interventions and maintenance are carried out by volunteers and CSOs.
Evidence of success
More than 80 km of alternative pedestrian and cycle paths refurbished and endowed with signage
• Increased number and type of users
• Improved cooperation networks between different CSOs of the area
• Engagement of individual volunteers, CSOs and associations in territorial management
• Lower costs and shorter intervention times for the public administration
• Constant monitoring and joint identification of problems
• Improved citizens’ awareness of the natural value of the area
Some challenges are link to architectural barriers and practicability problems due to weather conditions.
In addition, sometimes there are conflicts with overlapped properties and difficult to find an agreement with private individuals.
Withdraw of volunteers creates problem to the maintenance of
Potential for learning or transfer
The potential for transfer lies in the specific methodology developed for the purpose of guiding the participatory process.
At present such methodology is being revised with a view to:
- introduce a medium-to-long-term strategic vision that can consistently guide the design and implementation of the specific solutions/projects and also contribute to an improved alignment of the initiatives deriving from the participatory process with the provisions of other Municipal policy instruments
- introduce a different breakdown of the Municipal territory based on the similarity of urban functions and features to streamline and simplify process management and implementation;
- learn from previous experience in order to improve continuously