Italy, June 2021 – The National Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI according to the Italian acronym) organised on 18 June an online workshop in cooperation with the City of Turin, Torino Wireless and Efus in order to share with Italian cities the results of the ToNite project, which sought to improve through citizen empowerment the way residents of two neighbourhoods of Turin (Italy) perceive their security at night.
The event gathered local administrators, representatives of local police and experts from more than 20 Italian cities.
The night as a testbed
Funded by the European Union’s Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) programme, the ToNite project’s model is based on social empowerment and the active participation of residents and stakeholders and can be replicated by other cities in Europe and beyond. According to the Mayor of Turin Chiara Appendino (quoted in the EU’s UIA’s website), “the night can be a testbed for solutions to some of the main challenges of our local community, such as fostering urban security, reviving the sense of place and community spirit, and offering new services to different categories of residents.”
The workshop was introduced by the President of ANCI’s Security Commission, Bruno Valentini, who explained that ToNite’s “participatory methodology can be a starting point to replicate the project in other Italian cities.” Indeed, the project implemented “multidisciplinary and co-designed solutions with communities aimed at improving the liveability of public spaces.” The project considered that the reappropriation of public spaces by local residents is key in improving feelings of security.
Councillor for Innovation at the City of Turin, Marco Pironti emphasised that focusing on night time is an innovative way to address local security issues: “the night can be understood as a stress test for the city,” he said. He also insisted on the importance of participation, another key aspect of the project: “ToNite has been developed through a shared path by involving those who live and closely know the territory, from data collection to the creation of projects and services aimed at improving the quality and safety of life at night.”
The importance of multidisciplinarity
Gianfranco Todesco, Chief Commissioner for Digital Technology Investigations at the Turin municipal police, highlighted the importance of data collection and said that Turin is the first Italian city to have a big data analysis lab. Thanks to the ToNite project, an urban data platform that combines real time data and uses the Internet of Things (IoT) to improve governance has been created.
Alberto Rudellat and Fabrizio Barbiero, both ToNite Project Managers at the City of Turin, stressed that another innovative aspect is that the project addresses security issues through a collective and integrated approach based on prevention.
Simone d’Antonio, ToNite project manager for ANCI, who moderated the meeting together with Elisa Filippi, stressed the importance of having a multidisciplinary team as the one established by the municipality of Turin to manage the project, in order to better combine a range of different approaches on the ground. This is clearly an aspect that can be replicated by other cities, they said.
More dissemination events
More events and planned to present the project to other Italian and indeed European cities. ANCI will organise another workshop in the upcoming months. As a partner in the project, Efus organised a workshop in April with European local and regional authorities. Also, the project produced a factsheet with guidelines and tools on the engagement and empowerment of local community and stakeholders.