The Italian way in disseminating active cities good practices
Supporting the efforts of Italian municipalities to become healthier, more inclusive, safer, resilient and sustainable: this is the main challenge and mission the Italian National Association of Municipalities (ANCI) is dealing with, persuaded that cities play a pivotal role in steering the transition towards a better present and future society.
2019, March 28th
Paolo Testa, Head of studies, Italian National Association of Municipalities (ANCI)
While national governments play a leading role in the definition of inclusive urban policies and of legislation for sustainable urban development, subnational and local governments as well as civil society have an equally important contribution to make. Efforts of ANCI are addressed in “connecting the dots”, working closer to the territory for the effective promotion and protection of health and well-being, ensuring equitable access to resources, such as green spaces, public services or healthy housing and transforming environmental threats caused by a complex array of exposures into sustainable urban planning tools.
Concrete examples come from Italian Municipalities, thanks to European, national and governmental provisions, together with local urban policies. And ANCI is the place where they are collected, valorised and spread as models.
For the first time, national budgetary policy for 2018 included the opportunity for Municipalities to invest the budget surplus deriving from previous year, or to borrow money, to finance specific interventions in sport and physical activity up to 100 000€. Secondly, the Italian public bank, (Institute for Sport Credit), provided Municipalities with the opportunity of contracting zero rate mortgages, up to 100 000€ in 2017, a part of which dedicated to inner areas or small municipalities, in order to build, restore or make more efficient sport halls and outdoors playgrounds. Requests exceeded supply, testifying effectiveness of the policy.
Demand from Cities to be more active has been met also through another fundamental provision, called “Sport and Peripheries”, that totalised 200 000€ aiming at retraining environments for social inclusion and integration. Together with the CONI and Athletics Federation, further mechanisms to improve active cities policies have been adopted, such as “Project Parks”, “Runcard Initiative”, “Blue Flag” awarding the best walking and running cities in Italy. Rome, for instance, recently achieved a record result: mapping and tracing 332 km within its urban area to develop healthy running and fit-walking habits, in order to bend the curve of obesity and type2 diabetes or the spreading of NCDs.
As far as environmental and urban planning are concerned, Italian municipalities have had plenty of initiatives connected with EU URBACT Program, Covenant of Mayors, Horizon2020 funds and the adoption of SUMPs in Cities: the city of Udine, for example, became a reference on this.
The overall objective is still to be reached, but ANCI, through coherent policies across multiple levels of governance and exchange of experiences and best practices in line with a shared vision, is fully committed and willing to achieve the goal.