The bid stands out from the beginning for its extensive citizen involvement; citizens are leading the process thanks to the participatory method. In the pre-selection phase the city was able to produce a Cultural Programme based on the ideas of hundreds of local citizens and experts.
Ravenna is the only one of the bidding cities to have made an open call. Along with thirty working groups, this call gathered over 400 ideas which were then discussed during “Agorà2019: the word to culture”, a creative participatory laboratory. Agorà will continue through the years leading up to 2019, helping to formulate the final 2019 Programme, and becoming one of the permanent instruments for involving citizens in the various processes of producing local public policies.
Agorà – The stage to citizens (2012/2020)
“Agorà” is our future piazza. It is a participatory format, designed in collaboration with the NGO Villaggio Globale, which we have tested during the bidding construction phase as a promising case study with which others can experiment, as shown by the interest at international level on the part of the European network A Soul for Europe.
The steps which so far have marked the progress of Agorà can be summed up in two events. First, Agorà2019: the word to culture (2013): three days dedicated to creative discussion between residents, local groups and associations involved in the open call for ideas. Thanks to Open Space Technology (OST), a participatory creative space, coordinated by Marianella Sclavi from the Milan Polytechnic, the horizontal research on interaction places between various projects led to a shared, cross-cutting approach and to idea contaminations in view of the first pre-selection Bid Book.
Second, Agorà 3.0 (2014): the Agorà experience continued in 2014, strengthened by a new proactive design tool, the participatory budget. This new edition made it possible for a group of citizens not only to design, but also to produce events. The ideas, selected according to participating citizens’ votes (for the first time it was also possible to cast your vote online), will become what are known as “Citizens’ Tests” (Prove Tecniche dei cittadini), events and performances planned for the day on which the Jury will be visiting Ravenna. Alongside the participatory design process, we have started a first assessment phase, whose results have led to shaping the future of Agorà (Agorà 20.19) and of involvement, the latter being essential to ensure both project sustainability and its legacy. Participatory design, therefore, from being a simple intervention method, becomes an irreplaceable experience which characterises the whole process, making sure that the bid is actually a “shared legacy”.