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Governing with the citizens. New mechanisms of participation in Italy.

Sonia Bussu
Manchester Metropolitan University
Sonia Bussu
Manchester Metropolitan University
Open Panel

Abstract

Increasingly, new models of governance aim to engage larger sectors of the population through participatory and deliberative mechanisms, as a way of coordinating local interests to increase the territory’s capacity to produce collective goods. Institutional designs that foster strong executives at the local level, as chosen by many European countries, have strengthened the relationship between local administrators and the citizens, who are increasingly perceived as direct interlocutors rather than passive recipients of services. This paper presents the experience of participatory governance in four medium-sized Italian cities characterised by very different socio-political and economic contexts: Trento, in the northern region of Trentino-Alto Adige, Prato in Tuscany, Lecce in the Southern region of Puglia, and Sassari in the island of Sardinia. All cities have implemented strategic planning, which entails a collective vision of the territory’s social and economic future, elaborated with the involvement of local civil society through deliberative forums. The objective of this paper is to explain the impact of strategic planning on the