We have joined the Campagna Disponibile (Campaign ‘Available’) which was launched by the foundation, Cittadinanzattiva, our long-time partner in pursuing civil and political battles, to allocate unused public properties or those confiscated from the mafia for the general well-being of the citizens.
Disponibile! (Available) was launched in Spoleto in 2014. Cittadinanzattiva is striving to take part in the effort to reclaim abandoned properties as to transfer them to other people, facilitating the process between the people managing these properties who do not have the means, the power, or the will to make use of them, and those who are in search of a business site.
It would become an exchange that harnesses the supply (buildings and abandoned sites) and the demand (citizens in search of property), thus mediating between the participants of the supply and demand, offering support in mobilizing citizens, and encouraging proper administrative practices and conduct amongst individuals.
Amendments to the “Unlock Italy” decree
The decree “Unlock Italy” has huge potential for fully implementing the principle of subsidiarity (advocated by the Constitution), as well as reclaiming unused public properties.
In fact, Cittadinanzattiva has proposed two amendments to articles 24 and 26 of the aforementioned decree which have been backed and put forward by MPs of the Democratic Party and the 5-Star Movement party during the Environment Commission to the Chamber. The aim is to give citizens the right to repossess and make use of unused, publicly-owned property.
We are all aware of the plethora of these properties throughout Italy, and that they are in the gradual state of deterioration, which is why the initiative established by Cittadinanzattiva is so important. If the two amendments are approved by Parliament, Italian citizens will be able to seek to claim these properties and begin putting them to use for both the community and individuals. In some cases, reclaimed properties could become business locations for artisans and entrepreneurs, while others, historical and artistic sites to be reopened to the public. No matter what the case, it would be advantageous for the society. New economic and cultural enterprises would be created, and consequently, jobs. Fondazione Etica offers its full support in the battle fought not only by Cittadinanzattiva, but by all the citizens concerned for the good of the community.
This is why we are asking the Italian Prime Minister to take up these proposals:
With article 24 (Measures to assist local communities to protect and value their territory) of law 164/2014 “Unlock Italy”, both individuals and companies have been empowered and given new vigour to look after public assets and the common good pursuant to the last paragraph of article no.118 of the Italian Constitution. Local councils can use an appropriate resolution to define “the criteria and the conditions to establish measures for projects presented by individuals or groups of citizens, as long as they are efficiently aimed at the land to be redeveloped”.
Citizens who choose to become active in society must content themselves by performing roles that are overly limited or marginal compared to the possibilities offered by the constitutional principle of subsidiarity, which is limited in its original wording in article no.24 to “cleaning, maintenance and embellishment of public green spaces, squares or streets”. To avoid this limitation, Cittadinanzattiva proposed to extend the activities beyond those originally intended, with a symbolic and practical consequence on repossessing and reusing abandoned public property or spaces. Furthermore, Cittadinanzattiva proposed and succeeded in specifying that the reuse of abandoned public property (in accordance with the law) would be in the general interest, protecting and looking out for such properties as well as the legal rights of individuals, especially those most vulnerable in society.
Local councils are therefore encouraged to involve citizens in community projects, not just for cleaning, maintenance and embellishing public spaces, but in particular, to get them to reuse and to reclaim abandoned public property as well as to give new value to areas which have been disregarded in and around their towns and cities.