FLORENCE>>BROZZI/PERETOLA


Characteristics of the area
The Brozzi-Peretola area is located on the periphery of the city, along the main road to Pistoia and parallel to the Arno River. Its extent is about 1/20th of the whole area administrated by the Municipality of Florence. It consists of several small historical settlements, founded in the early middle ages and developed in the 15th century. In the first half of the 14th century, important changes in the territory were determined, owing to two
main causes: the influence of the flourishing straw industry, which caused the demographic increase and the building of new row houses and small palaces, and the construction of the Florence-Livorno railway on the new bank of the river, which resulted in the recovery of a large area called Le Piagge, required for the large canalisation and water regulation works. In
the 1962, the Town Plan of the Florentine municipality settled the saturation” and reconstruction of the residential areas of Peretola and Brozzi. Old, low dwellings were demolished in order to gain space for new blocks of flats and other large buildings were constructed near Peretola, owing to its proximity to the town. In 1975, the municipality adopted a variation of the General Town Plan that classified the villages as “Minor Historical and Environmental Centres” and, therefore, only allowed preservative restorations or sanitary improvements in their buildings. At the end of the '70s, the urbanisation of the Piagge was started through the implementation of plans for low-cost housing: large buildings, separated
by vast spaces (8,500 inhabitants on a more than 60 hectare area), were erected.

Problems
The case study area is troubled by a set of contingency problems. First of all, it is characterised by physical, economic and social isolation from the rest of Florence. In fact, the area is surrounded by many important infrastructures (like the highway, the railway, the airport, the main city park) and borders on the river Arno to the south, to which it has practically no functional connections. Moreover, the road to Pistoia divides this area into two large sub-areas. Therefore, interaction between Brozzi - Peretola and both the city and the surroundings is difficult; further aggravated by a high degree of social and economic exclusion and a diffuse building and environmental decay. The high concentration of these infrastructures in the area results in some significant environmental problems, such as noise and air pollution. Moreover, the local economy is mainly supported by very small activities in the services
sector and handicrafts and the unemployment rate is higher than in the rest of the town. Land ownership is diffused, and small plots are prevalent; therefore, urban renewal occurs only on the building level. Facilities are not so diffuse and mostly of low quality. In general, the quality of life is lower than in the rest of the city, and there is no founded perspective of development without necessitating the re-organisation of both physical structures and socio-economic organisation.
The progressively aging population marks the social structure, which is moreover conditioned by a large number of Chinese immigrants. The Chinese community is the most populous in the area, economically in competition with the traditional community and adverse to social integration with other residents. Contrary to the longstanding Florentine tradition of civic participation, the inhabitants of Brozzi - Peretola show distrust of participation and social integration. Participation processes are just about to begin in Brozzi and Peretola.
In the logic of renewal, the fragmentation of the area into small private properties and the continuous and inevitable increase of land value imply the difficulty experienced by the public administration in negotiating with the economic power of the private sector.


Potential
The perceived area potential - referred to during discussions and meetings with local stakeholders - have been identified, first of all, with the presence of the historical “boroughs” of Brozzi, Peretola and Quaracchi, careful recovery of which could contribute to recreating a sense of identity and deeper feeling of belonging in the citizens. The Arno River, with its
banks, can also be considered in terms of potential, since it can be used as a natural green open space by the inhabitants as well as becoming an attractive resource for the whole city of Florence.
Some of the infrastructures largely transport-related, can on one hand, be perceived as negative elements in terms of the quality of life yet, on the other hand, they can be seen as offering development potential due to commercial and industrial investment opportunities which in turn, increase land values and create employment for inhabitants.
After all, if the recovery and regeneration of Piagge’s disused zones was started, locating necessary facilities and urbanisation and increasing the quality of urban design, the area could become a pleasant place for all citizens of Florence


Vision, chances for development and drivers for change
The issues that drive the rehabilitation process in Florentine LUDA are strictly linked with the area potential. In particular, the basic driver for change relates to the development of an overall strategy for this area, as part of an overall sustainable city development concept, and the application of suitable tools regarding planning, citizen participation and activation of enterprise and financing.

Projects
At the moment, there are several plans and programmes running in the area. For example, a programme for public housing recovery is underway (“PRU LE PIAGGE”) as is a programme for urban retraining (“PUR ex GOVER”).
The problem is that both the territory sector plans and programmes give little consideration to the coordination between interventions and territory transforming actions. Therefore, the main goal of the LUDA research is to fill this coordination gap through the formalisation of a programme, finalised through the construction of rules, development regulations and problem
resolutions. Accordingly, the Municipality of Florence has just approved the proposal made by the Florence LUDA team, named Area Programme.



  
EVK4-CT2002-00081