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Building smartness upon environmental values : a case study in Piemonte

Giulia Soldati

Building smartness upon environmental values : a case study in Piemonte.

Rel. Liliana Bazzanella, Giuseppe Roccasalva. Politecnico di Torino, Corso di laurea magistrale in Pianificazione Territoriale, Urbanistica E Paesaggistico-Ambientale, 2015



Smart city is today a common concept in urban planning, used and abused in most political campaigns to promote projects of urban renewal.

But what really is a smart city?

It can be defined as... “the city that, thanks to the opportunities given by information and communication technologies, furthers the participation of citizens in the definition and realization of an integrated system of urban sustainable policies, pointed to improve quality of life of inhabitants”.

A lot of cities in different parts of the world have started a way to become smart, treating different aspects as infrastructure networks, energetic efficiency, green areas,...The focus idea is to improve the quality of life of the citizens and to make them the main actors of transformation, using ICT technologies and common mobile apps, today accessible for most part of the population. Different cities have already put into practice some projects, other projects are work in progress and more others will be started; there are many policies indeed at European and national level that speak about the theme of “smartness” and many actors at different levels are involved.

The most part of the projects put into action until today have faced this theme at the urban scale or in specific parts of the city, to arrive at the micro scale of “smart house”.

Should be the scale of intervention enlarged to a bigger extension? Would it be useful to speak

about smart territories?

In the last decades in most territories (in particular in Italy) it has not been possible to make a clear distinction between urban and rural, but there are forms of expansion called “rurbans”, with specific and complex characteristics.

The connections between an urban pole and its hinterland are frequent, both material connections (transport infrastructures) and immaterial connections (the economical activities of a territory). In order to be successful the development of smart territories should consider the urban core and all the territories that for different reasons “rotate” around the city.

In the last years the theme of landscape has emerged in scientific literature and it was discussed under different aspects as conservation of typical landscapes or use of them for business. With the European Landscape Convention adopted in Italy in 2000 emerges the concept that every place is landscape, both extraordinary landscapes and everyday landscapes, both natural and urban.

In this thesis rural landscape is analyzed: in this kind of territory there are both natural elements and a strong presence of human activity. Agriculture and food are fundamental for people’s life but they are two of the main responsible of the 21st century’s climate changes. The thesis reasons about the possibility of building smartness starting from the environmental values of a territory, and in particular of a rural territory.

The paper starts analyzing the concept of smartness and the connected qualities of this concept. The thesis highlights:

1- the actors that have an active role on the smart planning

2- the related policies at European and National level. Among these policies, the focus is on those that are more centered on environmental issues.

Then three different models of building smartness in planning are analyzed:

1- the “European Smart City Model” of the TUWIEN, which is more analytical and is based on indicators;

2- “My Neighbourhood” model, which is focused on the process and on the involvement o model, focused on three different strategies whof public’s participation.

The thesis continue of smart planl scale. The concept of smart land can be colian case of the concept of smart city. Building smar to reive that joins the key-points of smart city the extended concept of smart land.

The importanthe Euighlights the importance of both ordinary anndencies has emerged: conservation and development. R for long time only for its characteristics of productive territory becaual due to agriculture but it can create othves the typical elements of the territory as traditions, historical and artistic goods and involving both citizens and institutions.

With the application and the scaling-up of the models previously explained in a case-study territory (Novara and Vercelli’s territory), this thesis wants finally to stress the importance for Italy to have a smart planning that allows to improve a rural territory starting from its environmental values.

Starting with the use of specific data and indicators a first study of the considered territory is made and then a model of smartness upon environmental values is proposed and hopefully useful for the involved municipalities and for all the stakeholders that live or have an interest in the territory studied.

Relators: Liliana Bazzanella, Giuseppe Roccasalva
Publication type: Printed
Subjects: G Geografia, Antropologia e Luoghi geografici > GG Piemonte
U Urbanistica > UK Pianificazione urbana
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in Pianificazione Territoriale, Urbanistica E Paesaggistico-Ambientale
Classe di laurea: UNSPECIFIED
Aziende collaboratrici: UNSPECIFIED
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/4289



1.1 The concepts that bring to the smart city

1.2 What is a smart city?

1.3 How “smartness” has spread out in Italy

1.4 What to focus on


2.1 The role of the Observatories

2.1.1 International Observatory on Smart City Learning

2.1.2 Smart City National Observatory

2.2 The participation of citizens

2.2.1 The power of citizens in Italian planning

2.2.2 The “smart governance”

2.2.3 Scaling-up participation

2.3 A synthesis of the actors


3.1 Europe 2020

3.2 Covenant of Mayors

3.3 Smart Cities and Communities Initiative

3.4 Man and the Biosphere Programme

3.5 Choosing the policies


4.1 Models of smart cities

4.1.1 The European Smart City model

4.1.2 My Neighbourhood

4.1.3 Less is more, manifesto for a smart society

4.2 A comparison of the models

4.3 Practical examples in Europe: Peripheria project


5.1 The need to reinvent the territory

5.2 An Italian model of smart land

5.3 A practical example: the North-East Italian context

5.4 Emerging dynamics to consider


6.1 A new need for landscape

6.2 The necessity of a different territorial governance

6.2.1 A new operative approach of Plans and Programs

6.3 Changes in Italy

6.3.1 Piemonte’s experience

6.4 Smart processes to govern the landscape


7.1 Introduction

7.2 About the territory

7.3 PPR for the area of Vercelli and Novara

7.4 PTR for the area of Vercelli and Novara

7.5 Application of the models

7.5.1 Application of “European Smart City model” Data and Indicators Obtained results How to exploit information

7.5.2 Application of “My Neighbourhood” model

7.6 Environmental values for smart development






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