Five years after the first memorandum of understanding, signed in 2016, the collaboration between the City of Trento and the University of Trento, which was renewed last December, starts a new five-year phase. Mayor Franco Ianeselli and Rector Flavio Deflorian signed this morning at Palazzo Sardagna the 2021 Action Plan, the first of five annual detailed plans envisaged by the framework agreement, as part of the "UniCittà" project. A work program that, this year too, aims to increase the quality of life in Trento and to encourage greater interaction between the City and the University, particularly to the benefit of the student community.
The new 2021 development plan, because of the pandemic, aims to invest heavily in human and social capital and offers opportunities for growth and training to support the social, relational and economic recovery of the region. The basic idea of the framework agreement and of the annual plans is precisely that of making the students, graduates, and the entire teaching staff, drivers of the social, cultural and economic dynamics of the area.
"The protocol that we sign today - said Rector Flavio Deflorian in his opening address - is a positive example of how great things can be achieved with the contribution of all, even when resources are limited. UniCittà is one of the major projects in the context of the long and fruitful collaboration with the City of Trento".
"The remarkable aspect of this collaboration - commented Mayor Franco Ianeselli - is the help that the University offers to the City of Trento. Help with better planning tools for the tourism sector, for example. Help provided by students who, with their projects, dissertations, ideas, and initiatives, contribute to the development of the City. Help in planning for the future, with changes in the city mobility plan and in particular with the planned railway around the city". The Mayor finally thanked the members and the president of the Protocol Coordination Committee: "The statute of the City of Trento makes an explicit reference to collaboration with the University of Trento. This collaboration comes to life in UniCittà, with enthusiasm and passion".
Marco Tubino, Professor of the Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering and coordinator of the Protocol Coordination Committee, made up of representatives of both institutions who were present at today's meeting, presented the ongoing projects and the new ones planned for 2021. "The goal of UniCittà - he explained - is to make the relationship between the University and the City concrete. Not an easy task, but this is certainly a challenge that is worth facing. The project we are presenting today is the result of intense team work. The committee worked closely together, with the same objectives in mind. The plan focuses on two themes in particular. First of all, human and social capital, which must be valued and highlighted. And the training of professionals capable of processing and communicating data and information, to promote shared and informed decision-making".
The actions that continue
Among the actions proposed for 2021, two are successful activities that started in the previous planning period: Nutrire Trento and the research activity in the field of tourism and tourism economy.
Nutrire Trento is a project that aims to promote a culture of environmental and economic sustainability in food production and consumption, stimulating dialogue between the different stakeholders and promoting virtuous habits to reduce costs and waste. For 2021, the program includes information and dissemination actions aimed at consumers of today and tomorrow.
The second project aims to update the city's new tourism plan and to promote effective collaboration among the various entities involved in tourism research and promotion in the area, also in light of the new scenarios that will open at the end of the current emergency. The plan aims to redefine the city's identity, to meet the expectations of tourists and citizens and the strategic priorities of the municipality, thinking along the lines of sustainability and in the medium-long term.
For 2021, in line with what has been done so far, the plan will also offer students curricular and postgraduate internships, awards and scholarships, and competitions will be organized on emerging issues to encourage a spirit of initiative and develop problem-solving skills, including by participating in international experiences.
Cultural events are part of the program: the POPLAR Festival, the “Trento Cultural Footprint” project and the “Teatro della Meraviglia” Festival.
In general, the plan also aims to identify services that can be useful to citizens, to promote participation and discussion on mobility and the attractiveness of the city, but also to support the shared decision-making and define tools for evaluating results and citizens' satisfaction.
The new projects
The new projects focus on themes of interest for the city in a variety of areas: measures to manage the digital transition in a smart city like Trento, research activities in support of policies and actions for children and teenagers, and various actions to promote a better quality of life in the city and facilitate the integration of those who decide to settle in Trento for study or work, taking into account, in particular, new mobility options, the ongoing transformation processes and urban regeneration projects.
In more detail, the plan provides for the establishment of an Observatory for childhood and adolescence, because the ability to plan effective strategies can only be based on research work and advanced analytical skills through the collection and analysis of relevant data. After all, this is a priority for Trento, which in 2019 was the first Italian city to be recognized as a friendly city for children and adolescents, according to the new parameters and criteria established by UNICEF, and is currently one of the few cities that maintains this recognition through policies and actions for continuous improvement.
"Vivere e lavorare a Trento nell’epoca dello smart working: per una città più attrattiva" (Living and working in Trento in the age of smart working: a more attractive city) is a project that aims to stimulate people who arrived to Trento for work or study reasons to stay longer and to attract new citizens not only from the academic environment. With the pandemic, in fact, the number of people working from home increased significantly and made it easier to live in new places, even far from the workplace. With a healthy and attractive natural environment, quality services and a positive social and relational environment, the city of Trento is an ideal destination.
In addition to these, the plan includes the projects that were not completed in the previous planning period because of the covid-19 emergency and of the restrictions put in place to limit mobility and face-to-face activities. This is the case with training and dissemination initiatives in the area of urban security.
The second part of the "Una mappa per trovarsi" project will be completed in 2021; an urban wayfinding system that will start with an invitation to submit ideas, and will be used to make the buildings of UniTrento and Opera Universitaria recognizable, by also enhancing the system of urban relations, i.e. the routes that connect the various university buildings within the city (libraries, canteens and halls of residence).
There are two other initiatives in the area of urban mobility. The project "La città dei 15 minuti e l’accesso al trasporto pubblico" promotes a reflection on how to increase the attractiveness, safety, comfort and accessibility of the new public transport system along the north-south axis. Another focus is on the integrated railway bypass and urban regeneration project. The creation of a tunnel to bypass the city (via Verdi, piazzale Sanseverino, former CTE area and its north area), with an in-depth study on the connections between via Madruzzo, Palazzo delle Albere and the MUSE Museum.
The "Prendere decisioni" project will be completed. It aims to develop shared decision-making skills in students, municipal policy makers and citizens.
UniCittà: the completed projects
The collaboration between the Municipality of Trento and the University has led, over five years, to the completion of various projects to the benefit of citizens. One of the most important was a training initiative to teach citizens how to use automatic defibrillators, which was offered in two editions (2018 and 2020) in collaboration with the Italian Red Cross. Another project, for the construction of a shared bike station near the S. Bartolomeo student residence, is nearing completion. Research activities involving citizens were also carried out, like the survey on the perception of the risks associated with migration, conducted in 2018, in collaboration with the Institute of Security Sciences (ISSTN).
Other projects that received funding provided opportunities for students of the University to reflect on the problems of the city. This is the case with "La Città del Dibattito", which aimed to promote and develop initiatives through open public discussions (2019), and "Ultimo Miglio" – STARDUST, a competition inviting students to design and communicate new mobility options for sustainable transportation, with particular regard to the structuring of an innovative logistics system for the delivery of goods in the city center.
The memorandum of understanding between the City and the University of Trento provides that the collaboration between the two bodies takes place through the establishment of a coordination committee made up of three delegates appointed by the Mayor, three delegates appointed by the Rector, the president of the Opera Universitaria, or a delegate, and a student representative of the University of Trento, appointed by mutual agreement by the University Student Council and by the Consulta degli studenti of the Municipality of Trento.
The Committee drafts every year the Action Program, which must be approved by the Mayor and the Rector, and monitors ongoing activities. Since February 2021 its members are:
- Marco Tubino (coordinator), Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering of the University of Trento;
- Francesca Forno, Department of Sociology and Social Research, University of Trento
- Sara Favargiotti, Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering of the University of Trento
- Chiara Morandini, Director of the Innovation, Research and Digital Transition Service of the Municipality of Trento;
- Laura Begher, Director of the Culture, Tourism and Youth Policies Service of the Municipality of Trento;
- Katia Beatrici, Director of the Economic Development Service of the Municipality of Trento
- Maria Laura Frigotto, President of Opera Universitaria;
- Fiorella Bredariol, representative of University students.
The meetings of the Committee are also attended, with support roles, by Mara Sartori (Support for Institutional Relations and Strategic Documentation, University of Trento), Marco Bertolla (General Management, Municipality of Trento), Federica Graffer (Youth Policy Office, Municipality of Trento).