The case of landscape planning in Italy

From Firenze University Press Journal: Ri-vista

Anna Marson, Department of Architecture and Arts, IUAV University Venice

Landscape planning has been introduced in Italy many decades ago, nevertheless the production of a relevant number of Landscape Plans was attained for the first time in the Nineties, following Law No 431/1985 and its safeguard provision transferring powers from the State to local authorities once planning requirement were fulfilled.

The National Heritage and Landscape Code (D.lgs. 42/2004) has foreseen a new typology of Land-scape Plans and planning processes. On one hand these plans were required to know, safeguard, plan and manage the entire territory, and not only its most valuable Heritage (i.e. special protection areas), “in reason of the different values expressed by the diverse contexts constituting it” (National Heritage and Landscape Code, article 135).

On the other hand, the planning process envisaged was a conjunct one, according to methods and timing negotiated by each regional government subscribing a specific agreement with the Ministry of Heritage. A mandatory content of this co-planning process is the complex and time-consuming so-called ‘dress-ing’ of each special protection area defined by decree or by law, with updated contents regarding its values’ state of preservation and rules for managing transformation issues. A few Regions have in any case agreed to co-plan all the contents, refusing a further jeopardization of their territory as far as the care for the landscape is involved.

A generous commitment, coherent with the challenging definition of ‘Landscape planning’ was given by the European Landscape Convention4, accord-ing to which “it means strong forward-looking action to enhance, restore or create landscapes” (European Landscape Convention, 2000).So far as October 2019, five Italian Regions out of 20 have completed the process of approving their Land-scape Plan according to the Code of Heritage and Landscape: Puglia, Tuscany, Piedmont, Friuli Vene-zia-Giulia, Lazio.

Sardinia also should be mentioned for its Landscape Plan for the coast (Salzano 2013), which although not formally corresponding to the requirements of the Code, has played along the years a huge role in safeguarding the landscape in the area most required for new real estate developments.All these planning processes have required quite a long time, from a minimum of 4–5 years up to 15. The diverse statutes ruling each Region, so that in some cases both adoption and approval were voted by the elected Council, in most cases only the approval, in one case none of these two acts, express only a small part of the many technical and political causes which have concurred to slow down or accelerate the planning processes, and to qualify them through different substantial and procedural choices.

The political debate beyond these plans, accused to further bureaucratize any building permit and to constraint development, has been quite harsh in all regional contexts, and many opposition political parties have campaigned against them. Conversely to what the opponents were in many cases arguing against the plans brought to approval, the experience of these planning processes has brought a change of perspective in Heritage protection, claiming for a closer integration between single assets (single buildings, or single areas) to be protected and the wider context giving them significance.

A list of constraints as that, in this new perspective, is not that much useful, the real target of protection and enhancement being the cultural frame giving structure to each landscape.


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