Local endogenous development
and urban regeneration of small alpine towns



Form 1 - Partner’s introduction

Name of the partner

Regione Piemonte (Piemonte Regional Authority).

Institutional role of the partner

(General information on all sectors of competence and degree of administrative capacity).

Name of the sector in charge of managing AlpCity

Division Budget Planning and Statistics.

Role of the sector within the partner's administrative structure

(Information on specific competences, policies and services).

Direzione Programmazione e Statistica is responsible for supporting the Regional Government in defining the strategic objectives of the Regional Development Programme (Programma Regionale di Sviluppo), sectoral plans and plans to be assigned to the Regional Government and others Divisions. It is also in charge of assisting each Division in achieving the objectives defined by the Regional Government.

AlpCity is under the responsibility of the Regional Head Division 8.3 – Valutazione progetti e proposte di atti di programmazione negoziata (Evaluation of projects and proposals of negotiated planning acts). In agreement with the Regional Government, the division’s activities are: control of the policies of selective planning; coordination, monitoring and evaluation of the impacts of the Regional Investment Fund; technical assistance and support for area and sectoral planning; development and evaluation of the economic impact of projects, plans and programmes for which an aid to decision has been requested by the Regional Government; support to the regional Government bodies concerning the pre-selection and monitoring of the acts of negotiated planning as to the Law DL 662/96; connection and procedural aspects re. sub-regional planning.

(AlpCity project was originally devised under the Direzione Edilizia - Housebuilding Management - and then moved to Division Budget Planning and Statistics).

Partner's expected benefits from the participation to AlpCity

Regione Piemonte originally conceived the initial AlpCity project-idea and is now Lead Partner. The expected benefits are several:

  • to promote at European, national, regional and local level the attention, understanding, transnational collection and exchange of practices re. the local development and regeneration of small alpine towns
  • to promote - if possible, together with the partners - policies, programmes, actions re. the project's fields at all levels at which it may proved appropriate
  • to develop innovative local cases within its own territory that helps to increase good practices and also to consider how to face problems at a strategic level

Indicate the WPs (5-8) in which the partner will undertake local case-projects (and if the partner is WP responsible)

Regione Piemonte will undertake local cases within WP5 (economic development - 1 case), WP6 (services/quality of life - 1 case) and WP7 (urban environment - 2 cases).

Organisational expectations from the participation to one or more specific WP5-8 (case-projects)

(The WP must have internal rules? Which ones? How do you see the role of the WP responsible? How do you think exchange of experiences within the WP should be promoted? What could be the ways to structure the WP: distinct meetings, news by email? Others?).

In Piemonte's view, the WP responsible should promote exchanges within the WP, hence around the specific approach to the local development question (economic or social, etc.), by means of:

  • collecting material and information on the WP cases and distributing them among WP participants, in order to develop common understanding, exchange of practices, discussions at meetings
  • cooperate with the SSC as far as the WP objectives and contents are concerned
  • helping the LP with designing the concerned WP page and updates
  • preparing a short report on progress and aspects of interest at each project meeting and for obligatory project reporting duties
  • prepare a contribution to the final report on the WP to describe the common understanding reached on the topic, describe the cases, suggest policies and guidelines

The WP participants should actively and creatively help the responsible by providing the material and information when and as needed, additional references and material for the web site, and also by involving other experts, bodies, etc within their cases and the WP's activities.

No expenses are foreseen for distinct WPs meeting. Hence, unless WP participants decide to do so, the WPs meetings should be a session of the general project meeting (in parallel with the local cases sessions).

Expectations from the work of AlpCity Scientific Steering activities

The LP has very high expectations from the work of the SSC, of which it is the management responsible. The SSC is expected to undertake all the activities described in the Partnership Agreement, becoming in a way the "scientific brain" of the project.

Form 2 - Description of the concerned territory (geographic and/or institutional areas)

Administrative areas within the region

(What are the administrative levels within the region for different policy, planning, and project purposes? What are the different competences within these areas? What is the relationship between these levels and the small towns? The mountains?).

The main administrative levels within an Italian region are Province (provinces) and Comuni (local authorities). At mountain level there are also the Comunitŕ Montane (mountain communities, which assembles a few local authorities).

The Piedmontese Provinces are: Asti, Alessandria, Biella, Cuneo, Novara, Torino, Verbano-Cusio-Ossola,Vercelli.

There are 48 48 Mountain Communities (Comunità Montane) - update 2004.

Brief description of the mountain character within the whole partner's territory

(Examples: what part is covered by mountains, what are the types of mountain (high, medium, low), which is the quota of the population living in mountain areas, what is the role of the mountain areas in the regional economy, etc.).

Piemonte is largely a mountain region (high, medium and low). The name itself indicates its location near the mountains. The table below illustrates the altitude levels within the region. 34% of the territory is above 600 m from the sea level. It boasts a small number of over 3.000 m peaks. The mountains are mostly Alps and located in the western and northern parts of the region. At south, the Appennine divides with Liguria.

The overall mountain territory covers 1.3 ml sqm (around 52% of the total area), accounts for a population of over 660.000 inhabitants (around 15%) and includes 531 Communes (44%) and 48 Mountain Communities (13% in Italy).

The mountain areas plays a very important role in terms of covered area and partially of population, but have lost part of their economic and overall social and cultural role during the industrialisation and urbanization processes of the XIX and XX centuries.

Map of the Mountain Communities

Structure of the towns within the region

(Examples: size, hierarchy, demographic and economic changes, main social and economic problems).

According to Census 2001, the regional population is 4.214.677.

The major towns are: Torino (865.263), Novara (100.910) and Asti (71.276). The Region is generally dominated by the regional capital, Torino, which has grown massively in the 50s-60s due to the processes of industrialization and immigration from South and East.

Torino is still the 4th major town in Italy but has lost population constantly during the last years, mainly in favour of the Province (de-urbanization), but also to other part of the country and for internal demographic decrease. The town is undergoing a de-industrialization process, mainly connected with the crisis of Fiat and of other major industries.

Regione Piemonte has a very high number of Local Authorities (1.206 over 8.101 in the whole of Italy). Many are small: Piemonte hosts 18% of Local Authorities in Italy with less than 5.000 pop.

Names of the case-projects (described in Form 3) and all administrative area/s involved
  • Local development and Olympic Winter Games in two Olympic resorts (Eredità Olimpica) - Pragelato in upper Chisone Valley and Prali in the Germanasca valley (WP5)
  • The school in mountain areas (La scuola di montagna) - Park of the Maritime Alps (WP6)
  • To live in mountain areas (Abitare in montagna) - Valle Maira and Valle Po, Province of Cuneo (WP7)
  • The renewal of abandoned mountain villages/hamlets (Recuperare le borgate abbandonate di montagna) - Town of Noasca, Valle dell'Orco, Province of Torino (WP7)

Number of inhabitants in these areas (please list all individual towns and other administrative levels concerned by each case-project)

Park of the Maritime Alps (major towns involved: Entracque pop. 800 and Valdieri pop. 965):

Mountain Community Valle Maira (Acceglio, Busca, Canosio, Cartignano, Celle Macra, Dronero, Elva, Macra, Marmora, Prazzo, Roccabruna, San Damiano Macra, Stroppo, Villar San Costanzo): 20.979 pop. (2001)

Mountain Community Valle Po , Bronda e Infernotto: Bagnolo Piemonte, Barge, Brondello, Castellar, Crissolo, Envie, Gambasca, Martiniana Po, Oncino, Ostana, Paesana, Pagno, Revello, Rifreddo, Sanfront): 27.993 pop. (2001)

Town of Noasca: 270 pop.

Upper Chisone Valley 2.290 pop. (2003) distributed as follows: Fenestrelle 597; Pragelato 543; Roure 957; Usseaux 193 Germanasca Valley 2.352 pop (2003) distributed as follows: Massello 65; Perrero 777; Pomaretto 1.112; Prali 324; Salza di Pinerolo 74

Specific issues on the structure of the towns in these mountain areas

Park of the Maritime Alps: a recently created and very active regional park. In this part of the Alps, major sky resorts are not as developed as in the Province of Torino. Beside the population decrease, there is only a very family-oriented and local tourism.

Valle Maira: de-population and lack of new forms of economic development. A well preserved valley, not well known but appreciated by few (some foreigners) exactly for these aspects.

Valle Po: dominated by the characteristic shape of the Mount Monviso, where the Po river originates; the valley has similar socio-economic conditions to Valle Maira but, despite those striking landscape features, it is even less known.

Town of Noasca: small town in the middle part of the Valle dell'Orco, within the National Park of Gran Paradiso; de-population and few activities.

The municipalities of Upper Chisone Valley and of the Germanasca Valley --even if enriched with a unique natural and cultural environment- both suffer of depopulation and abandonment of agricultural activities;
as locations of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games are now facing a challenging moment that has to be monitored

Economic profile of these towns: regional functions & external functions

These areas have more an economic function at local and provincial level. At regional level: some tourism, small industrial activities, traditional agricultural, local products and energy.

Social image of the mountains within the region

(Examples: symbolic values attached to the mountains, level of attractiveness for residential and/or leisure time activities, level of repulsiveness, differences among community and social groups. Please comment your replies!).

Given the variety of mountains and spread of the area covered, there are many different areas and connected perceptions.

Many Piedmontese have a good knowledge of the regional mountains, they may still hold their family home, and spend weekend and holidays there. Like in other regions of Northern Italy, quite some people exercise some form of alpine sport/activity, and there are lots of organisations connected with a leisure and environmental view of the mountains.

However, beside some famous sky resorts, second homes enclaves and few historic exceptions, the Alps are mainly perceived as a run-down, old-age people and uncomfortable place to live in, with not much of an economic and social life. Even if people are very attached, there is still a sense of the mountain as a "world of the defeated" (from the title of a book). This is particularly true in the southern part (a few valley of the Province of Cuneo) and in the northern part. The lack of good accessibility in some valleys reinforce this sense of exclusion.

The Province of Torino has more medium size centres with a younger population, successful sky resorts and gravitates also around the metropolitan area of Torino (commuting phenomenon).

The awareness of the cultural richness and variety is growing, even if it might not have become an engine for economic development: for example as far as the Occitans are concerned, or the Waldesians (in Germanasca Valley).

Policies for the mountain

(Is there a specific legislation concerning mountain areas? E.g. national, regional, other levels. What are the main points? Please indicate also the references and dates. Besides legal instruments, is there a specific partner's political approach vis-ŕ-vis the mountains? What are the objectives? What are differences with other areas/regions?).

National level
  • Legge n° 1102 del 03-12-1971, Establishment of the mountain communities
  • Legge 8 giugno 1990, n. 142, Ordinamento delle autonomie locali (Law on local autonomous administrative authorities and bodies)
  • Legge 31 gennaio 1994, n. 97, Nuove disposizioni per le zone montane (New guidance for mountain areas - last important national law on mountain areas)
  • D.L. 18 Agosto 2000 n. 267 Testo unico delle leggi sull'ordinamento degli enti locali (Incorporated law text on local administrative bodies)
  • Proposal for a new Law on the mountain?
Regional level
  • Legge regionale 2 luglio 1999, n. 16. - Testo unico sulle leggi di montagna (Incorporated law text on the mountain legislation)
  • Legge regionale 19/2003 - Changes to the Law 2 luglio 1999, n. 16
  • Legge regionale 26 aprile 2000, n. 44 Disposizioni normative per l'attuazione del decreto legislativo 31 marzo 1998, n. 112 Conferimento di funzioni e compiti amministrativi dello Stato alle Regioni ed agli Enti locali
  • Legge regionale 23 febbraio 2004, n. 3 Incentivazione dell'esercizio associato di funzioni e servizi comunali. Prime disposizioni (Incentive mechanisms for the joint management of functions and services)
  • Deliberazione del Consiglio Regionale n. 102-36778 del 12 dicembre 2000 L.r. 16/1999, art.4. Fasce altimetriche e di marginalitŕ socio economica". (Levels above the sea and socio-economic marginalisation)