Local endogenous development
and urban regeneration of small alpine towns


WP7 Veneto

Renovation and optimum use of abandoned rural buildings once used for production purposes

Case-project abstract

Renovation and optimum use of production premises of historic and/or architectural interest (stalls, barns, timber works, mills, kilns, etc.) in order to promote their transformation and re-use, for new purposes and in order to prevent collapse and ruin, impairing the countryside.

The aim of the project is to identify a method and/or practice to convert the architectural, historic and cultural heritage of these small Alpine areas. The purpose is to safeguard the unspoilt beauty of the countryside and to hand it down over the generations, arresting the current process of physical and socio-economic decline which has affected these types of mountain area for years. The actions are not ones related to hibernation or nostalgic attempts to recover an ancient sense of the mountains, but an effort to find a sustainable way forward for these areas which is compatible with their natural resources.

The aim is to bring life to urban and rural areas in relation to their natural vocation and providing them with new functions.

Reasons for the choice of this case-project

The Veneto Regional Authority and the two mountain Communities involved in the project (Agordino and Comelico) have always been very sensitive to the problems of mountain regions and, in particular, Alpine and Dolomite areas.

The development, safeguarding and upgrading of the delicate social and economic fabric of small mountain regions and valleys are a matter or urgent concern for the local authorities involved in the project. It provides an excellent opportunity to identify methods and good practices, find proper solutions to concrete situations of decay in many mountain areas and to exchange experience with other Italian and overseas authorities facing similar problems.

The areas chosen for the case studies are representative of a series of characteristic, recurring problems in the Veneto and Alpine region, and were chosen for the Alpcity project on the basis of their representative nature.

The decision was also based on the innovative nature of the project and on the ability to "export" the project to other regions.

Adopted methodology

The project will identify two local authorities, one in Comelico and one in Agordino, for a feasibility study on the re-use of abandoned former production facilities.

  • Identification of the buildings
  • Hypotheses concerning new use
  • Hypotheses about the work required
  • Resources required for implementation
  • Plans for actual implementation

Expected benefits (local and regional levels)

The two Mountain Communities involved intend to use the project to encourage the concrete transformation and re-use of the architectural heritage of the area, renewing the buildings and giving them a use for future generations.

Are follow-up activities foreseen ?

If the proposed area of action, concerning the reuse of former production facilities, is accepted as part of the Alpcity project, it is the intention of the Mountain Community of Agordina to identify sources of funding for the concrete implementation of the plans in relation to buildings of historic importance, providing them with new applications and preventing them falling into decay and ruin, damaging the Alpine countryside.

The Mountain Community of Comelico e Sappada believes that the project could be useful in the entire Alpine region. By adopting innovative financial and statutory instruments, the owners of buildings my be able to convert the properties to new use, as recommended by the project.

The area of Comelico borders on the Val Pusteria - East Tyrol - Carnia and is already being used a san experimental centre for the entire region through programmes such as Interreg II and III.

Expected value added (other than financial) from the participation to an INTERREG project

Together with foreign partners, to develop initiatives in the tourist, historical and cultural areas, in order to exchange information and knowledge (and mutual understanding) about mountain regions. Irrespective of the positive economic fallout of the project which will certainly benefit local communities, the exchange of information and the creation of social and economic relations between the partners will be of the utmost importance, transforming the Alpine area into a buffer zone rather than barrier, uniting peoples and economies, pooling resources and sharing opportunities.

To pursue an idea of sustainable economic and social growth which can be "exported" to other areas.

Expected transnational exchange benefit gained from the case

(Cases should not tackle exclusively local problems. Where in the whole Alpine Space Programme area can similar problems be found? And where can good practice be found?)

Currently there is no information about any similar areas in the Alps. One of the reasons the Veneto Regional Authority wants to take part in the project is to find out what areas are similar and to exchange information about good practice with them, seeking common solutions to architectural renovation and reutilization problems in mountain communities.

Output indicators
  • Recognition of existing resources in the Alpine region of the Veneto with particular reference to areas included in the Regional Plan;
  • Comparison between the various situations of the Alps represented by the various partners in relation to the potential discovered in small Alpine centres in the Veneto;
  • Evaluation of the results obtained with the current planning instruments used by the Veneto Regional Authority and local communities;

Implementation of feasibility studies to:

  • Define good practice for planning in mountain areas;
  • Draw up strategic projects for the reutilization of former production premises.

The following project outputs are anticipated

  • Buildings identified
  • Feasibility studies carried out
  • Projects for reutilization and implementation

Impact indicators
  • Improvement of the quality of the urban environment
  • Optimization of the architectural, historic and cultural heritage
  • Arrest of physical, economic and social decline
  • Increase in population

Name of the town/s concerned (please list all individual towns and other administrative levels concerned by each case-project)

I Comuni coinvolti nel caso studio saranno probabilmente i seguenti:

The local authorities involved in the study cases will probably be:

  • Comelico Superiore for the Comunitŕ montana del Complico e Sappada
  • Canale D'Agordo, Cencenighe Agordino, Falcade, S. Tommaso Agordino,Vallada Agordina for the Comunitŕ montana dell'Agordina

See the enclosed *.pdf file with maps

Demographic, social and economic situation of the town/s concerned and specifically identified problems

The local authority of Comelico Superiore has been abandoned over the years by many inhabitants (the population statistics over the years are as follows 1951: 4,102 / 1961: 3,736 / 1971: 3,489 / 1981: 3,108 / 1991: 2,853 / 2001: 2,446), added to the negative birth/death rate.

In Montana Agordina, in the past ten years the population has fallen sharply - 6.17% from 31.12.1993 to 31.12.2003.-Due to the poor socio-economic prospects, people tend to leave the area and move to towns on the Agordino valley bottom, particularly to Agordo and Taibon Agordino.

Role of the mountain resource within the local development chances of the town/s concerned (positive or negative)

The mountain area chosen is particularly suited to the improvement of public spaces by the renovation of buildings, of historic and architectural interest. These include stalls and barns (tabiŕ), timber yards and mills powered by water and kilns (calchere) for the production of lime.- The areas put forward include populations and villages throughout the Alpine region above an altitude of 1000m.: settlements in Walser in the Western Alps and others in the central Alps, with some small German communities in the upper valleys of Lumiei in Carnia.

The model of reutilization of former production premises could be copied elsewhere, throughout the Alps, preserving an important architectural, historical, anthropological and cultural heritage which cannot be replaced. The project could provide further stimulus to the creation of the "Alpine City", representing unique values and - now more than ever - "added value" for a model of sustainable economic and social growth in mountain areas.

Expected contribution of the foreseen actions towards the development of the town/s concerned

It is hoped that the project will lead to concrete actions in the immediate future by the involvement of public and private bodies. In particular, it is hoped that the current trend of decay in Alpine centres will be reversed, by renovating former production premises (with new applications) and increasing tourism, exhibitions, didactics, research and so on.

The anticipated benefits include:

  • Restoring former production sites and giving them new uses (for tourism, hotels, farm tourism, craft industry, shops, etc.)
  • Improvement of the quality of the countryside and architectural, historical and cultural heritage safeguarding the original beauty of the areas.
  • Arrest of the process of both physical and socio-economic decline through experimentation with models of sustained and balanced development.
  • Use of local resources for the creation of new resources and employment opportunities in order to attract new settlers.

Who is the responsible for the concrete development of the project?

(Partner, university, local authority, consultants, other institutes? Why has it been chosen?)

The consultant will probably be chosen by tender.

How are activities sub-contracted? ? (if it is the case)

External consultants will be selected by tender.

Beside the partner, which administrative authorities are involved in the project? How?

The local authorities involved include the Mountain Communities of Comelico e Sappada and Agordina.
They will take part in all local meetings about case studies and in any international meetings scheduled during the course of project implementation.

Who are the main local/regional project actors?

The Veneto Regional Authority, the Mountain Communities of Comelico and Sappada and Agordina, local authorities involved in the project, "Rules" Associations and other economic, political, cultural and social bodies considered relevant.

The case is isolated or integrated within a broader frame/ programme of activities?

Case studies are integrated because they impact on approved and/or proposed Regional Authority plans.

The actions involved in these plans do not have financial support.

The Comelico case study also refers to local planning which specifies subsequent actions to promote the area.

Timetable for the project development (July 2004 - May 2006)

As a matter of principle, the planning activities for the case studies will follow the general Alpcity schedule; timing will be agreed with Partners in the WP and specifically with the WP manager.

Total cost for the case (Euros)

About € 90,000.

Are experts (non SSC) involved into the case and research activities undertaken for the case? What is their role?

External consultants will be used: experts in mountain areas and, particularly, in Alpine regions.