Smartdest

TURIN CASE STUDY 

Students’ mobilities as driver of exclusive urban transformations

From 1980s to the 2000s: Fordist crisis and city-image transformation

  • Population decline and the dismantling of FIAT
  • 1995 new masterplan
  • A public-private pro-growth coalition led the city through a new political agenda and culture-led rebranding strategy
  • 1st strategic plan: territorial marketing and international competition

From 2006 to 2015: Lights and dark sides of the Olympics and the myth of the mega event

  • 2006 Winter Olympic Games
  • 2nd strategic plan: strengthening the city’s human capital and HE’s attractive capacity
  • Olympics left 4 M. debt + 2008 great economic recession and cut in public investments
  • Local institutions struggled to set an agenda able to change the fate of the city
  • 2015 3rd strategic plan: re-positioning on a national and international level and the new role of HE

2012-2022: Toward Turin as University City

  • 2012 municipal project “Torino Città Universitaria”: HE as poles around which organizing opportunities and attractiveness.
  • 2014 “Study in Torino” website and brand
  • 2016 ”Turin Open for Business” city strategy of RE international capital attraction on university-related urban transformations
  • 2021 won the bid for the Winter Universiade of
  • 2025: Foster the image of Turin as a student destination and increase the offer of accommodation facilities

Rise of mobile populations and declining resident population

2023

120.000 HE students enrolled

(city pop. 860.000)

50% off-site

Students’ economic contribution = 3,6% of Turin GDP 

[Il Sole 24 Ore]

2007-2016

 +74% tourists

Metropolitan City

2007-2019

– 37.000 inhabitants

City of Turin

Increase in the pressure of students over the resident populations

PBSA investments find in the growing universities a promising market

A critical socioeconomic context

Work
2018
33% youth unemployment rate

housing
31,5% of household’s income in housing

2019
2.500 evictions, 91% due to rent arrears

WICKED PROBLEM

In a context of knowledge economy reconversion, increasing student mobilities enact forms of exclusion since they are embedded into broader processes of urban restructuring that hinge on these mobilities. The relative immobility of residents compared to the practices of mobile students makes the former a vulnerable population.

The main drivers to tackle:

  • creation of retailscapes (especially nightlife ones) that cater almost exclusively to students
  • reduction of services and housing available to the non-student population

RESEARCH FOCUS & METHODOLOGIES

Site-specific urban transformations variously connected to the increase in student mobilities and producing excluded subjects in the 3 ‘hotspots’ identified and the conflicts that may arise:

  • quantitative analysis of the vulnerability of the area
  • cartographic analysis of the evolution of students’ dwellings
  • 34 semi-structured interviews
  • participation in meetings of local associations and/or City committees
  • survey on student housing conditions and life quality (1.539 answers)

EXCLUSIVE TRANSFORMATIONS IN AURORA DISTRICT

Unplanned space transformation to open new HE facilities and attract students drive social exclusion in already fragile contexts

  1. the former Maria Adelaide Hospital will be converted into a university student residence;
  2. increasing relevance in the geography of students’ nightlife in the Borgo Rossini.
  3. Turin’s branch of luxury residence The Student Hotel will open the Mosca Bridge area.

ATTRACTIVE STUDENT DESTINATION AT THE EXPENSES OF RESIDENT POPULATION

DETERMINANTS OF LIFE QUALITY DETRIMENT

Reduction of services for the entire population

Student oriented leisure economy

Exclusive use of public space

Increasing housing prices

The Covid-19 pandemic has made more evident the crisis of the welfare system and exacerbated already existing tensions and conflicts over some crucial city agendas

Despite the pandemic having unearthed the vulnerability of an urban economy biased towards the attraction of a specific mobile population, the design of the projects on student accommodation facilities went on without including those residents and associations already working on the selected areas.

COPING STRATEGIESkey factors revealed in field-work

  • Protests have raised from various sides against the growing privatization and urban transformations around student accommodations
  • The grassroots association Riapriamo il Maria Adelaide, created by some of the former staff members of the hospital, was relaunched
  • Residents facing the transformation of the main square of Borgo Rossini into a nightlife venue tried to resist this process and claim their rights

The Turin’s NightLife CityLab

WHAT?

The Turin CityLab as a community of practice to

improve exchange of knowledge, collective analysis, and co-design of solutions on the theme of night life and of its physical and social dimension, creating opportunities for local stakeholders to meet, discuss, share information, ideas, and practices.

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PARTICIPANTS

The Barcelona CityLab as a community of practice to:

Selection criteria

  • Data producers and users
  • Expertise and professional knowledge on tourism and housing
  • Representants of communities of concern
Immagine19

Nighttime
stakeholders

Experts on night
and youth policies

The Turin
Municipality

Night club managers (20 participants), music festival organizers (4 participants), associations working on/with music (11 participants), music collectives of young (7 participants), scholars and researchers in the night and youth studies (3 participants), associations working with the young population in Turin (5 participants), and other stakeholders such as cultural centers, journalist with expertise on night issues, and bank foundations with dedicated funds to youth (6 participants), members of the interdepartmental table of Turin municipality on nighttime (5 participants), officials from the youth policies department of the Turin municipality (5 participants), and from other departments of the Turin municipality (culture, events, public safety, equal opportunities) (3 participants)

HOW?

Co-design of scenarios on possible future evolutions of night life and of gathering places and spaces in the city, potentially suitable for triggering regeneration processes; identifying concrete and implementable actions aimed at mitigating critical aspects of night-time as well as solution and tools aiming to inform urban policies.

  • Data collection on night-time aggregation and governance
  • 27 in-depth semi-structured interviews
  • Collective mapping
  • Focus groups and Word café
  •  

Co-Design Process

KNOWLEDGE CO-CONSTRUCTION

(October 2022-January 2023)

Technical interdepartmental on night-time activities management and Interviews campaign

  • Data collection;
  • Interviews and mapping, considering spatial dimension;
  • Identification of themes, assets, drivers, through elicitation.

EMERGING PRIORITY NEEDS AND VISIONS

(January 2023)

First Workshop

  • Discussion on identified drivers, in thematic groups;
  • Discussion on desirable futures, in thematic groups;
  • Scenario-building

STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT

(February 2023)

Second workshop

  • Discussion on tools and policies, in thematic groups;
  • Discussion on inputs coming from the groups with the City council technical table.

CITYLAB’S OUTPUTS

i. Mapping potential area to develop night-time activities

ii. Identification of policies with the potential to make nightlife more inclusive.

iii. Lay the ground for a nightlife strategic plan.

Proposed actions to be implemented:

  • More detailed mapping of the different night stakeholders and an evaluation of the social and economic impact of their activities;
  • Greater public-private synergy;
  • Simplification of specific city regulation (i.e. selling alcohol after 3 a.m., safety and security regulation considered too limiting);
  • Establishment of a permanent night council or establishment of several night committees, in order to codesign shared guidelines for night activities.

Further actions relate with the governance, narration of the night and creativity, infrastructures and networks.

OUTCOMES: INNOVATION AND LEGACY

LEGACY

Our research team will support the Municipality on the Mover la Movida

project till June 2023 and possibly beyond, in order to support policy implementation starting from the indications of the CityLab.

Benefits to end-users

  • Shared solution and ideas to the attention of the Municipality
  • Networking among actors involved
  • Data access for research & other purposes

FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES

As far as policy is concerned, the CityLab could therefore represent a first (and founding) step towards a participatory and co-designed redefinition of nightlife policies.

CITYLAB PARTICIPANT’S EVALUATION

Knowledge-sharing

Intellectually stimulating

Useful

Enjoyable

Participation

Representative and balanced proactive

Commitment of decision-makers

Organisation

Efficient, practical, informed

Productive collaboration