An Integrated Plan for the old City Centre

Old City Centre

The aim is to revitalise Genoa’s old city centre, one of the largest and most beautiful in Europe, whose fabric is woven from a network of stratified social and cultural relations. The plan’s assets are based on precise values that the city wishes to consolidate: namely, supportive conversation, citizen and entrepreneurial participation in its implementation, the widespread distribution of strongly integrated projects and sustainability. 

This vision will be realised in the ten areas of intervention listed below. 

Following the example of projects in the likes of Copenaghen, Melbourne and Paris, one of the various innovative ideas adopted was inspired by the “quarter-hour city”: meaning that, in order to protect the identity of the neighbourhood, a heritage of inestimable value, the services and infrastructure for living, working, having fun, playing a sport, eating and practising other activities must be reachable either on foot or by bike in no more than 15 minutes.

The approach chosen is itself a strong element of innovation. The people of Genoa have been invited to reappropriate spaces by consolidating their sense of belonging and solidarity, intervening in the drawing up of the Plan and collaborating on its implementation. The City of Genoa is assuming a coordinative and supervisory role, supporting change that begins at a grassroots level with shared projects implemented in a number of many different ways. 

The Integrated Plan for the Old City Centre was launched at the end of December 2020 and is scheduled for completion in December 2025. 

First steps of the plan

The first months of implementation of the Plan saw the setting up of a control roomthe Urban Center, a flexible, lean structure designed to prepare the carrying out of the various projects. Among its various tasks is that of acknowledging and collating the demands of citizens, associations and public and private bodies.  

A great many projects have already been launched, all with a vision that pivots on solidarity, sustainability and relations. The old city centre is thus becoming a testing ground for mindful lifestyles

- “Food at the Centre”: a project whereby six proximity associations recover and redistribute surplus food according to a collaborative economy model.

- “Vicini dei Caruggi”: name of the competition for the creation of “neighborhood caretaking”, the aim of which will be to provide citizens with small solidarity-based services such as babysitting and assistance at pegged prices. Some properties confiscated from the mafia have been assigned to an association for home assistance to the terminally ill.  

- Full-electric shuttle bus: public transport has entered the heart of the old city for the first time with a bus, which that runs down even the narrowest lanes to offer a sustainable free transport service to residents and visitors. 

Currently under assessment: co-living schemes for the rehabilitation and renovation of housing for under 40s and an art and music vocational hub in Palazzo Rebuffo Serra. 

The plan's areas of intervention for the period 2020-2025

The Plan is subdivided into ten areas of intervention: from urban projects to maintenance and technological intervention, from social and educational assistance to a commerce plan, public illumination, safety, tourism, cleaning and mobility.

1) Urban projects
The aim of this plan is to give a boost to the regeneration of the old city centre, especially the housing stock. A great many interventions are in the pipeline. Riverbanks and the historic city walls will be restored. The “Umbre de Muri” project will regenerate 11 piazzas. The area of the “Quadrilateral, the former Jewish Ghetto.” will undergo redevelopment and social renewal. Cultural and non-profit associations will receive redeveloped property confiscated from mafia organisations in concession, rent-free. Young couples will be incentivised to live in the old city centre with market-pegged social rents. A diffuse hotel and a diffuse students’ residence will be developed in public-owned properties. Special measures will be taken to carry out demolition work, if necessary, to create small piazzas

Time frame: from 1 to 5 years (according to the type of intervention)

Estimated investment: 35,520,200 euros 

2) Maintenance and technological innovation
The historical and architectural heritage of the old city centre is in need of interventions to optimise its cultural role. A campaign of renovation and maintenance work will be undertaken on museums and public and school buildings. The tower of Palazzo Ducale will be restored and private owners will have easy-term access to the so-called “Façade Bonus”. Optical fibre will be installed throughout the old centre. 

Time frame: from 1 to 5 years (according to the type of intervention)

Estimated investment: 31,697,000 euros

3) New public illumination 
The illumination of the streets, lanes, piazzas and buildings of the old city centre will be improved to optimise its artistic, cultural and commercial heritage. The LED lamps used will ensure the increased luminosity of up to 200% and an energy saving of 50% a year. Historical buildings such as the Palazzi dei Rolli will be lit up as will the piazzas involved in the “Umbre de Muri” project, with artistic effects.

Time frame: from 1 to 5 years (according to the type of intervention)

Estimated investment: 6,340,000 euros

4) Safety project 
People living, working and travelling to the old city centre will note a higher level of safety. This will be made possible thanks to a greater local police presence, video surveillance and prevention. Measures are being studied to stop the abandonment of houses and property. 

Time frame: from 6 months to 5 years (according to the type of intervention)

Estimated investment: 8,428,740 euros

5) Social-educational assistance 
Projects aimed at integrating the many social realities of the old city centre will centre around citizens, families, the elderly, the fragile, children and youngsters. The proposals are many and various: educational courses for young people, support for sports activities; the creation of an “immigration monitoring unit” with contact persons in the various communities, and more besides. Accessible itineraries and an ethical hotel, managed with the collaboration of the physically challenged, will be installed, together with an inter-generational co-living community and co-housing for women who are victims of violence

Time frame: from 6 months to 5 years (according to the type of intervention)

Estimated investment: 14.993.000 euros

6) Commerce plan 
The plan will support proximity commerce by incentivising new openings of commercial, artisanal and professional businesses and sustaining existing activities with a policy of easy-term rents and leases, including the leasing of 200 municipal and private properties rent-free for five years, and more besides. The Piazza dello Statuto market and the surrounding area will become a new commercial and tourist hub and the Carmine area will be optimised. The plan will also support business districts, promote historical shops and create outdoor craft workshops.

Time frame: from 6 months to 5 years (according to the type of intervention)

Estimated investment: 15,080,000 euros

7) Cleaning plan
This action programme aims to strengthen ordinary and extraordinary cleaning. Purchasing electric vehicles for the purpose. It will also set up a control squad, increase the separate collection of different kinds of household waste, and organise civic and environmental education courses

Time frame: from 6 months to 2 years (according to the type of intervention)

Estimated investment:  5,894,200 euros

8) Intelligent mobility
In Genova intelligent mobility follows a double-track policy of accessibility and eco-sustainability Walking and cycling – with bike and scooter parking facilities, bicycle parking stations, itineraries and signposting – will be incentive to modify the habits of inhabitants, workers and tourists. The Eco-delivery project will seek to reduce the transit of pollutant vehicles. 

Time frame: from 6 months to 2 years (according to the type of intervention)

Estimated investment:  2,630,000 euros

9) Tourism and leisure time 
The old city centre of Genoa is full of architectural and cultural jewels. The plan aims to improve its overall attraction. The Palazzi dei Rolli, Churches, Walls, Quayside Warehouses and Piazzas of the old “Alberghi nobiliari”, organised groups of noble families, will all be highlighted. The plan will identify 1,500 tourist points of interest, a new tourist information hub will be set up, and new information and tourist card kiosks will be opened. Five new tourist itineraries and 100 attractions and inclusive games with animated guides and augmented reality will be installed. Technology will be widely used with diffuse smart services, digital platforms and online tourist flow monitoring. 

Time frame: from 1 to 3 years (according to the type of intervention)

Estimated investment: 4,782,160 euros

10) The nightlife 
The aim is to improve the quality of nightlife, promoting open spaces such as the old port area, for example, by incentivising footfall in the various clubs, bars and restaurants. Actions in the pipeline include a “Mindful Drinking” campaign for a new quality drinking culture among young people, the setting up of outdoor seating areas, initiatives in collaboration with neighbourhood tradespeople involving children (the “nightlife for young children”), and awareness-raising campaigns against addictions. 

Time frame: from 6 months to 2 years (according to the type of intervention)

Estimated investment: 7,524,000 euro

16123 Genova GE