Mobilita Palermo is based on the active participation of citizens and aims at improving the quality of life in the city.
His young Sicilian team tells us in detail about their initiatives.
What is Mobilita Palermo?
Mobilita Palermo – today Mobilita.org – is a virtual square where citizens and public and private institutions can meet and discuss constructively issues that concern their own territory. It is a web portal that has always been distinguished for its Experimental nature. We are comparable to the classic news headlines, with the difference however that Mobilita believes much in the participation,
More than in the passive consultation of the news. On Mobility, Citizens also become editors, sending their photos, their proposals, reports, articles on themes that are more of a heart. Everything is monitored by an ever-present editorial that welcomes these contributions, revises them and publishes them, without ever losing sight of the objectivity and quality of the interventions. This method not only helps us in managing the workload but also allows everyone to have a voice. We have often received contributions from public officials, engineers, architects, etc. Mobilita did a lot for the city of Palermo, thanks also to the network of collaborations with the other associations that operate in the territory. The work, carried on with the contribution of citizens, has stimulated public opinion and raised important issues before which it was not debated at all: the importance of efficient public transport to the detriment of the private sector, the need for pedestrian spaces, the improvement Quality of life, recovery of portions of land to be returned to the city, the need for green spaces and recreational areas, just to make some examples. In order not to go too far, I could summarize Mobilita as the largest civic culture dispenser in the city of Palermo: a virtual and physical place in which all the people who want to redeem, find themselves growing and prospering their territory , As opposed to rampant degradation and the ignorance of mafia logic, or simply to all those who say that “can not be done”.
What are the results achieved so far in terms of active citizen participation, and what are you working on for the future?
The results are extremely positive. Today Mobilita.org counts hundreds of thousands of users who visit the site every month. Our social channels have more than 40,000 followers and a very high percentage of interactions. Nine years ago we would not even have imagined it
Ettere on something like this, especially if you consider this to be a totally zero-cost project. We make numbers from news headlines without having a budget for employees or advertising. All we have achieved is the result of the work of so many volunteers who have put their passion in what they do, with the only goal of creating positive realities that have the power to really change things and the credibility that this project has accumulated over time, Gaining readers’ confidence. The Palermo experiment has also been replicated in other cities: today Mobilita.org also exists in Catania, Turin and Prato. The kids are doing a great job, and we hope to continue to expand the network to reach all of Italy’s most important cities and to ensure that one day this project can be economically viable and offer more and more useful services to citizens. We have several projects in the pipeline, often based on the use of new technologies for smart cities. We have gained experience in managing community projects, and our yard is always open to new ideas that can create something beautiful for our territory. Our ambition is to create a national network of professional skills at every level, to be one day able to present projects to public and private subjects and try to make our cities more intelligent and functional.
Your team is young: can you easily involve other young people in your business?
I will be honest, it is a massacre, but we continue to insist. If we talk about young people, the task is even more difficult in a city that loses more than 13,000 every year – more than a migratory phenomenon, it is now a true biblical exodus. As I said before, Mobilita.org has been successfully exported to Catania, Turin and Prato. We have contacts with Rome, Milan and Naples, and we hope to further expand. The strategy we adopt is simple, but implementing it is not at all. It is not enough to find susceptible subjects to territorial issues, but they must also be capable people, with aptitude to journalism, with social and possibly communication experiences, and everything must be done voluntarily. How do we succeed? Well, transferring to others the passion we have for this project. We are always transparent, and we try to involve people already rooted in the territories. For example, the editorial staff of Catania is made up of guys who were already activist in their own city, as well as those in Turin and Prato are made up of architects and passionate professionals of sustainable mobility. Our is a team work in all respects: every editorial office manages its own space independently, obviously in full respect of the site policy. After receiving the interest, at our expense, we create new editions, which in almost all cases have no experience in managing a web portal. We teach them to cure social, relationships with users, media and institutions, write a title, imagine an article, and so on. It was a tough job, but it is yielding its fruits, and it returns many satisfactions. We are confident about the growth of this project. Lately, we have invested a lot in our national page to try to attract many users from the rest of Italy and to promote the emergence of new editions. We’re never stuck, but that’s how we like it.
How can our readers work concretely with Mobilita and suggest their solutions to problems that may affect many?
Well, chances are not lacking. On our page we specially set up two sections – “Proposals” and “Reports” – for everyone
Those users who want to send us their contributions. You can imagine a real article using a simple panel,
And send it directly to the editorial staff for review and publication. Also, in the main menu of our home page, you can select the “Join” section to send content of various kinds. Much used is also the “Question & Answer” section, where anyone can ask any question – from what number to call for the collection of bulky waste, at the opening hours of a communal villa, eg. – and other users can respond. You can also label the quality of a received response so that other users can navigate more easily. Many contributions often arrive even through our social pages, such as the group or fan page. In short, as I said earlier, Mobilita.org is entirely based on participation in the city, and it is the community itself that is its essence.
What are the major obstacles you have faced in order to carry out such a project in Palermo?
The major obstacles are limited human and economic resources. Today we handle a portal of hundreds of thousands of users
With four editions that in total count 15 people. You can go ahead with the passion for the project, but of course sooner or later you will have to find its economic sustainability. Obstacles of other nature concern the mentality of some citizens, and especially of the Public Administration. Mobilita.org has never been perceived as a resource by politics. In recent years we have participated in many technical tables, many conferences organized, but at the end of the fair everything was always in place. Today, lapolithic uses associations for image reasons, but there is never the real intention to bring home concrete results. We find this attitude very incorrect, because not only are our services provided for absolutely free, but we also take advantage of our precious time for reasons that then turn out to be futile. In any case, we have always rejected the deployments: we have never taken any part of it, nor have we ever gone against someone in particular, but we have always come to the merits of issues, highlighting everything that has seemed positive to us, as well All we thought was negative. Our only interest is to improve our cities, certainly not to other interests. Obviously, in a context like ours, this intransigence is enough to ensure that beautiful realities are not only never supported but often hindered. It is the price to pay for credibility. Mobility exists also and above all to combat this myopia. However, we have preferred the support of the citizens.
One of the key goals of Mobilita, as well as of Sicily & Sicilians, is the collaboration between the members of the territory in order to enhance and improve it: do you have any advice to give us about it?
The first and only advice is: “believe us“. It is not rhetorical, but a key pillar to carry out such a project. In
In these years the hard times have been so many, yet Mobilita.org has continued to grow. Ours is a slow and steady cultural work, but it slowly grows out of its fruits. Citizens today are more informed and more sensitive to certain issues, so today, mayoral candidates are forced to cover issues such as “sustainable mobility”, “cycling”, “pedestrianizing”, “green areas”, “redevelopment of the historic center” , Etc. Expectations have increased, thanks also to the work of the associations operating in our territory. The card to play is that of the net: to gather all the best realities in the territories and to face common ground to create an opinion and action movement. Spreading culture is the basic prerequisite for realizing a real change. As long as the Palestinians are persuaded to accept all the stubbornness of this city full of contradictions, politics will become more adventurous and nothing will change. Things change when people are conscious, and it demands what is right for them. Palermo needs a lifetime, sniffing change, believing it’s possible. We are facing a crossroads, and only citizens can decide where to go.
Thanks to Mobilita Palermo for having shared with us their positivity and their future goals of upgrading and improving the city of Palermo.