Old buildings make way for young entrepreneurs
Bollenti Spiriti is a programme of the Puglia Region aimed at youth empowerment. Although directed by a sectoral office for social policy, it is explicitly conceived as an integrated programme with an urban development approach, which combines building renovation with the creation of new public facilities for socio-cultural and educational initiatives, valuing the entrepreneurial and creative potential of young generations. The programme’s Urban Laboratories action uses imaginative ways to engage young people in driving forward ideas around growth, the knowledge economy and social inclusion.
In the relatively short time since 2006, the Bollenti Spiriti (‘High Spirits’) programme has been able to mobilise a great number of young people, associations, and municipalities to enhance a network of cultural facilities and social projects supporting creativity as a resource for the region, and empowers young people by encouraging cooperation, participation and coproduction among several stakeholders. The programme also developed a series of participative practices that are innovative in the regional administrative context.
The programme comprises three main actions which run in parallel and are meant to build a system in which youth-based actions will create a critical mass of micro-cultural transforma-tions.
Principi Attivi is a programme aimed at young people (18-32) who are required to form a partnership (minimum two people) and propose an idea for territorial, social or entrepreneurial activities. Good ideas are granted up to EUR 25 000 and given full support for the development and communication. The action has financed 610 projects so far.
The Laboratori Urbani action redevelops public properties using a multi-stakeholder and participative strategy: the regional administration invites municipalities to identify unused buildings in their area, and funds a twofold action for their recovery: first, the physical regenera¬tion of the building, managed by the technical offices of the local administration; second, a public call for an organisation to manage the new facilities for training, education and cultural purposes. These organisations are contracted for five years, and given a start-up contribution for the first year. Since 2006, 150 buildings have been selected. All the regeneration processes have started, and are creating more than 100 000 sq. m. of new public facilities. So far, 109 managing organisations have been contracted, and 91 structures are already fully active.
Libera il Bene is a newly started sister programme of Urban Laboratories aimed at the redevelopment of public properties confiscated from the mafia into social facilities, without targeting young operators.