A recent approach to place development is to construct integrated systems for managing cultural and identity
resources so that they can be enjoyed through ‘experiential itineraries’. These itineraries are designed on the basis of
a survey of existing heritage, with a view to support creative industries or to help develop new ones. Visitor
experience of a place can be further enhanced and virtualised using smart technologies. The aim of this paper is to
illustrate the studies on experiential itineraries. The studies are rooted in the disciplines of psychology and economy,
and, more recently, in disciplines that study places. The author proposes an analysis and design software tool for
identification and enhancement of cultural and identity resources. The tool is a dynamic and interactive platform for
complex and sensitive management of qualitative data of a place. It is conceived as a single platform with different
entry points, both private and public, for local authorities, professionals and citizens. The paper concludes with a
brief presentation of case studies carried out in the historical centres of Palestrina and Gaeta in Italy, both
characterised by low-impact tourism. The main objective of these studies was to achieve smart experiential
knowledge of a place allowing sustainable enjoyment of its resources.
The World Gay Pride week convened in Rome in July 2000 at the same time the Catholic Church planned on celebrating its Holy Year Jubilee. Thousands of gays came together, and by the end of the week more than 200,000 marched through the streets of Rome's historical centre. This unique event provides an opportunity to examine the causal relationship of the gay movement acquiring a political identity of its own while the city of Rome was trying to assert a `proper' identity for its public spaces. Acting in solidarity for the first time since its formation, the gay movement drew attention to the difficulties in securing unrestricted access to Rome's public spaces. Conservative sectors of society challenged the right to demonstrate, as guaranteed in Italy's Constitution, which resulted in the delay of obtaining the necessary permit. On the one hand, this revealed the existence of sectors of society not yet willing to acknowledge gay rights or even discuss gay issues in public; on the other, it helped make clear that the process for building Rome's identity is governed by a specific political design. In particular, policies for the privatisation of urban space in conjunction with discriminatory planning processes in the city's historical centre, point to tourism as a powerful tool to control urban space. Resisting this spatial marginalization the gay movement has significantly widened the scope of its social and political action in order to contest prevailing practices and trends which are shaping the city.
The main public spaces in European cities are the focus of much attention, whereas marginal public spaces are places of neglect and decline. The concentration of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in limited spaces creates a sense of entrapment. The social fragments that have been put next to each other in deprived neighbourhoods, either by market forces or by public planning, start to crack in public places of these neighbourhoods. On the one hand, intensive use of space by some groups excludes and intimidates others. On the other hand, the limited amount of public space is under the threat of encroachment by other demands on a finite commodity. In these places of fragmentation and competition, communication is often difficult, if not impossible, as different social groups speak different languages, have different attitudes and have different frameworks. A public space that allows this diversity to become aware of itself through free expression can be a significant asset for such a diverse population. Improving public places can improve the actual conditions of life in these neighbour- hoods, while injecting a sense of hope and a better image in the eyes of residents and the outside world. Although a key part of good governance, there is no doubt that this should be put in perspective, as one among a number of issues that need addressing.
This article examines the relationship between immigration and urban renewal in Naples during the 1990s through the conflicting representations and uses of Piazza Garibaldi, a large piazza located in front of the city’s central railway station. As well as the hub of the city’s public transport network, since the mid-1980s this piazza has been the multifunctional space for a number of immigrant groups. Re-envisioned as the ‘gateway’ to the city’s regenerated centro storico (historic centre) during the 1990s, the piazza became a focus of public debates on security, tourism and, in particular, immigration. I examine how these issues intersected with political discourses about a renewed sense of citizenship in redefining the piazza as a strategic but problematic public space. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork and analysis of local newspaper reports, the article looks at the ways in which the piazza has been appropriated by different immigrant groups for social and economic purposes, and how, at the same time, they have been excluded from discourses about a ‘new’ Naples.