“Listen. Decide. Improve”. More than simply a slogan, this title was chosen to express the genuine commitment of ANCI – Associazione Nazionale Comuni Italiani (National Association of Italy’s Municipalities) on the occasion of its 36th Annual Assembly. Arezzo, a city famous for its medieval charm and history of gold working, played host to the mayors of Italy’s municipalities this year who came together for three days (19-21 November) of panels, awards ceremonies and exhibition stands. Held at the Arezzo Fiere e Congressi hub, the Assembly saw the involvement of some of the country’s leading institutional figures, with speeches from the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, the Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and the Speaker of the House Roberto Fico and numerous ministerial representatives.
Community and territory were the focus of the event, an opportunity for a broad discussion on topical themes relevant to urban areas and their inhabitants. As Mattarella outlined in his opening address “municipalities are capable of doing so much, if they are given support,” especially in terms of sustainable development and smart city implementation. He emphasised how policies supporting social inclusion, the redevelopment of city suburbs and the uptake of electric mobility are essential to achieving these goals.
Fittingly, the urban area in transformation was the focus of the Assembly’s first afternoon session. The President of the Cassa Geometri (Chamber of Surveyors) Diego Buono, the mayors of Treviso (Mario Conte), Agrigento (Calogero Firetto), Varese (Davide Galimberti), Syracuse (Francesco Italia), Palermo (Leoluca Orlando), Mantua (Mattia Palazzi) and Enel Head of Country Italy Carlo Tamburi met to discuss planning and design to create more welcoming, clean, safe, sustainable and smart cities that can improve quality of life for their inhabitants.
“As a long-standing partner of local administrations, we are present in almost 4,000 municipalities, out of a total of 8,000, with several million light points to manage and administrate,” explained Tamburi in his presentation. “These intelligent lamp posts, which are part of the urban furniture, are today a cornerstone on which the future is being built not only because they provide more efficient illumination but also because the structures have sensors that can monitor urban flows of people, pollution levels and use of parking areas, as well as integrating surveillance cameras for public safety and charging points for e-mobility.”
Paola De Micheli, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, also emphasised the need to reduce the environmental impact of our cities to a minimum by focusing on e-mobility and electric public transport.
Another theme discussed over the three days was the issue of how to define local policies focusing on circularity, especially in the panel entitled “Il futuro che ci (a)spetta (the future that we deserve)”, which included the participation of Alessio Torelli, Head of Enel X Italy, main sponsor of the event. Circular and sustainable cities were recognised with the Cresco Award, an initiative promoted by the Fondazione Sodalitas with the patronage of ANCI and the participation of companies like Enel that are on the front line of sustainability. The award is given to municipalities in Italy committed to good environmental practices in their territories in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This year, the Municipality of Comacchio (province of Ferrara) received the Enel award for “Percorsi di turismo sostenibile: un’opportunità per valorizzare gli asset presenti sul territorio” (Sustainable Tourism Routes: an opportunity to promote the assets in the territory), which was presented by Carla Quatrana, Head of Planning and Performance Management – Sustainability and Institutional Affairs at Enel Italy. The winning project – “Valorizzazione delle valli di Comacchio (Promoting the valleys of Comacchio)” – involves the recovery of local fishing heritage and the implementation of interconnected bicycle and pedestrian trails to link the coastline and wetlands. “We decided to recognise the Municipality of Comacchio for the design of a structured project that takes a circular economy perspective in planning the reuse of existing historical structures and includes zero emission mobility routes,” explained Quatrana. “We are supporting the development of sustainable tourism initiatives near our assets to promote Italy’s natural and cultural heritage.” Last year too, we acknowledged a circular economy project, awarding the prize to the Municipality of Serrenti for its “Casa dell’Energia” initiative. This project has now reached completion with delivery of the Enel X “Circular Economy Energy Report” which measures the entire urban perimeter across four dimensions (energy, waste, emissions, mobility) as well as the energy circularity of the Sardinian municipality’s Vittorio Angius High School. The report revealed both a decent level of circular maturity at local level among the area’s inhabitants and room for improvement in the areas of e-mobility and public lighting. This is where the solutions identified by Enel X in the roadmap for increasing circularity in the municipality will be applied. Enel X will also improve the energy efficiency of the High School and install a new infrastructure in its courtyard for charging e-vehicles.
The interventions carried out by Enel X will assist the municipality of Serrenti in increasing its level of circular maturity, confirming our role as an all-round partner for Italian municipalities of all sizes on the journey towards sustainability and innovation.