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CAPO OPEN LAB | Civic Europe
Social inclusion, Community development


Inclusive practices of cultural heritage enhancement in Capo neighbourhood


Who is behind this?

Paola Pizzo



Who is joining forces?

University of Palermo - Department of Architecture



Idea pitch

CAPO OPEN LAB aims to create a community space to enhance the cultural heritage of the historical neighbourhood Capo of Palermo. The idea starts from the need to contrast processes of touristification by involving residents with precarious economic conditions and low level of education in inclusive practices of valorisation of the local cultural heritage while strengthening the relationship among citizens, civic society actors and local institutions.

Where will your project idea take place?

Neighbourhood Capo of Palermo, Sicily.

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

The ongoing process of touristification, mostly using the cultural heritage to make profit rather than to valorise local inhabitants, is turning the neighbourhood Capo of Palermo, as the rest of the city center, into a civic desert. Despite the neighbourhood being one of the richest in terms of historical, religious and cultural sites its inhabitants registered one of the highest levels of social vulnerability mostly determined by low level of education and precarious living conditions. The current form of economic development oriented toward mass tourism is turning it into a ghetto inside the touristic city center, with the local residents mostly excluded by the opportunities and resources provided by the tourists.

Who are you doing it for?

Our main target is composed by the different social groups acting in the neighbourhood:
- longtime residents and newcomers (including also foreign residents from Bangladesh);
- artisans from the local market and historic craft shops;
- no-profit actors and associations;
- local City Council administrators and representatives.
The local residents, mostly people of 18-65 years old, with precarious working conditions and low level of education, will be the main target we are addressing. They will be valorised as depositaries of knowledge and memories and supported to take actions in the community by proposing ideas and initiatives to valorise the local resources.

How do you plan to get there?

CAPO OPEN LAB is divided in seven steps:
- Activating a community space in an already available space
- Involvement and selections of citizens taking part in the labs
- Participatory mapping of the local cultural heritage with citizens selected
- Five Co-creation labs focused on the valorisation of the local cultural heritage by using engagement methods as collecting memories, stratification lab, community atlas, prototyping solutions
- Local initiatives/civic actions based on neighbourhood cultural heritage enhancement (planned/developed with the participants as main labs outcomes)
- Dissemination and communication of the project face-to-face and digitally
- Kick off and final event to present results in the community space and public spaces, co-created with lab participants

What are the expected results?

After 12 months of implementation of CAPO OPEN LAB we expect:
- The activation of a community space recognised and used by the local community;
- The participation of at least 20 residents in the Capo open labs;
- The realisation of at least 5 civic actions leaded by residents of the neighbourhood;
- To enrich the collection of the neighbourhood cultural resources also in terms of memories;
- The community space to become a place of constructive-democratic discussions between local public representatives and citizens for local development processes and actions.
The participants of the labs and the local community in general will gain new competences in terms of change making attitude, observation skills, capacity to express their ideas and to transform ideas into actions.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

We will involve members of the Capo community in inclusive practices starting from the enhancement of their own life context and local cultural heritage. The recognition of the cultural heritage resources and local identities is expected to strengthen community building among the citizens taking part in CAPO OPEN LAB. The knowledge and competences acquired by the residents will influence their engagement as well their participation in neighbourhood improvement. We have experienced similar effects on positive engagement processes in previous initiatives as “Spazi di Quartiere”: working with local residents on change-making attitudes and desires collection we directly influence active citizenship processes as well new ideas and actions for the neighbourhood.

Why is this idea important to you?

Our work as facilitator of participatory processes is to invert the resignation toward civic processes in a change-making attitude. We believe that the locals are the ones who know more about what they need but most of the time their voices are not heard or followed by actions.
Our idea of community space, as well our professional work and human attitude, is oriented to work for process of local development led by the deep knowledge of the local community we are working with. All the professionals involved in CAPO OPEN LAB as well the people we ordinarily cooperate with have similar professional and human attitudes and work for renovating the mechanism of civic engagement by activating or empowering neighbourhood space as the one we propose in this application.

€ 37850,-

Total budget

€ 37850,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Project Manager (12 months): 10.800
Community Space Facilitators (12 months): 9.600
Trainers (5 trainers for 5 labs): 5.000
Civic actions for CAPO cultural heritage valorisation (at least five actions): 2.500
Community space general expense: 3.000
Communication & dissemination officer (face-to-face and digital): 3.000
communication & Dissemination expenses: 1.800
Kick off event: 350
Final event: 500
CIVIC EUROPE NETWORK MEETING (travel-accommodation cost): 800
Labs material: 500

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We are really happy to receive suggestions, feedback, ideas for improvement as well as reference to methodologies,tools and techniques that work in context as the one we face.


Giorgio Barbato


Idea created on May 22, 2020
Last edit on May 26, 2020

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