Along the river Cormor, re-linking landscapes and public facilities in the region Friuli Venezia

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In Italy, the drawing of policies for an Urban Agenda has only recently re-gained attention on the national level. However, while the discussion still focuses on metropolitan and inland urban contexts concerned by major transformations or abandonment trends, the ordinary framework of small and medium cities and villages – building the most of Italian territories – tends to remain at the background. These situations prevail in Friuli Venezia Giulia, where the 71% of Municipalities count less than 5.000 inhabitants. Many urban centres stand nearby the system of rivers, which structures a variety of landscapes from the mountains to the sea. Since the 2000s, a number of Municipalities from the valley of the river Cormor have started re-thinking their economies, taking slow mobility as the driver for sustainable tourism. With the support of a citizens’ Association, they are now working on a River Contract, a non-compulsory tool for the participatory construction of strategic/planning instruments combining environmental protection with sustainable local development. This is the context of the activities that the Master Course in Architecture of the University of Trieste has recently carried out in collaboration with local stakeholders. The design of the southern extension of a horse and cycle track along the river gave the opportunity to re-frame the issue of tourism in a larger planning perspective, aimed at enhancing the relations between the river, and the small/medium urban centres it goes through. Results offer new planning visions that: interpret the Cormor as the spine of a network of ecological services; foster the reuse and re-connection of existing public facilities; re-define the topic of ‘slow tourism’ according to the specific characters and lifestyles of these contexts.
river landscapes, ecological services, slow mobility, public facilities