The Municipality of Prato, the first city in Italy to do so, invited a stratified random sample of citizens to participate in a Scenario Town Meeting to deliberate on the territorial charter of the Urban Master Plan.
The Town Meeting is a democratic method, adopted over 300 years ago in the United States but only recently in Italy, to discuss and deliberate on topics and issues concerning cities, territories and organizations.
The Master Plan is one of the most important planning instruments of a municipality. The 140 citizens of Prato came together to address, in a facilitated way, topics which were at times highly complex, such as the economy, society, the use of public spaces, integration, the countryside and the environment, history and collective memory, and how all of these come together to create the city in which we live and would like to live. These are places and issues which are frequently discussed but which rarely become the focus of our attention, although they do largely influence our quality of life, our opportunities and wellbeing. Out of habit or laziness we tend to think that the territory is like it is because it has always been that way, but it is actually the result of ideas, work, compromises, creativity, concreteness, harmony or conflict in the dialogue between people and the environment in which they are born, grow and live.
The process we have coordinated has involved the activity of informing the citizens, including writing the “Guide to the Plan for Citizens”, sent to the 180,000 inhabitants of the city, an exhibit in which to actively participate in the discussion and the Scenario Town Meeting with the aim of defining the items of the territorial charter with the appropriate awareness.