In Tuscany a significant number of land-use planning scandals have emerged in recent months and come to the public attention. Some are based on explicit, fraudulent mismanagement of public interests, but many others arise from controversial interpretations of public interest. As one of the most highly regulated regions of Italy, having been ruled for decades by a centre-left coalition that was relatively innovative in advancing the autonomy of local administrations, as well as the formation of new democracy institutions, Tuscany is luckily less affected by corruption involving organized crime, has (or rather had) a reputation for good government, and (so far) offers a quite liveable environment, recognized by national rankings as well as by collective images and tourist flows. The Tuscan landscape has become an international icon, also helping to sell its wines and oil, fashion industry, tourist accommodation and many other products. Nevertheless, something seems to be going wrong now. Here too, much like in other Italian contexts, “the accommodation of territorial conflicts succeeds always less, as shown by the clashes surrounding the building of the High Speed Railway (in Florence), enlargement of the USA military base (in Vicenza) or new waste incinerators all over Italy” (Grasse 2008: 9). Also when managing more routine decisions, like new residential, tourist or industrial developments, local policy makers (both elected representatives as well as socalled civil servants/administrators) often seem to have lost the idea of what good public policies should look like. The purpose of this paper is twofold. The first aim is to focus on a specific area of policy, land use planning, that is usually not so central to political science studies (and therefore not too deeply influenced by mainstream interpretations based on electoral behaviour), in order to be able to indicate how better public policies in this field could be produced. The second aim is a kind of heuristic suggestion, i.e. to bring fresh attention to land use policies as a way, in the contemporary world, to better understand the growing divergences in local wellbeing resulting from the interplay of globalization rules, political intermediation, and local policy choices. Too often investigated mainly in technical terms, land use policies represent a field where politics and policies are tight to each other: many choices involve relevant political stakes, and are consequently followed directly by politicians, although too often planners are asked to legitimise politicians’ decisions in advance with the help of technical arguments. Not easy to be analysed, this messy field requires a deep investigation not to take for good official representations of it. For this reason I have chosen to focus on cases I have directly experienced. After an introduction describing the general Tuscan context, this paper will give an overview of conflicts concerning land-use planning that emerged in latter times, examine more in depth a few of them, focusing more closely upon two cases respectively in Montespertoli and S.Casciano Val di Pesa, and finally point out what can be learned from these examples of mismanagement in order to improve land use policies.

Land-use planning "scandals" in Tuscany. Mismanagement or underestimation of general public interests?

MARSON, ANNA
2010

Abstract

In Tuscany a significant number of land-use planning scandals have emerged in recent months and come to the public attention. Some are based on explicit, fraudulent mismanagement of public interests, but many others arise from controversial interpretations of public interest. As one of the most highly regulated regions of Italy, having been ruled for decades by a centre-left coalition that was relatively innovative in advancing the autonomy of local administrations, as well as the formation of new democracy institutions, Tuscany is luckily less affected by corruption involving organized crime, has (or rather had) a reputation for good government, and (so far) offers a quite liveable environment, recognized by national rankings as well as by collective images and tourist flows. The Tuscan landscape has become an international icon, also helping to sell its wines and oil, fashion industry, tourist accommodation and many other products. Nevertheless, something seems to be going wrong now. Here too, much like in other Italian contexts, “the accommodation of territorial conflicts succeeds always less, as shown by the clashes surrounding the building of the High Speed Railway (in Florence), enlargement of the USA military base (in Vicenza) or new waste incinerators all over Italy” (Grasse 2008: 9). Also when managing more routine decisions, like new residential, tourist or industrial developments, local policy makers (both elected representatives as well as socalled civil servants/administrators) often seem to have lost the idea of what good public policies should look like. The purpose of this paper is twofold. The first aim is to focus on a specific area of policy, land use planning, that is usually not so central to political science studies (and therefore not too deeply influenced by mainstream interpretations based on electoral behaviour), in order to be able to indicate how better public policies in this field could be produced. The second aim is a kind of heuristic suggestion, i.e. to bring fresh attention to land use policies as a way, in the contemporary world, to better understand the growing divergences in local wellbeing resulting from the interplay of globalization rules, political intermediation, and local policy choices. Too often investigated mainly in technical terms, land use policies represent a field where politics and policies are tight to each other: many choices involve relevant political stakes, and are consequently followed directly by politicians, although too often planners are asked to legitimise politicians’ decisions in advance with the help of technical arguments. Not easy to be analysed, this messy field requires a deep investigation not to take for good official representations of it. For this reason I have chosen to focus on cases I have directly experienced. After an introduction describing the general Tuscan context, this paper will give an overview of conflicts concerning land-use planning that emerged in latter times, examine more in depth a few of them, focusing more closely upon two cases respectively in Montespertoli and S.Casciano Val di Pesa, and finally point out what can be learned from these examples of mismanagement in order to improve land use policies.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11578/5513
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