Vol. 8 (2020): Democrazia dei luoghi: azioni e forme di autogoverno comunitario / Democracy of places: actions and forms of community self-government
Science in action

Reti integrate di comunità per la sperimentazione di nuove forme di democrazia di comunità

Elisa Caruso
University of Florence, Department of Architecture
Published December 12, 2020
  • river agreements,
  • conflicts,
  • bottom-up,
  • democracy,
  • community
How to Cite
Caruso, E. (2020). Reti integrate di comunità per la sperimentazione di nuove forme di democrazia di comunità. Scienze Del Territorio, 8. https://doi.org/10.13128/sdt-11919


In response to the strong crisis of representative democracy, an active citizenship movement has been formed which is experimenting throughout Italy innovative community forms, new ways of living and cooperative solidarity systems opposite to the main social trends of our times. The experimentation of social management of territories is the result of the most recent experiences of application of negotiating tools, capable of triggering multiscalar paths and generating integrated networks of communities. An example of such experiences are River Agreements, which attempt to experiment forms of direct democracy. The paper presents two experiences that, born from the bottom and triggered by conflictive situations generated by ‘NIMBY’ issues, find their strength in the path of community empowerment and actually turn critical issues into opportunities for growth. In both cases the ability to create networks and the framework of research-action in which they develop represent the strengths of the building path of the River Agreement. The first experience concerns the Simeto River Agreement, born from an anti-incinerator campaign activated in 2002. The second concerns the Ombrone River Agreement, promoted by a small local committee born in 2012. Such experiences, through River Agreements, can modify and affect governance models and produce concrete social impacts, if they succeed in creating a dense network of horizontal and vertical synergies from the local to the vast area scale.


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