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Città di Torino
(City of Turin)
Staff del Sindaco
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10122 Torino
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Italian local elections 2006

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Mayor Chiamparino: Turin promotes its
environment to attract modern industries
By Tann vom Hove, Editor

24 February 2004: Sergio Chiamparino was elected Mayor of Turin in May 2001. During his election campaign he stressed the need for Turin to combine the development of modern industries with the protection of the environment. In an interview with City Mayors, Mayor Chiamparino explained his concept of ‘promotion of the environment’ and also spoke about Turin’s role in Europe. In May 2006 Mayor Chiamparino was re-elected with more than 66 per cent of the vote.

City Mayors: Mr Chiamparino, to many people outside Italy, Turin is synonymous with Fiat and the automotive industry. What are your plans to not only diversify Turin’s economy but, also, ensure that the international business community is aware of the changes taking place there?

Mayor Chiamparino: In recent years Turin has faced the economic and social problems that accompany the transition to a post-industrial world. In doing so, it has showed its ability to respond and look forward: innovating while maintaining economic and organisational stability.

Even if Turin remains closely bound to the automotive industry, new sectors and activities are growing. The city is currently engaged in the promotion of innovative activities linked to environmentally-friendly mobility, to advanced automotive technologies and to the development of the ICT district. Great investments are being made in research and higher education and, also, in the promotion of culture and tourism.

Regarding the international promotion of Turin, the XX Olympic Winter Games will be a unique opportunity to make the city and its new identity known throughout the world.

Moreover, in 1998 an agency called ITP – Invest in Turin and Piedmont – was created. It is the first Italian regional agency dedicated to attracting domestic and foreign investment. It was created by the major public institutions and private business associations for the purpose of responding to the investment enquiries that are received from all over the world, and to support foreign companies expanding within the region. ITP runs marketing and communication operations, ensures assistance to companies that want to locate in Piedmont and, further, offers support for the maintenance and development of foreign companies already in the region.

There are other agencies whose aim is to make our territory known abroad and to attract foreign investors and facilitate their activities, such as the Film Commission (which works to attract TV and cinema productions to the Piedmont Region and Turin from the rest of Italy and from abroad), the Convention Bureau (which promotes the city as a convention destination) and Tourism Turin (the hospitality and visitor services agency).

City Mayors: Christian Ude, the Mayor of Munich, in his inaugural address following his re-election called for a stronger influence on the part of Europe’s great cities in the area of pan-European decision-making. His call won the support of the mayors of London, Paris, Vienna and Berlin. Do you believe that European cities are poorly represented in European decision-making? If so, what do you feel can and should important European cities like Turin do to make the public, business and politicians more aware of the contributions cities make, and their needs to make further development possible?

Mayor Chiamparino: The importance of the local dimension has gradually, and with some difficulties, been brought to the attention of the participants in the European debate.

At present, the only institutional body dedicated to focusing the attention of EU Institutions on local issues is the Comitato delle Regioni (the Committee of the Regions). The Committee has worked efficiently to reinforce the role of local institutions; the problem is that its role is only advisory and, moreover, even if it is concerned with the local dimension, it does not itself represent the cities or metropolitan areas. Nevertheless, the necessity of emphasizing the strategic relevance of the cities currently increases.

Cities are, in fact, the engine of development of Europe, and most decisions taken at EU level affect cities and their citizens: we know that the great majority of European citizens actually live in the cities where the wealth, the excellence and, also, the problems are concentrated. Consequently, many of the issues and problems – such as the social, cultural and environmental ones – of European citizens are urban issues, and they should be dealt with at that level. Therefore, cities should be consulted and, in some way, legitimated in the decisional processes surrounding these matters.

The same ideas are expressed in the Mayor’s declaration, elaborated by EUROCITIES (a network that brings together more than 100 major cities across the enlarged EU). EUROCITIES lobbying action is a good example of what cities can do to get more attention within high-level political dialogue with European institutions, and to ensure that urban issues are placed on the European Union’s policy agenda.
It is also important to foster a networking spirit amongst Europe’s large cities to facilitate coordinated action because, whilst having different cultural, socio-economic and political realities, they have common challenges and can share solutions.

City Mayors: You have linked the promotion of the environment to economic growth. Can you explain how investing in the environment makes good business sense?

Mayor Chiamparino: If compared with other European realities, Italy is not a leading country in terms of implementation of environmental sustainability policies; but the attention given to these issues in Italy, by both public bodies and private subjects, is becoming greater.

I would like first to underline that, by the term ‘promotion of the environment’, I do not mean only the pursuit of a ‘green policy’ (availability and expansion of green areas); I also intend it to refer to the promotion of a high quality of urban environment on the whole. This ‘high urban quality’ becomes, in fact, an important criterion for attracting new business ventures, especially companies in the high technology sector. Doing so is of great importance in a globalised economy, where the most innovative firms look for a place where a high quality of life is possible for their managers and researchers and their families.

Turin is currently engaged in interventions to improve the quality not only of central but also of peripheral areas of the city, and it is working to improve, from structural and ecological points of view, alternative mobility solutions to the private car (such as construction of the underground, quantitative and qualitative improvement of cycling paths, investing in an eco-bus, and so on).

Regarding business and research activity in the environmental field, since 1997 Turin has been host to the first scientific and technological park (the Environment Park) to include several companies and research institutes operating in both the environmental protection field and the ICT field.

The park aims to transfer advanced solutions and innovative technologies to small and medium-sized companies, to spread the most significant ICT and environmental best practices, to pursue special projects and specific training programmes, and to organise themed events. It provides scientific services of various kinds (control of emissions, packaging and noise pollution) and assistance with sustainable architecture. It also offers, through a dedicated cluster of research and development activities made up of companies and research bodies, exchanges, consultancy and promotion for the creation of innovative businesses in sectors linked to eco-efficiency and ICT.

City Mayors: Turin plays host to the 2006 Winter Olympics. As you are probably aware, there are currently nine cities bidding to host the 2012 Summer Olympics. What advice would you give cities trying to attract major international sporting events?

Mayor Chiamparino: Turin worked hard to win the Olympic Competition, and many factors contributed to the positive result. Dynamism and the desire to get things done, together with the belief in our resources of the of our region, were the main ingredients that enabled us to become the venue for the next Olympic Winter Games.

Moreover, a distinctive element in our candidature was the presentation of a large metropolitan space, together with the mountains, as the competition area, creating an ‘Olympics system’ in which it was possible to participate in both the sporting events and in the lively programme of cultural initiatives offered by the city and the Olympics valleys. In order to attract big international athletic events it is important, in fact, to enhance all of the characteristics of a territory, and not only those directly pertaining to the sports. Another relevant factor is ensuring that people understand that to see that the highest standards are realised in a major event requires the involvement and cooperation of almost all the subjects of the territory: for instance, to prepare for the Olympics date we are, indeed, investing in infrastructure, transport, urban quality, cultural initiatives, and welcoming and accommodation structures. Only through a collective effort we can have the best possible result.

Last, but not least, is the promotion of a sporting culture: that means getting people interested not only in the competitions, but also in sporting values. In this way there will not only be a high level of participation in the various competitions but, more important, people will get involved in the event, and will experience the emotions that can go with large scale athletic spectacles.

City Mayors: Signor Chiamparino, la ringraziamo per questa intervista

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