PRUACS: Requalification Program for affordable rented accommodation in the old town of Monopoli

                                                              

PRUACS: Requalification Program for affordable rented accommodation in the old town of Monopoli

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Solution proposed by: 
The Municipality of Monopoli (Bari – Italy) and finepro s.r.l. (technical assistance).
In a Nutshell: 
Monopoli is an important coastal city with a medieval historical centre loved by tourists, especially in the summer months. The program aimed to recover the historical residential buildings, increase parking for residents in surrounding areas and implement a significant pedestrian and cycle area served by electric means of public transport.
Where and When: 
The work took place in the strategic internal and surrounding areas of the old town of the city of Monopoli, such as Piazza XX Settembre, the main crossroads, the residential district “INA Casa” near the moat in via Cadorna. The work started on 19/03/2013 and finished on 09/01/2015.
Challenges: 
The main goal was to cultivate the essential services for residents and to create the conditions to make the old town habitable once again for residents and tourists alike. Hence the pedestrian area and all aspects that made getting around sustainable: the challenge was to remove internal combustion engines that were dirty, noisy and took up too much space in the characteristic alleyways of the medieval centre. In this way the area was given back to the population making it attractive in terms of residential buildings with guaranteed parking nearby as well as electric public transport links using renewable energy.
Innovation: 
The program wished to combine all aspects of habitability in an atmospheric medieval urbanisation that would normally suffer from the contrast between mod-cons and urban limitations (narrow spaces, lack of parking, obstacles for pedestrians, bikes and vehicles). For this reason, not only was a ZTL (limited traffic zone) introduced, but also other aids to limit the inconvenience and stimulate the repopulation, not to mention improving the usability for the pedestrian: designated “satellite” parking; new electric means of public transport with solar panels for the sustainable transportation of people and goods and well-equipped green spaces.
Concept: 
At the foundations of the requalification program was the creation of the conditions to allow for the residential housing in a historical centre depopulated over the last century given its technical disadvantages and obsolescence of architectural heritage in a poor state of repair compared with the modern city hub and its services. It was for this reason the focus was on the recovery of real estate to create suitable buildings for current day use (young couples, the elderly, small families). At the same time it was considered important to support and encourage sustainable tourism making it accessible thanks to a cycle-pedestrian ring-road, made possible by removing parking spaces around the city walls and creating equipped green spaces and squares with new urban designs and more trees. Here the public transport system also became sustainable with the introduction of small electric vehicles able to navigate the medieval alleyways and recharge at a small solar panel station at the only storage facility. These vehicles mean that existing parking spaces can be used better farther from the historical perimeter, thus creating traffic decongestion.
Description: 
The context for intervention is a medieval centre that today houses 1,335 families, that is 3,755 inhabitants of the 50,000-strong population. This community, thanks to the seaside tourism, is experiencing significant growth in Apulia hosting over 400 overnight tourists, and thousands of visitors to the city every day fill the streets where up until a few years ago cars circulated with no limitations creating obstacles for residents and pedestrians as well as for the motorists themselves in the narrow spaces and bottlenecks. This is why the overall program forsaw: the recovery of history buildings for affordable rental residential accommodation run by the municipality and allocated according to the housing department; the requalification and improvement Piazza XX settembre by reorganising the public parking in areas near to the old town; pedestrian and cycle routes along the seafront to travel North to South; signage and bollards to create a limited traffic zone; at least 8 electric minibuses for sustainable to connect the old town and the expanding city; a bus station for the electric minibuses and electric charging station with solar; equipped green spaces for; removal of obstacles for total accessibility to the old town. The whole program cost 3.8 million € and was entirely funded by public resources thanks to its approval over 10 other proposals at a regional level and subsequently set up as 4 autonomous building sites that in less than 36 months considerably transformed the feeling of the town and its spaces, business and entertainment premises, both for tourists and residents.
Impacts: 
The impact was immediately tangible in Piazza XX Settembre: the new design and street furniture created an innovative space framed by the past thanks to the lighting of the 16th century fortifications instead of the previously undefined space occupied by shacks and public toilets. Today the old town of Monopoli is a pearl on the central coastline of Apulia with Polignano a Mare. It is a meeting place for thousands of tourists and thanks to the new logistics it has become an island of tranquillity for pedestrians with trendy shops and numerous cultural events to attend.

Photo Gallery

photo n. 1-3-4-5: finepro s.r.l.
photo n. 2: TRAIPLER
photo n. 1-3-4-5: finepro s.r.l.
photo n. 1-3-4-5: finepro s.r.l.