Piazza Sant’Anna is one of the main squares of Palermo which take its name from the baroque church that dominates it. After many years of abandonment and neglect, one year ago it became part of the pedestrian path of the old town. Free from the cars, that saturated its area, today it appears eventually in its grandeur and beauty, but, after its pedestrianization, it remained mostly empty and unused. To restore its role, PUSH, together with AISA and Urbanita, organized a thematic workshop for the students of the Department of Architecture of the University of Palermo, with the purpose of proposing creative and low-cost solutions to regenerate the space.
Sant’Anna Jamming is not just a training course through the approach of Service Design, but it’s above all an experiment of co-design which involves students, citizens and public administration. The projects produced by the six groups of students, with a budget of 5,000 €, were up-loaded on a web platform, so every citizen were allowed to learn about the different proposals and vote for its favorite. The three most liked projects, finally, were presented to the Mayor of Palermo, so, focusing on a minimum budget and the approval of citizenship, are submitted to the judgment of the administration, which will choose the most appropriate and will finance the realization.
Sant’Anna Jamming offers an innovative approach to urban planning through the participation and involvement of university students, the use of the web and direct dialogue with the Public Administration. An experimental process divided into three main phases (planning / participation / regeneration) which is reproducible in any urban context.
The design workshop involved 30 participants among future architects, planners and designers from UNIPA, in a creative 48 hour marathon to rethink the use of the square. The projects were presented to the public at the conclusion of the third day of work at the conference hall of the Modern Art Gallery of Palermo and the online survey for the voting of the proposals has registered more than 800 responses.
The project, firstly tested in Palermo, has demonstrated an excellent ability of involvement both in terms of participation of young designers, and from that of response of citizens and interests of the Public Administration. By offering low-budget and site-specific solutions, the model can be easily scaled and adapted to any urban context that requires reactivation and re-design. Sant’Anna Jamming is therefore to be considered as the first result of a larger project that aims to become an innovative bottom-up design and re-design tool for urban areas.