Count Monaldo Leopardi, the poet Giacomo’s father, dug deep into his family’s resources to fulfil his ambition – found his own library. In 1812, he opened its doors to everyone – the plaque still affixed to it reads “To children, friends and citizens”. Certainly, all that written culture was probably of little use in an illiterate, pre-Risorgimento Italy but now, 200 years later, are we, full of alphabetical-digital tools, able to use it to improve the world? The availability of information has led to a new awareness of reality. Technologies make available to us tools useful for structuring our information heritage into a systematic discourse, which takes account of the complexity of the positions in the field and allows anyone to make themselves heard to the benefit of the extension of collective intelligence and joint planning.
The Expo area, just to mention a current topic, is still waiting (a year has gone by!) for an executive relocation plan. There has been a collective discussion on it on our platform www.oxway.co. The subject, open to all Corriere della Sera readers and anyone who wanted to try, was, “What should the Expo area be used for, after Expo?” Far from involving townspeople in the mere assessment of a package of solutions imposed from above, the architecture of the platform allows anyone to make their suggestions and everyone to assess those of other people. Involvement in the post-Expo topic was full and informed with more than 1000 people logged-on and more than 500 suggestions received from the most varied sectors of society, most of them complex, thought-through and enthusiastic. The report we drafted is about to be delivered to the Mayor of Milan. This initiative has shown that the desire to take part, to contribute to determine the valorisation of the strategic resources of the area, is alive in townspeople.
As the recent foundation of the YIMBY movement, the antithesis of the better known Not-in-My-Back-Yard (NIMBY) through the replacement of the original ‘Not’ with the assertive ‘Yes’, has shown in the US, the trend to leave to others the tasks relating to the improvement of the world is a legacy we willingly leave to the 1980s that generated it. People are now ready to take on the fatigue of change if the world improves for everyone through that effort. Just as Giacomo Leopardi’s father did 200 years ago.
Participation in the virtuous development of the state is a delicate topic in Italy. Too much robbery and too many omissions have penalised the land and the people. The hope is that, from now on and ever increasingly, public administrations will equip the population with digital tools to favour their active participation, ask people to use them, and train their middle and senior managers in promoting them. People need to be encouraged to take part so that lots of them go willingly to the modern Library, “Not only for the advantage and convenience of the descendants,” as written in Conte Leopardi’s will, “but also for the utility and benefit of fellow citizens.”