CooperACTion - ACT in Green
Organisation : CooperACTiva , Italy

CooperACTiva aims to build  a socially and economically sustainable business model based on the heritage district of Centocelle, in order to support the development of the Alessandrino, Centocelle and Torre Spaccata neighborhoods. It aims to ensure, through synergies among the community’s activities, that the district of Centocelle is preserved and that the local community can perceive the area as rich of resources and culture and not as a problem. To facilitate the development of the services, the creation of trust and a sense of community is essential. Hence, the community is the main actor while ensuring that the heritage value is valorized.

Agendas addressed
Urban mobilityGreenfield land and natural spacePublic space
Social inclusion and integrationLocal economies and employment
Pathways followed
  • Involve citizens through participatory implementation
  • Encourage local private and civic engagement
  • Promote social innovation supporting inclusion
  • Nurture a sharing economy
  • Capitalise on local economy and production
  • Create and close local value chains
  • Apply innovative financing approaches
  • Implement sustainable procurement principles
  • Pursue a shift towards a circular economy
  • Prepare policies for socio-cultural changes due to innovation
Centocelle Heritage Tunnel

The local community surrounding the district of Centocelle has been severely hit by the economic crisis and structural problems of the Italian economy. The neighborhoods taken into consideration have one of the lowest numbers of services and income per capita in the city. Also, for this reason, the heritage district is not the object of significant attention and care by the area inhabitants, by inhabitants of other neighborhoods, by tourists in general. Local shops struggle to find clients and provide services to the neighborhood. On the other hand, a process of gentrification and modern urbanization is in its infancy, leveraged by the successful spread in the Centocelle neighborhood, also due to the realization of METRO C, turning the area into a district for new activities, mostly food shops. The district of Centocelle is subject to development processes, in which the people and the community play a central role.

In Action
Initiative for energy saving

CooperACTiva through the heritage community aims to increase the awareness of the area's hidden beauty. The Laboratory composed by community's members develops a system in which civic entrepreneurs promote economic activities on the territory thanks to the community enterprise. Hence, in order to achieve this larger scope, the Laboratory is an opportunity for providing local actors with the necessary resources, skills and competence to be on-field entrepreneurs. 

The strategy consists in developing a capacity-building process, which is deployed as an accelerator process. This process gives to the civic entrepreneurs the possibility to meet experts in the field, to participate in the workshop, and receive support in the different stages of the development of the activities. Hence, the incubation process developed within the Laboratory will support the community enterprise to achieve its objectives and would provide the members with the necessary skills and support to increase the social base of the community neighborhood enterprise.

The community, due to a cooperative approach, has co-designed a local action plan of the cooperative activities, such as bike tours around the heritage site, that are the first service that the Laboratory will develop. The group the group is also planning to organize a distributed neighborhood-based hotel. Both activities aim to change the way people perceive and live the heritage district of Centocelle as well as to provide economic sustainability by triggering economic development. This will make possible an authentic and human experience through the rediscovery of the Centocelle heritage district.

Bike tour

CooperACTiva activated the local network through the initiative “M’illumino di meno”, launched by a national environmental NGO. Aiming to promote anti-waste practices in the food system, the event consisted of the organisation of a low-energy consumption dinner. For instance, lights were turned off, candles were used to illuminate dining rooms, and the meals proposed were composed of food usually wasted, such as potato peels. The cooperative eventually managed to involve 23 restaurants in the area.

To share and circulate the ideas that have arisen out of the co-working session, the cooperative organised the Civic Collaboration Day on the 4th of May. The participants of the #collab_bici, a bike tour, had the opportunity to discover beautiful places left aside by mainstream touristic trips. The first part was dedicated to a visit of the Centocelle archaeological Park and was followed by a lunch at a local restaurant founded by a member of the neighbourhood cooperative. The event, named “#collab_bike tour”, was be the cornerstone of a series of bike tours that will be organised in the Centocelle archaeological park. In particular, it is a demonstration event to be replicated during the Sustainability Festival, a macro-event organised by the Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development (ASVIS) to promote awareness about environmental sustainability.


The services implemented have two goals: on one side to increase the awareness of the heritage potentiality, on the other, to support the construction of an economic and social solidarity neighborhood/district level network.

In the first phase, the community enterprise will focus on this activity with the objective to generate a consistent amount of cash flow within the neighborhood and to activate the economy of the districts. The revenues will be generated directly by the community enterprise from the sale of services.

The renovation of the space will be the first activity that would allow having a direct impact on the regeneration of the area. This regeneration process, thanks to the community enterprise structure, will put the property of the assets in the hands of the community.

Challenges and lessons learned

The financial model supported by the cash flow of the services presents the risk that the development of services might hamper the scalability of the project. The services are low risk and with a large share of variable costs, so there is a low probability to have a high amount of money to reinvest. Hence, the services allow cumulating only a small capital and the services-based model will rely almost completely on the success of the project to the selling of the services; in case of a sellings' reduction , could be difficult to ensure the sustainability of future activities.

Collaboration Day
Heritage Bike tour
Action plan


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