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Residential Renovation towards nearly zero energy CITIES

In the Spotlight: Genoa Municipality and University of Genoa

Genoa Municipality

Keen to introduce a more coordinated way to achieve healthy and productive growth towards a better quality of life, Genoa was one of the first cities in Italy to join the Smart Cities initiative of the European Commission. This is a European Innovation Partnership bringing together cities, industry and citizens to improve urban life through more sustainable integrated solutions.

In 2010, and aware of on-coming crisis and societal challenges, Genoa engaged in a transformation process towards a Smart City, involving sustainable economic development based on innovation and research and led by the local government through a process of integrated planning.

Under the Municipality’s leadership, a fertile ecosystem has developed. It comprises public bodies, business, academia and citizens working together in a comprehensive strategy to promote innovation and to apply it in practical ways. They are all driving towards a shared vision, consistent with Europe 2020 targets, of a Smart City where people lead better lives.

Genoa promoted the creation of an innovative governance methodology that connects the quadruple helix (institutions, academia, business, civil society):

  • citizens' needs
  • political vision & strategic planning
  • academia's creativity
  • businesses’ marketing strategies
  • job creation opportunities
  • regulatory systems
  • funding opportunities

when it gave life to the Genoa Smart City Association. Its 90 plus members aspire to make the city a vibrant and productive place where an intelligent and collaborative approach is applied to planning and development while drawing on stakeholders and networks.

European projects, national initiatives, and tailor-made business cases all combine to implement this strategic vision that stakeholders share.

Defining a smart city as “improving quality of life through sustainable economic development based on innovation and research and led by the local government in a process of integrated planning”, Genoa has encompassed all major aspects of a transformation towards real improvement for the city and its inhabitants.

Since its first Energy Efficiency Improvement Plan in 2001, the Municipality of Genoa has prepared the path to strategically planning the city’s sustainable development. This reached a turning point with the preparation of the Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) within the Covenant of Mayors initiative.

The SEAP includes a far-reaching set of actions in the following areas:

  • the built environment, including new buildings and refurbishment, by introducing more stringent energy efficiency requirements in the new set of Building Regulations;
  • renewable energy sources, with the installation of photovoltaic plants and thermal solar plants in schools and sports centres;
  • transport, thanks to a strategy promoting local public transport by reorganising and rationalising urban mobility.

Genoa’s SEAP aims to cut emissions by 23% from now to 2020. Baseline study & actions proposed show that integrated processes are advantageous. The New Urban Master Plan (PUC) has integrated concepts into development areas favouring smart buildings. The Port Authority, an AGSC member, has approved its Energy Plan linked to the SEAP, and the Port’s Development Plan comes within the PUC.

As part of the R2CITIES project, Genoa Municipality has selected a demonstration site for innovative district renovation. The site is a part of the Pegli 3 District is called “Lavatrici", it was built from the 1983 and the 1989 on an area of more than 40,000 m2. The total volume of the 4 blocks is around 230, 000 m3 corresponding to 64,000 m2.

Figure: Location of Pegli 3 district and of the Lavatrici

It is divided into several sectors where various social services are present (i.e. schools, sports and recreational areas, supermarkets, road connections, etc.). The district also includes an area built with private funding, one built by ARTE (Regional body in charge of constructing and refurbishing public buildings) and finally the area fulfilling the role of R2CITIES demo site: the "Lavatrici". The figure indicates the location of Pegli 3 and of the “Lavatrici”.

Genoa Municipality has an active role in the project as pilot owner and is involved in all the pilot installation and the validation phases.



Contact person for R2CITIES:
Gloria Piaggio


University of Genoa


The University of Genoa (UNIGE) has much experience both in EC Framework Programmes (over 100 projects in FP5, 92 projects in FP6 and over 40 projects underway in FP7) and in other international research and cooperation programmes (153 projects for the period 2000/2009 – European Structural Funds, Life Programme, Bilateral Scientific Cooperation, etc.).

UNIGE has a synergic collaboration with the “Italian Institute of Technology – IIT” whose aim is to promote excellence in research in Italy by attracting the brightest researchers from a variety of disciplines to Genoa.

The achievements arising from this collaboration – discoveries, inventions, developments – are successfully commercialised.

UNIGE’s input into the R2CITIES project comes from the Department of Science for Architecture (DSA) of the Polytechnic School of UNIGE. The DSA was set up in January 1999 and today it hosts some 100 teaching and research staff in various fields of architecture. Their research interests focus on new/existing architecture and processes of compositional design at different scales. In particular; the DSA’s research places emphasis on scientific and analytical knowledge (from mathematical disciplines to the analysis of materials and structures, from technology to the study of the built environment and city planning, from architectural relief to restoration), on critical and historical knowledge (including archaeological aesthetics) and also on industrial design (product, communication and yacht design).

The DSA is involved in several of the R2CITIES work packages. Its activities mainly focus on the measurement and verification of energy performance and savings. The aim is to develop several tailored solutions for residential district renovation, to produce an integrated design methodology for a systemic energy efficient, and to identify the most suitable existing protocols for measuring and verifying energy performance.



Contact person for R2CITIES: 
Renata Morbiducci