Small Things of Importance

By Sergio Cofferati, photograph by Leonarda Maresta

Mayor of Bologna, Sergio Cofferati's project to "live the city" without fear or difficulty.

The democratic life of a city is measured in part with actions that we seem to take for granted, but which represent a continuous effort to others. A community in which, for example,Sergio Cofferati, Mayor of Bologna the freedom of movement is not available to all its citizens is not a democratic community. And we do not live in a democracy even when only a minority of people lives in fear: to walk on the street, to move around, to expose oneself. It is the responsability of a good administration to create the conditions enabling all citizens to accomplish their every day actions without fear or difficulty. I have many times expressed that Bologna has to be back to being the welcoming, warm and friendly city that it was.
These words are not usual in politics, while I am convinced that they are a sign of a new manner of understanding the relationship between the citizens and the administrators.
We must not only suppress the negative behaviour towards the community, but also and most of all, educate and motivate people to respect the rules. We have to look for better ways to provide safety again to the citizens, beginning with the differently abled who have to have the possibility of "living the city" like everybody else. As for every important objective, it is necessary to begin working and we can begin with what may seem little things, but which are on the contrary quite considerable. Bologna can be back to being a friendly city beginning with its street furniture. It is unarguably important to have sidewalks free of obstacles or architectural barriers, public transportation adapted to people with a mobility impairment, crosswalks free of vehicules, garbage cans easy to open, acoustic traffic lights for blind people. New technologies will help us create better conditions and tools with which to facilitate living in the city for so many people. In this sense, the Istituto Cavazza will be of great help as the organization to liaise with and for promoting leading-edge projects. We will always be ready to listen and take advantage of their vast experience in order to make of this community the place where prevail principles of courtesy and democracy among its citizens.