Places: Parco Agricolo Casal del Marmo (IT)

The Site

P1360463View of the now inactive agricultural land at the Parco. 
The Parco is owned by some four large landholders and a numerous smaller ones that invested in the area with expectation to develop the site.  Since 2000, the site has been categorised as an agricultural park yet remains  largely inactive with exception to a small organic food cooperative and some informal allotment gardens.  As the zoning does not allow for development yet the landholders feel entitled to compensation, the Parco is at a deadlock.

The site  contains deep layers of topsoil that have been cultivated over millennia – the soil is referred to as “terra romana” and lies in the heartland of Roman civilisation. Some of this historical legacy is exploited since the 1980s by a cooperative and a small area serves as pasture for local sheep. However, most of the Parco was left fallow after real estate speculation progressively crowded out agricultural uses since the 1970s.

The Parco is surrounded by a partially abandoned complex of buildings that was a mental hospital until some forty years ago and of which the main one is currently used as a hospice. The vicinity is further marked by a hospital and several peripheral neighbourhoods of the city of Rome.

Complexity

Around one fourth of the area is owned by public authorities, the rest is split between various private and ecclesiastical “latifundistas” and a commercial bank. The entire area has been earmarked as “collective interest area” in land use planning as “agricultural park” – a political decision that translated into a considerable financial loss for landowners willing to develop the land, as the market prize for land that can be developed is in general significantly higher compared to the one of land that cannot be developed.

In June 2015 we ran a stakeholder event – read more over the event, method and outcomes here.