The Spazio Attivo [Active Space] in Zagarolo, in the province of Rome, is a tangible piece of Europe where young people like us can grow. An imaginary bridge between the past and the future, between tradition and innovation, intended to foster social innovation, open innovation and citizen participation.
Palazzo Rospigliosi, with its 16th-century, aristocratic country house design, hosts in its west wing the Lazio Open Innovation Centre (LOIC), one of the 10 technological innovation hubs in Lazio and inaugurated in January 2019, following those in Roma Casilina, Roma Tecnopolo, Viterbo, Rieti, Bracciano, Ferentino, Colleferro, Latina and Civitavecchia. Lazio received funding of €5 million from Azione 3.5.1, the 2014-2020 ERDF national operating programme (NOP) to redevelop the technological infrastructure and 2000 m2 of floor space to create a real, and at the same time virtual, place to form a network between the territory, regions and local entities.
What it is?
The main players are citizens, entrepreneurs, start-ups, makers, universities, teachers, freelancers and whoever would like to contribute to making the Spazio Attivo [Active Space] a place of transverse collaboration, a cultural centre for Open Innovation and an educational joint project space as well as for social interaction. Many activities and services take place here such as shows, networking, work meetings, conferences and other workshops, there are the dedicated business incubation workshops, Working Talents for the development of innovative projects and the FabLabs for digital manufacturing.
The aim is also to increase economic activity in the area by attracting investors of medium/large enterprises, to enrich local activities and the social fabric. For an idea of the tri-polar footprint of the Zagarolo technological centre: tourism, culture in a perfect embrace between the two wings of this palatial house, from the Toy museum in one part to the Spazio Attivo in the other, catalysing the development of new and original ideas.
Relationship with citizens
Alice (26, engineer) tells me how she came to the Spazio Attivo by chance and found it a great benefit. Her initial curiosity about unknown raw materials provided an impetus to look with new eyes at a historic place such as Palazzo Rospigliosi and allowed her to attend an entirely free digital marketing course with industry professionals, who once a week for months gave their knowledge and beyond to the Zagarola community, by analysing current issues using technological and innovative tools for learning about the world in which they work. Alice and her colleagues may take other paths, but places such as the Spazio Attivo in Zagarolo can keep a place alive, by acquiring knowledge of what we still do not know.
The Spazio Attivo it is therefore a living place, which tells many stories, about those who believe in a project, defend an idea, do not stop at the first hurdle, where everything can take shape. The combination of all these elements gave life to an accord between local, regional and European institutions and citizens for building value for our future and our territory.