Case study of Veneto Region

In the last twenty years, in the Metropolitan City of Venice (MCV: the new administrative body that in 2015 replaced the provincial authority), the security problem has been understood basically in relation to immigration and “urban incivilities”. This led to the identification of urban security as an “urban decency” problem. Due to this framework, the security issue is perceived as a public and private problem within the residents. This problem seems to afflict especially individuals belonging to the middle class, including within this term, the self-employed or employees, from both the public and private sectors. It is about 60% of the total population, that on the basis of its own resources or with the contribution of welfare systems, it has reached safety conditions, a good income, the warranty on the care of their health. Now, according to the accounts reported in the media, a large portion of this population regards itself at risk and in trouble due to a widespread lack of personal and collective security.

The analysis starts from the places in the MCV that seems more interested by the discourse on security –the areas that in the crime maps and in the public opinion have high rates of criminality and/or are more targeted by municipal bylaws about security and decay. The research has the aim of understanding and representing both how the security problem relates to certain social classes, how it is constructed and treated, and how attitudes towards safety contribute to create urban areas that can produce segregation and influence the everyday behavior of residents.
As the team is composed by researchers (from Università Iuav di Venezia and Unilasalle, Canoas) with multidisciplinary backgrounds, the aim is to integrate the different components and approaches with the attempt to depict a more complex and transversal representation of the case in study through the following main frameworks:

• sociological framework
The sociological analysis of the urban territory and of the social composition which animates and lives that territory appear fundamental in order to delimit the field of the research and to individualize the social classes that are mostly interested in urban safety issues and in the construction of the security discourse. Through the methodology of the case study, the sociologists work on the social representations of urban security, and on the collection and organization of data on social stratification, crossing them with those relating to the location preferences of the residents in the MCV.

• legislation framework
From the approval of the “Pacchetto Sicurezza” (2009), the mayors received special powers regarding urban safety issues. It is relevant to analyze the phenomenon of the ordinances which, using the rhetoric of the safety, tend to strike subjects and behaviours of “social deviance” and “urban decay”. Moreover, a particular attention is be devoted to the presence of video surveillance devices, to the laws linked to the use of the image and to the conflict among these and the right to privacy, constitutionally described.

• urban design and communication design framework
A further effort is conducted in trying to show how safety issues have acquired a decisive role in determining a transformation of urban spaces in MCV in which barriers material and immaterial reproduce social separations, generating spatial boundaries. Also it is started an attempt to put light on the rhetoric and the politics of the urban safety representation produced in different subjects of the Veneto community (private citizens, committees of district and social organizations, public administrations, media) and the impact of the video surveillance in the disourse on safety.

 

Methodology
1. state of the art, analysis of the literature and the researches already conducted by other scholars;
2. reconstruction of the network of actors, stakeholders and agents that operate in the context of the urban safety in MCV;
3. interviews;
4. visual mapping of the presence (and of the ecological and sociological impact) of devices and the architectures of security + analysis of the rhetoric of safety.