This project was realized with the citizens of the city of Monza through architecture and cinema workshops. In the suburban neighborhood of San Rocco – Sant’Alessandro there once was a meadow that was inaccessible and secured by a gate. The meadow is now open to the whole neighborhood: a big wooden “nest” will welcome the citizens allowing them to hang out, read and play.

Both “Off the Rails: Metropolitan Visions between Tripoli and Mogadishu” project and the participatory video that illustrates it, demonstrate that it is possible to involve people and to push them to take care of their neighborhood and of the public spaces that populate it so as to make them welcoming and a place for interacting.

For about six months, in 2022, a group of architects, film directors and facilitators organized a number of events with the purpose of getting to know the neighborhood and its inhabitants, and to envision what to create in this meadow between Tripoli street and Mogadishu street in Monza.

Thanks to the PVCODE method of participatory cinema, the participants became videmakers and filmed the whole process by themselves. After learning the ropes of documentary-making, the participants filmed and explained every step of the project by alternating images of the workshop, interviews to those who live in the neighborhood and images of the most significant spots of the area. What came out of it was a fun documentary film which shows that it is possible to share ideas, creativity and skills for the good of the community. “Off the rails” shows that it is possible to carry out activities of active citizenship in order to take over “interstitial spaces” and to strengthen the relationship among citizens. The participatory video techniques and the idea of creating a film together, facilitate an active participation by awakening the curiosity of the participants and by making them the main actors of the process. In this way, the project succeeds in the triple aim to make an area livable, to create new connections and social relations and, thanks to the film, to share the experience elsewhere and with new audiences, so that more and more people become aware of the fact that it is possible to have an active citizenship.

CREDITS This project was developed by Africabougou and Liberi Svincoli. The first one is an NGO that organizes projects aiming to the development of rural villages in Sub-Saharan Africa and promotes planning workshops that connect citizens and communities. The second one, is the association that works in the field of participatory cinema and community development. Partners: Meta social cooperative with C.A.S.E. Bussola, Auser Insieme San Rocco, and ScatolaAperta cultural association. With the patronage of the City of Monza (Milan, Italy). “Off the rails” won the third edition of “Creative Living Lab” tender promoted by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity of the Italian Ministry of Culture which supports urban regeneration projects. Our participatory documentary was ideated and realized following the PV CODE method under the supervision of CARLO CONCINA, CRISTINA MAURELLI and MICHELE FOSSATI, DEBORAH MORESE, GIORGIA MOSCA, FRANCESCO PEDERZANI, produced by LIBERI SVINCOLI.

Learn more about the project here: