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Virginio Merola Bologna

In the cities of the world, as well as in Italy, these long years of crisis have deepened inequalities. Also in Bologna the difference between those who have a lot and those who have too little have expanded, and the task of a public administration is to intervene to decrease this gap. This is why the Municipality of Bologna is pursuing crosscutting inclusive policies. Our goal is not only to keep our high-standard services, but we think it is important to count on the collaboration of citizens. This is why for many years we have worked on what we call civic imagination and collaboration.

As with the OECD Champion Mayors, it is important for Mayors to join forces and share solutions.

– Mayor Virginio Merola


With a Degree in Philosophy, Mayor Merola was appointed regional secretary of the Italian association of Municipalities, Provinces and Regions in 1989. His political commitment to city government started in 1995 when he was elected President of the Savena District of Bologna for two consecutive terms. In 2004 he was elected as a member of Bologna’s City Council and soon afterwards was appointed Deputy Mayor for Urban Planning and Housing.

From July 2009 until February 2011 Merola was President of the Provincial Council and in May 2011, having run as the mayor candidate of the Italian Democratic Party, was elected Mayor of Bologna, with more than 50% of votes at the first ballot. Since January 2015 he has also served as Mayor of Bologna Metropolitan City. In 2016 he was again elected Mayor for 2016-2021.

How is the
Mayor promoting
Inclusive Growth ?
Regulation on Urban Commons and other civic engagement tools

Since his first term, Mayor Merola wanted to propose a new approach: governing for the citizens, with the citizens. In 2014 he adopted a “Regulation on public collaboration between citizens and the City for the care and regeneration of urban commons”, that allows for the implementation of “collaboration pacts” between the City Administration and associations, individuals or informal groups of citizens. Through these pacts citizens can improve public spaces, green areas, and abandoned buildings. In the following years, District Labs were created. These serve as innovation hubs of collaboration for citizens who want to improve their communities. In just a few years, the City has seen a marked increase in citizen engagement — about 480 collaboration pacts have been implemented and more than 14,000 people voted in the first year of participatory budgeting.

Incredibol! Support programme for Cultural and Creative Industries

Incredibol! (Bologna’s Creative Innovation Initiative) began in 2010 to support cultural and creative industries in the start-up phase. It is coordinated by the Municipality of Bologna and supported by the Emilia-Romagna Region, together with public and private actors. Through an annual call, Incredibol! offers consultancy services, small grants or city-owned spaces by making them available for start-ups operating in the creative field. Incredibol! also organises free workshops, public meetings, networking and b2b events. Moreover, the project is based on a regional public/private network offering guidance, training, and ad-hoc consulting services according to the needs of the call winners.

The Cultural and Creative sector plays an increasingly important role in the Bologna area, not only in terms of economic development and job creation, but also in terms of social innovation, urban regeneration and improvement of the quality of life. This is why both the City and the Regional government have invested in this field.

Infos and opportunities are published on the official website and on the Facebook page.