The enhancement of public real-estate assets through participation and social innovation: Empirical data from Italy

Data Brief. 2018 Oct 3;21:2379-2383. doi: 10.1016/j.dib.2018.09.112. eCollection 2018 Dec.


For years the enhancement of public real estate assets has been at the center of a lively debate in Italy. Over the last few years, as a consequence of a significant decline of the real estate market, public policies have associated the enhancement of public assets with social innovation. Abandoned buildings without any interest for the real estate market have turned into opportunities for development for profit and non-profit entrepreneurs operating in the most diverse domains, with particular reference to cultural-based activities, digital manufacturing and subsidiary welfare. The data collected, relating to 50 significant successful experiences throughout Italy, are aimed at highlighting the conditions that favor the enhancement of public property assets in support of social innovation. In particular, the research aims to describe this phenomenon through quantitative data and it offers an effective interpretation of the main characteristics of bottom-up processes in Italy. Data can be gathered in three groups. The first includes the variables that indicate the location of the case study (region, city, part of the city in which the building is located) and specify the endowment of social capital of the area according to public statistic sources. The second includes the variables related to the dimension (variable considered for size classes) and to the quality of the assets (in particular according to their obsolescence). Finally, the third one considers the juridical and managerial aspects of the relationship between public landlords and self-organized associations and groups (nature of the contract, commitments of the parties, internal organization of associations and groups).

Keywords: Bottom-up processes; Grass-roots participation; Public real-estate property; Social capital; Social innovation; Urban reuse.