Urban Environment Quality in the Italian Spatial Data Infrastructure

Urban Environment Quality in the Italian Spatial Data Infrastructure

L. Congedo, F. Baiocco, S. Brini, L. Liberti, M. Munafò
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4852-4.ch063
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Public access to environmental information is granted by international law. The European Community has established an Infrastructure for Spatial Information (INSPIRE) in order to provide data and information to effected environmental policies. ISPRA coordinates the Italian Environmental Information and Monitoring System (SINA) and represents the national Inspire coordination structure. Moreover, ISPRA disseminates environmental information through reports, on-line services, and WebGis. Recently, a new WebGis has been developed to provide public access to environmental indicators data contained in the annual report on urban environment quality. Soil, water and air quality, waste, industrial risk, transport and mobility, acoustic and electromagnetic pollution, nature and biodiversity, tourism, and energy were analysed in 34 urban areas. The WebGis provides simple and powerful tools to analyze environmental dynamics of urban areas promoting participatory planning. It was designed to easily access and select the indicators data and to represent their spatial and temporal distribution.
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Environmental Information And Inspire Directive

The 1972 Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, emphasizes the need of “acceptance of responsibility by citizens and communities and by enterprises and institutions at every level” in order to pursue environmental sustainability (United Nations, 1972).

In 1992 the United Nations formulated in principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development the citizens' right to participate in the choices of the public authorities in environmental matters at all stages of decision-making, also declaring that “each individual shall have appropriate access to information concerning the environment that is held by public authorities” (United Nations, 1992).

Subsequently, the “Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters” (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, 1998), also known as Aarhus Convention, affirmed that:

  • Public administration “shall ensure that environmental information progressively becomes available in electronic databases which are easily accessible to the public through public telecommunications networks” (Article 5 paragraph 3);

  • Public administration “shall make appropriate practical and/or other provisions for the public to participate during the preparation of plans and programmes relating to the environment, within a transparent and fair framework, having provided the necessary information to the public” (Article 7).

The Aarhus Convention was ratified in Italy with L.108/2001, while the European Union implemented the Convention by adopting the specific Directives 2003/4/EC and 2003/35/EC.

During the last few years many studies attested that spatial information and web-based gis (WebGis) can play a major role in promoting participatory planning by disseminating environmental data (Culshaw et al., 2006; Simão et al., 2009). In this context the Directive 2007/2/EC establishes an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community, also known as INSPIRE, “for the purposes of Community environmental policies and policies or activities which may have an impact on the environment” (Council Directive 2007/2/EC).

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