Ravenna, Italy

The city of Ravenna, population of 160,000, is located in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy, 80 miles south of Venice. Like several other Italian cities, Ravenna uses a form of TDR as a way of equitably distributing development potential and thereby mitigating some of the land value inequities created by tradition zoning. As a second but important benefit, these programs allow governments to acquire land for public infrastructure at little or no cost (Micelli and Faggiani, 2001).

Like Venice and Padua, Ravenna uses this form of TDR to implement planning goals in selected parts of the city (Micelli and Faggioni, 2001). Specifically, Ravenna aimed to acquire 33 hectares of land to form a greenbelt of parks. Ravenna also wanted to acquire this land at farmland prices but without using condemnation. The program also has a targeted receiving area: a wharf area called Darsena which was planned for redevelopment.

As in many Italian cities, Ravenna applies a uniform level of development potential to all the land within a comparable classification of land designated for conversion. However, within each classification, the owners of land planned for public infrastructure (in this case the land planned as greenbelt parks) cannot use that development potential on site but can sell it to the owners of land identified for private development (in this case the developers of the Darsena wharf redevelopment area). The owners of the receiving sites can build at or below the baseline density or can exceed baseline by acquiring TDRs from the owners of the sending sites. This approach is intended to equalize the monetary effects of zoning and maintain higher property value for the sending sites than would occur if the city gave little or no development potential to these sites and then acquired them through condemnation at a reduced price. In Ravenna, the sending area property owners sell the parkland to the city at farmland prices once the development rights have been transferred.

Ravenna sending areas have a building index of 0.10 square meters of development per one square meter of land area. Consequently, if developments in the receiving area hosted 33,000 square meters of transferred development potential, development potential would be completely transferred from the 33 hectare green belt allowing the city to buy it at farm prices (Micelli & Faggioni, 2001).

The Ravenna plan was adopted in 1993 and as of 2002, transfers had occurred and the city had acquired 10 hectares for Teodorico Park which with Baroni and Cesarea parks form part of the greenbelt (Mecelli, 2002). Renard (2000) notes that some receiving area developers bought land in the greenbelt for the purpose of secured transferable development potential.

Micelli, E., and Faggiani, (2001) A. New Tools for Land Policy in Italy. Paper presented at the 8th European Real Estate Society Conference. Alicante 26-29 June 2001.

Micelli, E., (2002) Development rights markets to manage urban plans in Italy. Urban Studies. Vol. 39. No 1.

Renard, V. (2000) Land markets and transfer of development rights: some examples in France, Italy and the United States. In Fossati, A., et. al. Tourism and Sustainable Economic Development. Kluwer Academic Publishers.