Debate the future of Newcastle’s parks

Newcastle’s parks and allotments are facing big changes, but local people are being brought into the discussion.

Open Lab is working with Newcastle City Council to hold workshops and online discussions that include residents, allotment holders, the business community, local charitable groups, friends of parks and other interested parties. These conversations are centred around what activities a charitable trust could support, where the money should come from, what role volunteers and communities should play, and how decisions should be made.

The consultation comes after the council announced plans to transfer the city’s parks and allotments to a new charitable trust. Since 2010 the council’s parks budget has been cut by 91% and it is now looking for a new way to fund their maintenance and operation.

In addition to the council’s own consultation, Open Lab are running workshops across the city, with a mix of morning and evening sessions, to allow as many people as possible to take part.

“The people who use the city’s parks and green spaces are best placed to give their opinions about how they’re run and managed,” explained Clara Crivellaro, who is leading the project for Open Lab. “These workshops will provide opportunities for people to come together to examine aspects of the council’s proposal and proactively contribute ideas for parks and allotments across the city.”

The workshops are being complemented by Twitter discussions, hosted each Wednesday at 7pm by @NCLTalkParks using the hashtag #NewcastleParks. Each of the four hour-long debates will focus on a different question relating to the future of Newcastle’s parks.

The Twitter discussions will be facilitated by Dan Lambton-Howard, who said: “Twitter provides a fantastic opportunity for people to have their say without having to attend a public meeting or workshop. Anyone with a Twitter account can join in the debate, and can already start having their say by using the hashtag #NewcastleParks.”

Clara added: “The variety of ways that people can get involved in this consultation exercise is a great example of what Open Lab is all about – using digital technology to empower local communities and engage them in decision making.”

Open Lab’s consultation will run until 6 April, and more information can be found at the Let’s Talk Parks website. The council will use the ideas collected through the discussions and through its own consultation to develop a business case for transferring control of the parks to a charitable trust.

Cllr Kim McGuinness, cabinet member for culture and communities at Newcastle City Council, said: “Open Lab at Newcastle University have come up with imaginative ways to deliver online material and informal face-to-face workshops that will help people think about the matters being raised. Technology and social media play a big part in Open Lab’s work – as they look to get people to think outside of the box, and express their views and thoughts about the prospects of a charitable trust.

“We hope this fresh approach will attract a broad cross section of the public and allow people to participate on their own terms in person or via technology. We really want people to engage and share their thoughts, ideas and feelings about the future of the city’s parks.”

For more information, please contact Clara Crivellaro.

Blue House roundabout views

A collaborative approach to planning that involves the local community is a key digital civics interest. A road scheme so controversial it had to be scrapped presented the opportunity to try this out in Newcastle.

Proposals for a new Blue House roundabout received so much opposition that the Council went back the drawing board, enlisting the help of residents to find a solution to one of the city’s most dangerous junctions.

A Blue House working group was set up, supported by Open Lab researchers, to look into alternative proposals and bring the community into the planning process. Representatives from residents’ associations, transport providers and other stakeholders were invited to take part, including Tony Waterston, chair of the Jesmond Residents’ Association.

In his three years in charge of the JRA Tony has tried to encourage a more positive attitude towards planning, and his participation in the Blue House working group exemplifies this.

Tony has generally been impressed by the process and sees it as a step in the right direction from the Council. Compared to previous schemes such as the redevelopment of Acorn Road, which attracted considerable opposition in Jesmond, Tony feels the Council has been more committed to consultation this time round.

“There is a lot of scepticism about Council consultations,” Tony said, describing the attitudes of many Jesmond residents. “Because of a feeling that they don’t mean anything, that they’ve already decided. And I think this Blue House one is different because they haven’t decided.”

“I think there is definitely a learning process going on in the Council,” he added.

This learning process also applies to the working group itself.

Tony identified three key problems the working group faced. “How do you select the people who are on the group?” he asked, adding, “it’s bound to have a bias in some direction or other.”

Secondly, the technical knowledge required: “It’s been a sharp learning curve to start to understand, as a member of the group, what the principles are that one would apply to a major junction. The people are being expected to take on board years of traffic planning expertise.”

Tony also pointed out the difficulty in engaging the wider public with the working group. Despite his efforts to circulate questionnaires around Jesmond residents, he has received little response, and other residents’ groups have faced similar problems.

“I think that’s partly because people get more interested at the grassroots level when there’s things they want to oppose,” Tony suggested. “When they’re being asked for positive ideas, they don’t actually tend to come up with anything.”

Indeed, the most significant public involvement with the Blue House roundabout discussions has been at a town hall meeting organised by Chi Onwurah MP in August. The meeting was organised before the Council dropped their plans, but took place just hours after the announcement.

While the meeting was useful in engaging people and increasing awareness of the proposals, Tony believes that smaller meetings, like the Blue House working group, are the best way to get actual change.

“I don’t think it really helps to just call a meeting,” he said. “You just get opposition then. I think smaller meetings with representative groups who go back is a better way of doing it.”

Instead of the opposition that arose from the town hall meeting, the working group has looked at alternative plans and discussed the core issues. Tony pointed out that traffic growth is not inevitable and that the Blue House roundabout may not need to be made bigger, as the Council had originally proposed. He suggested that people could be encouraged, “with inducements and pressure to make it harder to drive”, to use alternative modes of transport, including cycling.

Balancing the needs of different users of the roundabout is no easy task. Tony is aware that there is no guarantee the working group will find an acceptable solution, but sees this as best way to keep the most people happy.

Once the working group have finalised their suggestions these will be fed back to the Council, who will put their latest plan for the roundabout out to consultation with the wider public.

Tony hopes the working group method will be applied to other planning issues, even if it is a long-winded system. He also suggested, “the next stage, if we’re really going to be serious about that, is to give the group funding.” This kind of participatory budgeting, already used successfully in many cities across the globe, could really empower local communities to shape the environments in which they live.

Written by Mark Sleightholm. For more information, please contact Clara Crivellaro.

Local democracy in action: a reflection on the #notwestminster conference

On 10 and 11 February, we attended the #notwestminster conference in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. This event brought together tens of people from local authorities, universities and tech startups to attend a series of design experiments and workshops centred around strengthening local democracy – however far we happen to be from London. We found the event thought-provoking and it really got us thinking about our work in digital civics, and in particular our work around digital local democracy.

The first day operated like a mini-hackathon – get a bunch of people in a room to make things in a short space of time. Having been victorious in our attempt at the marshmallow challenge, we went from strength to strength and worked in our team to come up with a design provocation or “experiment” around enhance local democracy. Whilst other teams were designing apps and digital tools for participatory budgeting, our team took it back to basics and came with something rather analogue – a box that could be used to collect in-situ views on a design proposal, but would encourage two-way interaction with the comments to begin a conversation around local issues.

We all felt that citizens simply “having their say” by depositing comments in a black-box fashion did not truly represent local democracy, so we sought to challenge this by subverting the typical interaction one would have with a voting box – by being able to take your comments back out of the slot! We trialled our design experiment on the streets of Huddersfield to great effect, and we seemed to generate a lot of interest standing outside the local shopping centre!

Interviewers asking questions on a streetThe second day was the main event of #notwestminster, consisting of a series of talks and workshops. The ‘lightning talks’ covered everything from how community work and engagement in local groups can foster active citizenship, and how a council of the 21st century can look, to a very personal and inspirational account of working with the former MP local to Huddersfield, Jo Cox.

Participants could then freely choose three out of a total of 13 one-hour workshops throughout the day. The topics covered were again broad, with a focus on how councils can better collaborate with citizens and communities. We attended workshops on better handling discussions around local issues through software-based argument mapping, how hyperlocal conversations in action can enable self-organisation of people, and on citizen engagement strategies for councils. We also attended an interesting psychogeographical walk to three places in the neighbourhood. On the walk we were asked to reflect our feelings for the place through a questionnaire and a discussion afterwards. This fun and fascinating experience can be a valuable tool for our own work around place-making and understanding the significance and richness of places to communities and visitors.

We both found the conference to be very engaging and not like anything we had attended before – bringing together a diverse range of democracy practitioners and researchers to exchange ideas and knowledge that we could take back to our digital local democracy work here in Open Lab. We look forward to keeping in touch with the contacts we made, and hopefully returning again next year!

The organisers made a Storify for the two days, which can be found here:

Written by Sean Peacock and Sebastian Prost.

Managing the expectations gap of technology in politics

Popular participation in politics may have declined in recent decades, but the ways politicians communicate with their voters have multiplied thanks to digital technologies, and the image they present is more than ever. Come September, James Earley will be joining the Centre for Doctoral Training in Digital Civics, but he is currently working as communications officer for Liam Byrne, the Labour MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill.

Improving communications between Byrne and his constituents is about more than emails and tweets. “There’s weird expectations of government, of what people can do, and what can and cannot be achieved,” James explained, referring to the expectations gap that can cause so many problems for politicians. “How you manage those relationships is really hard, and it’s really important.”

The past two decades have seen a new front open in political engagement, with social media, websites and email lists now a vital part of each MP’s overall communications strategy. Some politicians are able to use these new tools effectively, while others lag behind on digital affairs. James spoke of government generally playing “catch up”, admitting, however, that digital technologies can enhance the ways in which MPs run their operations.

“Where things get interesting is where you go into campaign mode,” he added. “You’re basically looking to get as much meaningful information as possible, but we are still learning how to do this.” MPs receive dozens of emails every hour, and responding to each of these in a consistent way is no easy task. Many of the concerns raised by constituents are also complex and potentially sensitive cases; James describes MPs as occasional social workers, and record keeping and effective communication are vital.

Technology can help with this. “It’s basically customer management relationship systems that we’re specifically trying to mod and use for the purposes of case work and volunteer management,” James explained. The aim is to build a profile of Labour’s support in Birmingham Hodge Hill, and – crucial to on-the-ground campaigning – where their volunteers are.

Digital civics is just as interested in how people use technology as in the technology itself, and the management systems James uses demonstrate this: “It’s very low-tech, and I don’t think it necessarily needs to be more high-tech, it just needs to be done better, and with more consistency and with better processes.”

Online platforms have enabled new, bottom-up approaches to political engagement, but James was unimpressed with online petition sites and the “artificial sense of urgency” – and frequent disappointment – they create. In his view the more significant changes that technology is bringing to politics is through the organic organisation of groups online, such as Uber drivers uniting to secure better workers’ rights.

This is something that James hopes to build on through his research at the CDT. He explained: “My long-standing political fantasy is to engineer some kind of reinvigoration of the municipal government model. For a long time local government was seen – perhaps I’m being romantic here – as some kind of benevolent force in people’s lives. Now it is increasingly being seen as something which frustrates your ambitions or fails to live up to expectations.

“Participation rates are low, turnout in local elections is low, by-elections are terribly low, and finding ways for local government to become more effective, more nimble, and better able to deliver and understand people’s points of view – I see that as a really important part of potentially restoring local government.

“That’s where I see the bottom up thing; I don’t think it will come through atomised individuals signing petitions. I think it has to involve a lot of offline hard work, face-to-face kind of stuff, but there will be digital technologies which will enhance that in ways that we weren’t able to do before.” This is exactly the kind of online-offline combination that digital civics seeks to explore.

Written by Mark Sleightholm.

Working towards a Blue House roundabout solution

Following Newcastle City Council’s decision in August to rethink their plans for the Blue House roundabout, a working group was set up with representatives from the Council and local community groups. Open Lab has helped to facilitate this process, including documenting the consultation process on the working group’s website.

The working group has held regular meetings to discuss the plans for the roundabout, which has one of the highest accident rates in Newcastle. The idea behind the group was to increase public consultation and engagement in the planning process, something which resonates with much of Open Lab’s work.

Clara Crivellaro, who has done research into an online community-led campaign to save Tynemouth Outdoor Pool, has attended meetings as part of the Open Lab team. She explained: “This is part of a larger agenda within digital civics, looking into the potential role of digital technologies and design to support meaningful public discussions and processes of public consultations around the future of the places that matter to us in the city.”

Blue House Roundabout

Open Lab’s involvement with the Blue House roundabout working group also builds on work by Ian Johnson, Zander Wilson and Jen Manuel, who have all researched ways of engaging the public, and in particular voices that are not often heard, with planning decisions.

While the working group was designed to include the voices of a range of residents and users of the roundabout, the planning process can still be made more transparent. Both textual and graphic minutes of the meetings are uploaded to the working group’s website, but the press are not allowed access to the meetings themselves.

This demonstrates a need to balance the requests of the working group participants with public accountability and involvement in planning processes, which feeds in to Open Lab’s digital civics research. The Blue House roundabout working group is not just about finding the best solution to the increased traffic at the roundabout; it is an opportunity to explore new ways of using technology to engage the public in planning decisions.

For more information please contact Clara Crivellaro.

Technology, transport and town hall meetings

As well as being Labour’s MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central, Chi Onwurah is interested in both transport and digital technology. The intersection of these two areas falls within Open Lab’s digital civics research, and the potential for technology to transform transport is enormous.

Cycling in Newcastle

Having recently started cycling again, Chi is keen for Newcastle to become more cycle-friendly. She praised the efforts of the Council to promote cycling in Newcastle, and pointed out that the city is steep compared to many others in the UK, making it more difficult for cyclists.

However, in addition to more cycle lanes, and cycle lanes that do more to protect cyclists, Chi would like more awareness around cycling, such as bike maintenance and safety, explaining: “people are still quite astounded when I turn up on a bike, and I think normalising it would help.” This is perhaps an area where digital technology can help,

“I’d like to see better and clearer cycle routes, which are enforced, so you don’t get cars parking in them all the time,” she continued. “I don’t know why they often stick bollards in front of cycle routes, but it feels like you’re negotiating an obstacle course sometimes.”

Digital planning

Another obstacle course that needs negotiating is the planning process. In August Chi organised a Town Hall meeting in Gosforth to discuss the Council’s plans for Blue House roundabout, which were dropped after significant public opposition.

This meeting highlighted Chi’s point that people are most engaged with planning decisions when they disagree. She speculated that digital technology could offer a way of engaging people without first making them angry.

Making meetings inclusive is also important: the people who attended the Blue House roundabout meeting in August “didn’t have childcare or other care responsibilities at that time, and who knew about it, because we put out a few fliers, but I mainly tweeted about it.

“You need to have different ways of engaging with different demographics: those who work evenings, those who have childcare responsibilities, those who aren’t on the internet or don’t use it that much.”

Opening up an online platform for discussion of planning issues could help to balance the difficulties people may face in attending physical meetings, but this is then dependent on internet access. “I think there’s the potential for digital technology to play a really important role in engaging people,” Chi said, adding that she hadn’t yet “seen any really engaging or compelling applications that really do help us out”.

One example of success in this area of engagement is the games industry – “nobody ever has to pay people to play games” – and Chi hoped that this level of engagement could also be achieved in apps and platforms that encourage people to get involved in planning and local decision making.

Whether through games or anger, getting local people involved in planning decisions is a key aim for both Chi and Open Lab’s digital civics researchers. The Blue House roundabout controversy showed the crossover of planning, transport and technology that Chi feels so passionately about.

Online, engaging and international: a new way of learning is an online education platform, built with activism-focused courses in mind. These courses bring high school students from all over the world together in a five-week program. All of the course editions that we have done so far were done in partnership with United World Colleges.

Our mission at Learning Circle I/O Ltd. is: “Learn, engage and create change with our online courses”. We provide the space for students and participants to learn from experts, from each other, and from the vast amount of information that is available, primarily on the internet. Having created fertile ground for learning, we then encourage students to engage with issues or subjects through undertaking regular assignments, which often involve real-world action. This helps to create change in the lives of students and those around them.

Global problems, local communities

The online classes are taught with the Benefits Of UCaaS and are usually civics-focused, meaning we help students from all walks of life build the skills and networks needed to tackle global problems, starting with their local communities. At the same time our students develop international and intercultural friendships through our interactive course format, where students meet face-to-face with other course participants via regular small group video conferences.

Technology and innovation are at the core of our approach to education. Students learn how to access and analyse all available information, and learn to understand bias embedded in data. Assignments are designed to suit the different talents of the student community, allowing for creative expression using different media.

We are inspired by the idea that education can be student-led. We want to encourage our course participants to identify their own interests and grow as independent thinkers. With our unique flexible curriculum and assignment structure students can design a course that best fits their learning objectives. This approach allows the students to develop skills that are crucial in today’s world: teamwork, creativity, independence and adaptability.

Course format

We help students challenge the unknown, embrace complexity, and accept failure as a stepping stone. This is done through our five-week course format. While the day-to-day structure may vary, depending on the needs of the students and the course provider, each week tends to run as follows:

On the Sunday of the preceding week students receive a reading and video list for the coming week. This is usually composed of newspaper articles and/or YouTube videos (such as TED talks) related to the week’s topic.

Learning Circle screenshotOn Wednesdays students receive a video lecture from an expert in the relevant field. Students can watch the lecture live and ask questions, or they can submit questions in advance and watch it later.

On Thursdays students take part in a ‘group session’, a video conference with a group of around eight students. These group sessions are typically an hour long and usually also attended by a ‘mentor’. Mentors are volunteers, often former Learning Circle I/O Ltd. course participants, who have been trained to facilitate these group sessions, although students are encouraged to start taking a lead, by chairing meetings and taking notes. Depending on the course, some group sessions will not have a mentor, but will be self-organized. Instead, mentors will be on call as experts students can call upon to answer particular questions.

Following the group session, students are set assignments which they have to complete, often in collaboration with their fellow course participants, over the weekend. These assignments can be anything from making a creative introduction to themselves for the rest of the students on the course to producing an infographic or video on a particular subject.

Throughout the course we encourage students to get involved in their communities. Civic engagement of the students is at the heart of all our programmes; in most courses each student is encouraged to initiate and/or complete a community service project or social enterprise to apply the knowledge from our course.

For more information please contact Hanna Celina. Hanna also presented her work as a Lab Talk.

Welcome to Open Lab: Athens

Open Lab has a longstanding interest in the connections between technology and political activism and engaging local communities in decisions that affect them. In the summer of 2016 this research expanded to Greece, with the opening of Open Lab: Athens.

The financial crisis has led to huge changes to Greek society, including the development of a solidarity movement. Open Lab’s first ‘lablet’ aims to work with this movement to design and develop technologies that could facilitate more solidarity structures.

Open Lab has traditionally favoured participatory and embedded research, and OL: Athens is a further example of this: university researchers are working directly alongside citizens and solidarity groups.

OL: Athens is led by Vasilis Vlachokyriakos from Open Lab, in collaboration with researchers from universities across Europe, including Newcastle University, Northumbria University and Swansea University from the UK, Hasselt University in Belgium and Saarland University in Germany. OL: Athens also includes developers to design and develop technologies in collaboration with solidarity groups. The lablet also receives funding from the EPSRC Digital Economy Research Centre at Open Lab, Newcastle University.

OL Athens outsideIn addition to working with technology, the OL: Athens researchers will work closely with local communities. Volunteering and engaging with people involved in the solidarity movement forms a key part of the researchers’ work.

Athens provides a unique opportunity to learn about self-organisation and solidarity movements, and OL: Athens aims to combine the issues and values of the solidarity structures with the development of technology. Vasilis explained: “With the establishment of a local lab in Athens, we sought to begin to develop a collaborative relationship with these groups with the intention of assisting the development of technologies that would support them in their day-to-day activities.”

Currently the lablet is focussing on schools, health care, food provision and local democracy, although the specific areas of research will be determined by the solidarity structures that exist.

Eirini Schoinaraki worked as an intern at OL: Athens during its initial months. “During the past few years, Greece has experienced a long list of changes and is currently experiencing a new period of changes not only on a political / economic level but socially and culturally as well,” she said.

“This has led to an increase in solidarity movements within Greece and I strongly believe that technology will help in facilitating these changes by enabling citizens to progress their ideas and actions. That is why I believe that the initiatives and support provided by OL: Athens can bring about a good change and positively influence Greece’s solidarity movement growth.”

For more information please contact Vasilis Vlachokyriakos.

Newcastle’s parks: present and future

Funding cuts – under the UK’s austerity measures – have put huge financial pressure on many areas of local government service provision. One such service is local parks, which have seen their budgets slashed in an effort to minimise the impact on other areas.

In practice, this means that fewer full-time staff are available to local parks, increasing their reliance on volunteers from local communities.

Public concern has risen about the conditions of the Newcastle’s parks and their future. This has prompted the Council to look for and consider creative solutions for their funding and maintenance, with special consideration given to the opportunities they offer for social activities and the benefits they provide for health and wellbeing.

The extent of the threat, and public concern for local parks, has led the Communities and Local Government Committee to launch an inquiry into public parks to examine the impact of reduced local authority budgets on parks serivices.

It is in this context that, since November 2015, Open Lab has been collaborating with Newcastle park services, park rangers, friends of parks and volunteers’ groups to explore the potential of digital technology to support the delivery of park services.

The ongoing project has developed through a series of engagements and the development of Parks2026—a board game that aims to support different stakeholders (rangers, volunteers, friends of parks, park services officers), examine possible futures scenarios and consider creatively and collaboratively possible solutions for the multifaceted aspects at play in the running of park services. Concurrently Open Lab has also begun to explore how digital technologies might support civic learning activities in parks, which have also been significantly reduced due to the cuts.

Open Lab’s involvement with Newcastle Park Services and volunteers’ groups will continue over the next few months, exploring how design tools and technology can support the examination and decision-making processes towards creative and practical solutions to keep the city’s parks a public asset we can all enjoy and care for.

For more information please contact Clara Crivellaro.

Blue House roundabout: planning at the crossroads

For a month in the summer of 2016 suburban Newcastle went to war. The Council’s proposals for major changes to Blue House roundabout in South Gosforth outraged many local residents, and after a month of petitions, feedback and rallies, the Council decided to redesign its plans.

The debate about Blue House roundabout demonstrates how digital technology is changing the planning process. Much of the consultation, both formal and informal, happened online, and as a result of the public reaction to the plans the Council are looking at new ways of engaging with the public.

Within days of the Council announcing the plans, which involved enlarging and moving the roundabout, residents had taken to Twitter to express their views. This use of social media in planning processes forms the basis of work by Open Lab researchers, including Zander Wilson.

“I’m a PhD researcher interested in citizen participation in town planning, undertaking a study looking at how Twitter was used in a campaign against the proposals,” he explained.

“Through looking at the proposals, my study will document the process of citizens using a combination of platforms to rally against the proposals.

“The work will look at how Twitter was used, in conjunction with the council’s consultation platform, and protests to campaign against the proposals, which eventually led to the reconsidering of the plans for the roundabout. The study considers how Twitter might be used to involve citizens in how their neighbourhoods change in the future.”

Online and on the ground

The council’s own website to collect feedback on the plans attracted 2,642 comments, “mostly negative”, and nearly 4,000 people signed a petition opposing the proposals. A similar petition hosted by the Newcastle Liberal Democrats attracted 621 online signatures, and over 1,000 once signatures from a paper version were included. The local Conservative and Green parties also opposed the plans, as did Labour MP Chi Onwurah.

Local community groups, such as Jesmond Residents Association and Space for Gosforth, also got involved in the opposition, and helped to organise the March for the Moor, a physical rally with over 2,000 attendees. A lot of this organisation, as well as the feedback and petitioning, happened online, from Council-run websites to social media, showing the importance of digital technology to a 2016 planning process.

The March took place on 21 August, the same day that the Council’s public consultation ended. Chi Onwurah organised a Town Hall meeting for 24 August to discuss the proposals, but on 23 August the Council announced that they would redesign their plans. “This initial stage of engagement enabled us to take on board the public’s comments before plans are finalised,” the Council explained.

Meaningful public discussions

The Town Hall meeting went ahead, with Chi changing the focus to be a general discussion on the future of West Gosforth. Technology was largely absent from the meeting, but six members of the Digital Civics team went along, including Clara Crivellaro.

“In the meeting we facilitated passionate discussions, centred around the premises for the proposed changes at the Blue House roundabout, alternative possible solutions as well as around ways in which public consultations could be done differently in the future,” Clara explained.

She continued: “This is part of a larger agenda within Digital Civics, looking into the potential role of digital technologies and design to support meaningful public discussions and processes of public consultations around the future of the places that matter to us in the city.”

Over 300 residents attended the meeting. Many complained that they could not hear all the speakers, and others were frustrated that there was no time for questions from the floor. However, everybody at the meeting was encouraged to write down any concerns and suggestions they had, which the Open Lab team digitised and analysed. This combination of traditional meetings and digital technology allowed for more public engagement in the planning process.

The Council used the meeting to announce the creation of a working group, with representatives of various stakeholders, including the community groups that were so involved in campaigning against the proposals. Open Lab are helping this working group to share ideas with each other and with the public. The team have created a website for the group and produced video roundups of meetings.

For more information please contact Clara Crivellaro.