mercoledì 18 febbraio 2009

Demolishing for rebuilding

The recent news about rampant increases in criminal cases in Italy have evidenced the strong links between urban and social degradation for the people living in the abandoned peripheries.

I don't want to discuss about the severity of these crimes: I rather would like to discuss the fact that, beyond further severity of sanctions and punishments, more policemen and soldiers in the streets, maybe it could be necessary to begin questioning about the quality of life in these peripheries and entire cities.

This aspect, unfortunately, still remain undervalued or ignored in Italy because considered a problem of city planning: the interconnections and the implications with other problematic dimensions are not fully understood yet. The creation of dormitory-peripheries - where squalor rules, the buildings' development has been achieved only through speculations or the lack of adequate plans, with no services, no accessibility (all this aggraveted by large scale building abuses) - has been embedded and embodied in psycho-physical degradation and social exclusion. This condition has also caused in Italy the frequent opposition between city centres and peripheries also translated into a remarkable gap in the quality of life.

The idea of a simple urban re-qualification has been completely unsuccessfull also because urban expansions still continue often with the same dynamics which have determined the degradation in the peripheries built in the past. Always there's no general urban strategies, a global planning, political and administrative responsibilities.

The italian paradox is that the historical, landscape and environmental heritage is easily destroyed while degraded areas or devastated landscapes are very hardly demolished and re-built always hoping in a potential future re-qualification.

Building, environmental, social and psychical degradation go always hand in hand. The complete lack of social services and abandoned public spaces produce only social exclusion and tensions among the weakest social sectors. Also thanks to building abuses, maybe in many italian cities a larger number of houses are now more available: yet finally one can have a roof over the head but at the cost to live in a suburb absolutely not integrated in the city life. These suburbs are not integrated with anything.

Speculators and accomplice politicians and administrators are thus guilty not only to have gained enormous fortunes devastating entire areas and territories, but also the life of thousands people.

It is therefore necessary to demolish in order to reconstruct in the name of the quality of life and energy saving considering the low quality of these buildings and their high energy inefficiency.

Adequate investments are urgent required to demolish and reconstruct degraded areas, to realize adequate public spaces and parks, to support the development of economic activities and infrastructures: all this means investing not only in welfare, quality of life and increases in the buildings' quality, but also in terms of public and private security.

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