lunedì 20 aprile 2009

Earthquake and Rural Landscape

Rural landscape represents an important resource for Italy (i.e. tourism) whose inefficient management arrives to the public opinion's attention only in presence of catastrophes: the last one for the earthquake in Abruzzo region. When everything is OK nobody cares about the degradation of this important public good but when something dramatic happens, than polemics take off which slowly are turned off till the return to the usual oblivion...

This mismanagement often results from an enormous number of uncoordinated interventions which continously trasform and disfigure landascape with severe impacts under multiple points of view (social, environmental, economic). Quality of rural landscape is thus a cruel indicator of the quality of a culture of local territory and a collective sensibility toward this essential public good.

All this is finally translated into agricultural activities' abandonement, depopulation, weakness of the rural social-economic system, a no-rule building development rarely adequate to rural environment, de-industrialization, soil and water pollution, forests' fires, etc.

In Italy at present we have produced perhaps the ugliest rural landscape among the industrialized countries. A scarce environmental culture, both a public opinion and political level, is at the base of that indifference accompanying this progressive erosion which hampers the understanding of the deep link between landscape and quality of life at local level.

The reconstruction of a culture of landscape and territory is therefore an urgent need even before the reconstruction and recovery of the territory and landcape itself: otherwise we will face further disasters, devastations and systemic destructions of environmental, cultural, economic resources and human know how. And this perspective should be considered valid also for the case of the last earthquake.

A tool which may provide useful contributions within this perspective may be represented by the survey made by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture about the quality of the italian rural landscape with the creation of a related catalogue. This report provides sometimes some discouraging conclusions but it constitutes however an important discussion base to nuorish a direct sense of responsibility in local communities and political institutions.

More info and a synthesis of the report and the list of the areas involved in the survey (in italian) can be found here.

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