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Ph. © Eliseo Lupo

The Cities

In April 2020, right after the Covid-19 outbreak in Italy and all over the world, the magazine Micromega published an article written by Fausto Carmelo Nigrelli titled “The discarded territories and landscapes as a resource”. His analysis reflects our views perfectly, and we thank Prof. Nigrelli for kindly allowing us to publish an excerpt.
The model of living in the coming decades will have to combine: social distancing not as an imposition by decree, but as an adaptation in the behavior of humans resulting from the new condition of perceived insecurity; the need for sociality and corporeal proximity which, in any case, cannot and must not be replaced by the virtual one; real security in the face of probable new epidemics.
And it can and it must be an opportunity to start looking for a solution to the usual problem: the inequality between the north and the south, between the centers and inland areas.
A vision that puts “rejected territories / landscapes” in the spotlight, in their non-alignment with the mainstream of recent decades, would offer these answers, and an original model of progress for the country. Urban life in the Italian province, in inland areas, is rich in sociality, solidarity and a healthiness unknown in metropolitan life; the network of intangible values ​​and territorial heritage scattered outside the territories of urban dispersion is invaluable.
Just as we rebuild respecting anti-seismic criteria for fifty years after earthquakes, and then, maybe having forgotten that fear, we stop, I believe that for a few generations sociality will have new forms.
For these new forms of sociality, the small and medium-sized cities of inland areas and, more generally, their territories, provide a place, as has been experienced for centuries, in which to combine human and remote relationships. If there is something that the quarantine has made evident, it is that many jobs - especially intellectual ones - can be carried out remotely and that, therefore, it is not necessary to concentrate administrative functions of research, related to the economy of knowledge, in the metropolitan centers; that the networks of essential services, starting with health services, must be widespread and uniformly spread throughout the territory; that local businesses may have a second chance in the clash with mega shopping centers.
With the addition - and this is no trivial matter - of being able to imagine a decisive restart for the primary economy, in the logic of greater autonomy from food imports and growth of short supply chains, and finally to resume the preservation of the territory.
Fausto Carmelo Nigrelli
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