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Living the world

The world grew up inside him. He entered his house. He almost unaware. The inhabitant of the world, today, is not a navigator who, leaving safe moorings, ventures to discover the unknown. A globetrotter would have said once upon a time. On the contrary, it is an overabundance of information and knowledge that is precipitating from the world in his feelings and generates many of his fears, needs and desires and therefore guides the ways of his living.

This is the opening words of the first chapter of “Geocittà”, a recent text of mine that collects some reflections on the relationship between architecture and the city in the contemporary world; also the result of the experiences carried out in these precious years in the Pescara school.

We must ask ourselves, in the face of the profound changes that are shaking the world, how, today, a “place” and the “globe” are inhabited at the same time. And how the awareness of this increasingly evident condition can induce some opportunities and necessary changes for the city project. It is a known and recurring theme that does not appear, however, to have yet developed all the transformative power it implies. Especially now in which, in the time / space of the whole, huge problems and risks (wars, disasters, migrations, environmental and health risks, economic crises) are conveyed, almost instantly, which push us to close ourselves up, to erect useless walls, to separate, somehow, from the world; but there are also extraordinary opportunities for growth and development which, however, are not distributed in an equivalent way, thus contributing to the increase in inequalities and conflicts.

It is a condition that the usual urban policies and the traditional paraphernalia of the city project have not been able to effectively interpret. Above all because they are essentially applied to "things", to their metric and economic aspects and not to those of values, which the "inhabitants" can recognize as their own; rather, to help identify them, so as to be fully involved, as necessary, in the choices.

It is therefore necessary to redefine the urban project, not as a projection to the future of rigidly defined prefigurations and essentially referring to an organization, however broad, of “objects”, but as the activator of a multiple dialogic process of transformation of contexts.

To this end, the role of form must be reconsidered in the various phases of the process, as an indispensable tool to allow the various choices to be made, with the awareness of their configurative consequences. They are "tentative" forms, programmatically open, to produce imaginaries that serve to perceive and activate the potential qualities of the same ambiguous essence of contemporary reality - discontinuous, multi-scale and multi-material - to be pushed towards an overall vision, to be compared and shared, in to respond to the need for reconciliation between cosmopolitanism and rootedness.

For this, a definition such as that of geocity can be useful. Because it is a polysense term: it suggests at the same time a condition - to be, in some ways, the entire globe a city -, and an opportunity, offered by its very form and material, for which every city must refound itself on the "earth / land ”To be used in all its depth: the first fundamental infrastructure to be put in place to give balance and quality to urban life.

Pepe Barbieri.

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