You are one of the tutors of the G124 group created by the senator architect Renzo Piano to deepen the study, try to give solutions, for the development of the suburbs and the city that will be. What are the main problems encountered in a work of this type and what is the role that the suburbs have in your idea of the city of the future?
The biggest obstacle to talking and working on the peripheries is our cultural heritage often linked to the idea that the peripheries are places destined inexorably to abandonment and decay, to the physical and cultural absence of fruitful spaces. But those who live in the suburbs do not live like this or at least not always like this: they have a social fabric made up of small associations, frontier schools, unexpectedly large openings and availability both on the part of those who frequent them and of physical resources. And above all, the suburbs have a very strong and unique identity dimension.
This is where our work must start. Amplify the work already done, coordinate the various levels of control by the administrations and highlight the "beauty" of which Piano speaks and make it the semantic turning point of the very word "periphery".
After all, there is no doubt that the future lies in these areas, because it is here that it will be easier and also interesting to express our ideas as architects and urban planners. They are an ideal field to heal the messy fabric of the territory, but above all to give work to many young boys looking for a chance.
The peripheries are our "frontier land", the place of hope and research and represent the possibility of definitively resolving integration conflicts: ethnic wealth will be the first objective towards which to move.
The problems encountered on this issue are that no one listens to anyone anymore. The work of the architects who worked on this project by Renzo Piano have implemented a great listening policy by becoming psychologists who try to solve people's problems by giving a creative and concrete answer. It is clear that the breadth of the problem of the suburbs is so vast that there is not a single solution. In the city we live in, you have to take small steps, take a problem and solve it! Our work was done for that. Not a unifying policy of circumscriptions. The city goes on meanwhile people live there and things don't happen. Let's go see where the problem is and let's go and solve it. The problems are then those of listening policies. Those who live there know better than us, they are not only aesthetic problems but cultural ones, the football field is missing .. the path is missing, there is no school, there are no gardens, the bus does not arrive. Everyone has forgotten a bit of the problems .. I see this as a great possibility for architects, to be able to get their hands on the building heritage from a creative and listening point of view. In Catania there was a great involvement with the schools with the citizens but no limitations for the creative aspect for the architect. I hope that over time there is only one city and we can remove this idea of the periphery, a condition not a separation.
Fundamental is the relationship that is established with people, discovering their needs, their expectations, and therefore really understanding how to transform the places in which they live. In this the children and the elderly are the most sincere, they go straight to the point by telling you their needs. Second and third generations living in the suburbs recognize that the periphery is their place of life, they are generally satisfied with the quality of life in the suburbs, but still suffer from the lack of services and reference points related to socialization. Some suburbs, such as Borgata Vittoria in Turin, were born to host the immigration that fueled industrial development in the 60s - 70s, others, such as Librino in Catania, Zen district in Palermo, Scampia and Ponticelli in Naples, Corviale in Rome they are suburbs invented to respond to the lack of social housing, a legacy of the old Law 167, now we understand that monsters have been created.
There is a syllogism to reflect on, you are young to remember that in the '60s and' 70s the historic centers were abandoned and not valued, in that period the "old" was old, decadent and neglected, it did not have the same value which is attributed to him today, little by little the “old” buildings have been arranged and have acquired value, the urban space has experienced a new reality, on a human scale, the quality of life has changed; then the services increased and improved.
Turin to host the 2006 Winter Olympics was "adapted" to receive the event by proposing a more efficient, dynamic, open and functional city also with the redevelopment of the slums, refining the transport and road system; it was an opportunity to leave a better city. Those who live in the historic center now benefit from it.
Those who live in the suburbs must appropriate all available spaces. It is necessary to consolidate the awareness that beauty exists even in the suburbs, perhaps it is not immediately perceived, but it can, must, emerge. This is the solution. Services must be provided, not only transport or infrastructural ones, there must be shops, schools that open to residents after school hours, meeting and socializing places, spaces that can also host events and exhibitions, spaces for time free. Undeveloped areas can be found in the suburbs, ideally they are classified as neighborhood green, in fact never used or even rendered unusable only because the municipal public administrations do not have the financial resources to bear the burden of maintenance.
The inhabitants of the Periphery must take possession of their territory and arrive where the public administrations cannot intervene, create a virtuous system, which takes charge in an intelligent and spontaneous way and which affects the entire community.
Here the problems arise, we have experienced the greatest difficulty in confronting the public administrations and in their control, not proactive. The biggest effort was dealing with the administrative structures and the elaborate bureaucratic requirements. The rule is in force that if there is no reason to deny, then and only then it will be possible to approve, rather than think and affirm: let's see how we can help you and combine something good. suburbs will be able to start, indeed as Renzo Piano says, be the "spark" that triggers new activities where young people will be able to organize themselves with small service companies and feed a microeconomic system for the Start-Ups that will initially operate in the neighborhood and later will be maintenance and reference for both the public and the private sector.
We must leave ... the future is all downhill!