Italy

Maps (2015) Lago d’Iseo

An image from the project by Christo in Lago d’Iseo. Image from ANSA

This comes from a press release by ANSA, the Italian Press Agency, and the title is quite catching; in English it would be “walking on the Iseo lake with Christ”, as this is a project for a temporary structure on the aforementioned lake, in Northern Italy, which springs from the mind of Christo Vladimirov, aka Christo, and Jeanne- Claude, two plastic artists that have done things as wrapping the Reichstag. As always, an interesting work of art.

Maps 2015 (12) Seeing TV in Italy

grande fratello

Design Density is a research laboratory at the Design Department of the Milano Polytechnic. The Link Magazine, published by Mediaset, called them to do a work for their tenth issue in which they were to visualize a series of datasets concerning how Italians see TV. From the first season of Big Brother and its followers by region (quite related to the places contenders came from) to other issues as the time “compass roses” of audience by chain. All this can be seen in a Flickr group.

From Alps to Atlantic (3) Mestre

Mestre

Can you just talk about Elephant and Castle and not about London? Or Jersey and not Manhattan? I’ll try to write about Mestre (where I took not a single picture) without mentioning the one reference across the lagoon (339 snaps in 4 days).

I can talk about Mestre in many ways (not to my pride somehow): a place where you get from an airport to jump into a train each morning and come back to sleep each night. Or a harbour where I never saw a ship. Or a place where each night I thougt “here, at least you have not to pull a luggage through low light and somehow derelict, narrow streets”. But the simplest would be to say that Mestre is just a sample of the 95% of the European territory in which we live despite the fact it is not that thrilling, even if it is much more practical than the really emotional 5% that makes us go through Mestre in the first place.

And the “best” is that once you’re out, you read and conclude that, had you known that city under different conditions, it could even have been intresting. But you can’t be the gate to Venice and remain unharmed…

Biblio (98) Landscape and economics

Biblio 98 paisaje italia economia

According to the European Landscape Convention, landscape is “an area, as perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors”. The convention mentions the links between economics and landscape, but the fact is that its implementation has often been more oriented towards environmental and perceptive issues, in part due to the difficulties to quantify and relate the multiple actions on landscapes with a concrete impact of each action overall. There are methods to compute the Gross Domestic Product, but it is complex to evaluate the worth of a landscape in a given configuration and by itself (and not just as a simple addition of the value of the present activities), which would be needed to evaluate the impact of a given project.

Sure, you can say that a sustainable development must focus on all three dimensions (social, environmental and economic), and that economic calculation by no means guarantees a better policy or a coherent portrayal of reality. You can even say that creating an algorithm is just a way to have people tamper it to their own benefit.

Despite all that, some have gone down that way. Tiziano Tempesta evaluates the Italian case: “the landscape policies in Italy are currently essentially based on landscape transformation control and on the payment of subsidies to farmers. Since the landscape policies have a cost for citizens, in both cases it is necessary to evaluate the benefits coming from public intervention”.  There are no definitive conclusions, or magic algorithms, but some interesting thoughts on the matter.

Biblio (71) Films

Planum, the Italian online urban planning magazine, is publishing a series of links to urbanism-related films, with interesting examples. Most of the clips are historical, but there are also recent films, that are not freely visible online, but which seem quite interesting, as “unfinished Italy”, in which among other things you can see a re-use of an unifinished road viaduct.

Urban sprawl (6) Italian coasts

ita

The Monti government estimated in march 2012 that the global fiscal amount not perceived by Italian administrations due to illegal buildings was around 500 million Euros. According to some sources, up to 17% of the yearly building production in Italy would be illegal, implying, among other problems, urban sprawl.

The Marenostrum 2012 report, by legambiente.it, describes the situation along the coasts, only a part of the larger issue of “abusivismo elizio”. In cities like Naples or Palermo there are over 6.000 illegal buildings.

This is one of the main problems of an Italian urban planning system that produces sophisticated plans: ensuring the enforcement of the laws.