« The spatial translations of theories and policies of decentralization in the 20th Century ».
“The two sister arts of Agriculture and Industry were not always so estranged from one another as they are now. There was a time, and that time is not so far back, when both were thoroughly combined”, explained P. Kropotkin in Fields, factories and workshops. “But then came the water-motors, steam, the development of machinery, and they broke the link which formerly connected the farm with the workshop.” According to Kropotkin, such a development was at the origin of the misery he could observe at the end of the 19th Century, in the urban as well as in the rural world. The solution, according to him, was the “industrial village”, so “the scattering of industries over the country” in such a way that industry and agriculture would be combined again. It wasn’t only a spatial remedy to the problem, it was mainly a economic solution in order to fight against the centralization of capital in the hands of just a few. Beginning of the 20th Century, this observation was shared by many advocates of decentralization in the United States (as the members of the Regional Planning Association of America). According to them, electricity, telephone, automobile, opened up new horizons for such a reorganization of the various activities on the ground.”
“L’écosystème foncier : une hypothèse théorique pour lire les établissements humains. Mise à l’épreuve par l’étude du territoire de la Matheysine (Isère, France) et de l’Oderbruch (Brandebourg, Allemagne)”
Catherine Maumi est invitée à donner, le 11 décembre 2018, la conférence inaugurale du colloque « The idea of decentralization and regional planning, in the 20th Century. Projects, visions, ideologies between the Cold War and the Welfare State » qui se tiendra les 11 et 12 décembre 2018 au Politecnico di Milano.
La conférence, intitulée « Decentralization: another way to think and plan our urban and rural environments », proposera d’explorer certaines des théories décentralisatrices développées au cours du XXe siècle.
Résumé L’idée de décentralisation n’a cessé d’être revisitée au cours du XXe siècle, plus particulièrement dans les moments de crises – politique, économique, environnementale, sociale, culturelle, … La décentralisation s’entend pour certains, au début du XXe siècle, comme le moyen de s’opposer aux effets dévastateurs de la métropolisation qui, depuis le dernier quart du XIXe siècle, ruine les ressources naturelles, les cultures et économies locales, uniformisant les modes de vie. Nombre des partisans de la décentralisation sont alors mobilisés par la volonté de lutter contre l’ordre établi et la conviction qu’une autre organisation spatiale, en phase avec la nouvelle société plus équitable à laquelle devait donner jour le monde « moderne » du XXe siècle, serait à même de modifier cet ordre des choses. Décentraliser revenait aussi, dans certains contextes, à adopter un mode de développement plus respectueux de l’environnement – de la Terre – et de l’Homme. Pour cette raison, la pensée décentralisatrice ne peut être considérée uniquement sous l’angle d’une nouvelle réorganisation des diverses activités sur le sol ; elle constitue également un nouvel ordre économique et social se voulant plus égalitaire, celui-ci étant désormais envisageable grâce au déploiement des techniques modernes (l’électricité, le téléphone, la motorisation, la radio, etc.).
Du 20 au 23 juin a eu lieu le colloque international « Productives mountains. Landscapes, actors, flows, perspectives. », organisé par Rete Montagna et IUAV à Venise et en Val Comelico, Dolomites.
Caterina Franco a présenté son travail intitulé «Between product and resource : the transformation of landscape in the history of ski resorts in the French-Italian Alps »
The proposed contribution deals with the production of a landscape by the development of tourist activity in the highlands of the French-Italian Alps. We refer to landscape as to a synergy between the natural features of a site and the work of man on it (Turri, 2001) and we focus the attention on the evolution of this relationship after the implantation ex-nihlo of cities for leisure and sports occurred after the Second World War.
The trajectory of this evolution is characterized by an initial massive exploitation of the environmental elements of the site like snow or pastures; a breaking point after the oil crisis in 1973 and some winters without snow, that demonstrated how the availability of those natural elements was not unlimited; finally, evidences of strategies adopted to face external changes, like huge modification of sites for production of artificial snow or, in some cases, the enhancement of alternative natural features to enlarge the tourist offer.
The main objective of the research is to provide a new knowledge of the historical process of design and construction of alpine ski resorts, shifting from the analysis of autonomous and decontextualized objects, towards the enquire on the transformations that occurred to the natural environment, (using water, soil and vegetation as indicators) and to the built environment (considering the changings in the system of infrastructure).
Basing on the idea that the comprehension of the historical process helps in understanding the response that these sites are giving towards the actual critical issues, the research also wants to provide tools for the actors engaged in the reflection on the future of ski resorts. Understanding the relationship between the tourist activity and the elements of the natural landscape could open the way to a reflection of them as territorial resources (Gumuchian, Pecqueur, 2007).
The contribution proposes a case study analysis of La Plagne, in Savoy (France) and San Sicario in Piemonte (Italy). Trough documents collected in the archives of architects or in municipal archives, we analyse the projects to understand the evolution of ideas; through historical maps or orthoimages we study the effective transformation of the territory. Drawing and cartography are the principal tools used to retrace the changing of the landscape, together with the production of systemic timelines to understand the network of actors and urban tools that contributed to the modification of land.
Landscape is a crucial aspect in the reflection on the future of the high-altitude ski resorts. Indeed, on one side, landscape features could play an important role in the process of diversification of the tourist offer, on the other hand, natural resources will increasingly be considered in the elaboration of post-carbon scenarios.
The research also seems to suggest that both the history and the strategies that could be implemented are “site specific”: rather than proposing general models, a deep understanding of each context could help in revealing its potentialities and vulnerabilities.
Catherine Maumi a été invitée à donner la conférence inaugurale du colloque international MODSCAPES, Modernism, Modernisation and the Rural Landscape qui s’est tenu à Tartu (Estonie) du 11 au 13 juin 2018.
La conférence s’intitulait “Ruralism as opposed to Urbanism; Regional Planning as Human Ecology. When modernity was also an invitation to be inhabitants of the Earth”.
Résumé At the beginning of the 20th century, the United States do not reflect anymore the ideal of being the “Garden of the World”, one which had fostered the imagination of its inhabitants since the end of the 18th century, and had built a specific landscape – the pastoralor middle landscape – during the 19th. The country has now established itself as a major industrial and economic force, and New York symbolizes this new national power. However, this evolution wasn’t without serious consequences on the living conditions within the urban and rural realms, where a large part of the population was getting poorer. It had also caused dramatic transformations of the natural landscape and even, more important, large-scale ecological disasters. These significant changes invited some professionals and intellectuals (economists, architects, landscape architects, urban planners, foresters, etc.) to work on new economic, political and spatial proposals in order to avoid all kind of speculation – on the land, money and on human workforce – and to imagine new ways of life on Earth more respectful of its resources, natural ecosystems, but also of the living world, humans being part of it. The first proposal we will focused on is the idea of geotechnics, or Regional planning, as defined by Benton MacKaye, and as illustrated by his project for the Appalachian Trail, first presented in 1921. According to MacKaye, “Regional planning is ecology. It is human ecology ; its concern is the relation of the human organism to its environment”. The second project is the one proposed by Frank Lloyd Wright with Broadacre City, illustrated by the model shown in 1935; it was built with the purpose of explaining to the general public a new, cooperative and democratic way of life on Earth. It is impossible to dissociate anymore the rural realm from the urban one in Broadacre City, where “it is true that landscape becomes architecture just as architecture becomes a kind of landscape. But both are integral with the ground and are an orchestration of form according to nature”. Both visions are inviting us to think about the problems we have to face now, on the 21st Century, on any place of the Earth.