Tafterjournal n. 87 - MARZO APRILE 2016

Culture and Citizenship


Rubrica: Editoriali

Parole chiave: , , , ,

Most Italian cities, both big cities and small cities, are experiencing a sort of identity crisis, which is the result of different but convergent factors. The failure of the urbanistic vision as a virtuous urban development model. The unresolved relationship between historic city centre and the peripheries. The bureaucratic resistance to the implementation of mid and long-term strategic plans. The tendency in concentrating the cultural production only into the main cultural production centres. The distance between the University and the places where the urban change process take shape.


The lack of intercultural and intergenerational integration processes. The underestimation of the change potential expressed by culture and cultural and creative activities.  These are all issues that affect the real development of a culture-oriented society. Furthermore, there is also another point to underline: the rise of an interpretation of cultural and creative phenomenon as a specific tool of the tourism economy: during last decades, this vision shaped both public and private intervention in culture, realizing processes into a “touristic attractors” perspective. Because of the scarce resources, the touristic addressed interventions the implementation of mid and long term strategies mainly addressed to a change and to a cultural-driven urban renewal.


This misunderstanding led to unfruitful consequences.


The only result achieved by the implementation of interventions mainly addressed to the touristic sectors is the depletion of ethical, economic, social and cultural fabric of territories.


Cultural Intervention should be thought for citizens.


Culture should create resources in terms of cultural capital, which is not formed only by material goods but also and mainly by intangible assets, most of which are held by citizens themselves.


The more citizens read, write, play music, paint, visit museums, listen to music, the more valuable is the cultural stock and the cultural heritage of a Country, of a city or an historic village.


During the last three decades, but maybe even in the post-war period, Italy has always considered culture as an extra-ordinary topic. Something that was at the boundary or behind the daily life, in any case excluded by the ordinary experience.


Relegated into the compulsory training processes (school) and for this reason perceived as a non-natural resource, or exiled within the places of the past, in the buildings of the memory (museums).


In spite of this vision, it is a fact that our Country achieved the main development results when economic fabric (retail and distribution, the production of goods and services, the financial system) joined the social organization, the culture and the arts (Rinascimento, Made in Italy).


Since 15 years there are several evidences that vouch for the existence of a need of culture into the ordinary life and experience (as the Festival of Words that create an alternative way to the knowledge, providing citizens with the physical contact with the authors or the actors).



It’s time to bring the culture back into the everyday life.


And, in doing this, we need to develop and to adopt new management models able to create sustainable cultural policies.


It is clear that every management model will need to be coherent with the cultural policy in its whole and with the economic trends that rules the cities development.


If the future of Italian cities is the smart city, then this framework should consider also the “sharing city” as stated in Rut: “The situation is leaving us to ponder as to what form of leadership on the political level is needed to thrive in a wonderland of a new economy, which is primarily based on digitally enabled sharing”.


The relevance of the design of a management model, which can integrate the economic trends and the cultural needs is even more evident when we think to the city of the future (such smart cities are).


In making this task urgent and difficult, is the need of combining a long-term strategy with short-term results. The failure in this equilibrium will lead us to an even more visible depletion of our heritage and of our socio-cultural fabric.


There are still many question to which we should give answer: which management model will allow us in creating a new implementation strategy able to give solutions to the issues already mentioned? Could cultural and creative industries be the solution to many of these problems? Which are the cultural and political paths to realize our objectives?


In 2012, I’ve been involved in realizing a research project (updated in 2015) entitled 10 Visioni. Nuovi scenari culturali per le città al tempo della crisi (10 Visions. New cultural scenario for cities in time of crisis) [1]. The results highlighted some new ways to intend and to interpret the roles and the functions of culture within the city framework such as Culture Jamming, Diagonal Innovation, Connective Intelligence, Macro+Micro, Neo Cosmopolitism, Shared and Proactive Production, Superstructured Reality, Tanslocalism and Sustainable Urbanisation.


These visions are based on three main features: the centrality of urban territories, new technologies and the shared production.


The papers published in this number of Tafter Journal reflect these perspective in different ways: from the in-depth analysis of the sharing economy proposed by Monika Rut, to the central role played by the architecture in influencing our decision-making patterns, until the relevance of the creation of high-impact exhibitions in order to attract as more citizens as possible. More of all, what these articles undoubtedly show, is the fact that culture has an ordinary dimension, that culture has everyday impact. Now it’s time to acknowledge this evidence and to create a management model able, for real, in addressing this relevance into the economic development of citizens, and then, of the city.





[1] http://www.mohma.it/10visioni.pdf



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