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Why Riabitare l’Italia?

The demographic, economic, institutional, and civil contraction of a large part of our country is a political and cultural emergency. Italy is the country of territorial diversity and polycentrism, which ranges from inland areas to medium-sized cities, from rural areas to industrial districts. As in the rest of Europe, the progressive lack of interest in polycentrism in Italy determines a marginalization of the territories excluded from the dominant narrative – both in public awareness and in policies. This translates into scarcity of investments tailored to places, lack of employment opportunities, less innovation in personal services and inattention to the climate and demographic challenge. The consequences of this misrecognition of our internal areas are evident. So far, there is no trace of what the future will be of the more than 5,000 Italian stone and wood towns of which Daniel Libeskind, the architect who rebuilt Ground Zero in New York, said to contain the DNA of humanity. Nowadays, the attention of the public opinion and politics is mostly focused on how to transform big cities into poles capable of competing in a global arena, because it is there that, according to the dominant narrative, the future of our country will be determined. However, the fragile polycentrism that crosses the country from North to South requires a deeper insight combined with a more ambitious vision of the future.

The multidisciplinary group of researchers, academics, policy makers and operators gathered around the “Riabitare l’Italia” project, has shown, data in hand, that this is not the case. To recover the perception that Italy’s luck resides precisely in that osmotic relationship that binds the hundred Italian cities and the polycentrism of the territories that surround them, we need to embark on a cultural and political challenge.

Riabitare l’Italia: a cultural, environmental, and political project

Riabitare l’Italia was created in 2020 to bring the territorial contraction issue – from demographic imbalances to institutional, civil, and economic ones – back to the centre of the country’s cultural debate. The association addresses the vast public opinion, the field of research and policies, promoting dialogue between institutions and national private actors. Specifically, it works to:

• promote greater knowledge of the country’s structural complexity, and raise public awareness of the environmental, economic, and cultural value of polycentrism.

• Challenge stereotypes, which look at areas not at the centre of the dominant narratives as residues and determine political choices that marginalize them.

• Enhance the differences and the richness of climates, populations, economies that make our country unique.

• encourage an interdisciplinary look in the field of research, for a better and more complete understanding of the dynamics that cross our territories.

• To favour the meeting between the fields of knowledge and policies, so that more informed policies can be implemented.

• Offer a space for exchange between public institutional and private subjects in the energy, infrastructural and economic sectors.

• Experiment ideas, services, and innovation projects on a territorial basis by involving institutions and individuals with the aim of bringing the population back to the areas.

Riabitare l’Italia operates through:

• The publication of periodic books as well as other material, including videos and essays in our website;

• The Sponsorship of initiatives that go in line with the project objectives.

• The organisation of seminars and workshops both at national and local level.

• The planification of institutional meetings aimed at promoting public / private project partnerships.

• Actions to support existing projects or small starting-up innovation initiatives.