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COMUNI(CIT)TÀ - Practices and settlements of contemporary communities

By Emanuele Marcotullio


The city has always been overwhelmed by a double current of desires; that for the city to be a mother and womb, and at the same time a machine and instrument. The desire to resolve such a contradiction is a cruel utopia. It is necessary instead to record this contradiction and give it\ud shape (M. Cacciari).\ud This is necessary today more than ever, at a time when the simbolic value of the city is being progressively lost, thereby creating a territory devoid of Nomos, a territory of General Intellect. Such intellect is abstract,\ud consisting of a network of events connected by hybrid landscapes which are considered a form of "in-mediate" (void of intermediation) communication. It is a territory drowned in dispersion, whose cognitive flow identifies the "common" nature of its traversed landscapes.\ud The inhabitants of these territories undergo the combined action of the virtualisation of relationships and the specialisation of ways of life. Such a broad range of "flexibility" leads to an increased sense of insecurity,\ud whilst the chances of regenerating those conditions of closeness, stability and security at the root of traditional concepts of urban community, seem to be reduced to nothing. Further, the function of the urban machine\ud becomes lost in the scope of the network, as the contemporary citizen's need to feel secure from the worrying desire for multiplicity is increasingly\ud affirmed. If globalisation produces a sense of uprooting, insecurity and frailty, then it is through globalisation that communities return to the scene with a new role; when confronting the crisis of the public sphere, communities offer themselves as pillars to support the global citizen in\ud the enormous ghetto of a capitalist society (Z. Bauman).\ud Of course such reference can no longer refer to the classic definition of community as active and caring, a definition whose traces seem to be difficult to shed (A. Bagnasco) in relation to the processes of radicalisation of modernity. Such processes have not only highlighted postmodern individualism or the reciprocal distancing of individuals in a metropolitan void, but also the return of ephemeral, fragile communities in search of a varied yet not too heterogeneous world, whose purpose is to allow the momentary sharing of concerns which have been individually\ud experienced.\ud The thirst for multiplicity which accompanies identity politics and which is intended as an affirmation of the principle of characterisation, is destined to be placated in the anonymity of the species, in a sign of excess\ud collectivity as compared to individuality (the individual is secondary to characterisation). It is the problem of the individual in a multitude, as he/she abandons into oblivion his/her sense of self in order to create illusory community compensations, such as unity. It is an attempt at combining the liberty of experiencing the contemporary city, conceived as an a la carte menu, with a collective project directed at recognising any common shared vanishing point. It is neither atomistic isolation, nor the rebirth of communitarianism, so that the individual is significant only as a member of a micro-community upon which rights and significance are dependent. There exist however, new and even conflicting reasoning, practices, attempts, non ideological community projects, lenticular archipelagoes of limited and circumscribed microcosms showing signs of\ud life, making every place more or less adapt to transformation.\ud Community is intended therefore in terms of trace and thread, and is a project initiated by a tension which has reached its utopian limit. It is the uncertain and never predeteminable result of the work of intermediary\ud figures, capable of creating new ties and exposing the signs of relational benefits.\ud New forms of cohabitation are therefore born, which cater to both interests and fears, at times in illusory awareness and at times in community spirit. Enclaves are therefore born in the form of themed or cohousing communities, or in the form of the latest digitally derived virtual\ud territories for parallel lives. This represents the aggregation of inhabitants without an ideological structure, as neo-tribes (M. Maffesoli) constituted\ud by heterogeneous subjects in search of sociability, or subjects sheltered by a market which defends their status, and who respond to the collapse of the value of public space by conquering new relational spaces.\ud In the cyberspace (M. Gerosa)\ud What is the nature of these relational spaces? What answers does the project provide to these new questions about living? Of living with? In what way do the current mechanisms for the planning and formation of\ud communities offer the possibility to build an urban space with meaning? What practices are used for the construction of these spaces, and what is the architecture of this "new city utopia" which is made up of a succession of communities

Topics: ICAR/14 Composizione architettonica e urbana
Year: 2010
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Provided by: CamEPrints
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