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The Borgo del Futuro will have the signs of modernity and efficiency and the characteristics of classical civilization, and culture will be the cornerstone of its development

(Architect Luca Calselli)

The research on the characteristics that a Borgo del Futuro should have began in 2014 with the restoration project of the Paliano gym designed by Massimiliano Fuksas and Anna Maria Sacconi.

The restoration project was promoted by the president of the local BCC, Giulio Capitani, to trigger a development process of the city and the entire area.

Ri-Gymnasium is a network of professionals, coordinated by Luca Calselli and Dario Biello, who works on complex projects of urban regeneration and territory development. Their humanistic and multidisciplinary approach activates architectural and urban planning initiatives that cross communicates design, art, literature, philosophy, training, cinema and photography.

The Paliano project did not materialize but was the beginning of a continuous research process that successfully applied to different territorial areas and other towns, a model that can be replicated and able to guarantee wide margins of originality.

The Borgo del Futuro of Ri-Gymnasium is today a mature project adopted by Arpino, the city of Cicero, Caio Mario and Vispiano Agrippa who has applied for the Italian Capital of Culture 2021.

Arpino intends to act as a model to be imitated in the experimentation of restoration and development practices of villages, in Italy and in Europe.

The work over these years and the acceleration given in recent months by Arpino, place the project as a cutting-edge solution in the adoption of growth policies and in the prospects for the future, after the dramatic Covid-19 crisis.

It is no coincidence that alongside Arpino, the leader, there are more than ninety municipalities as partners, in the provinces of Frosinone, Latina, the Metropolitan City of Rome, as well as universities and some of the greatest architects of international renown.

Paraphrasing Salvatore Settis, with his “If Venice dies“, the project – “If Arpino dies“- arose, says Arduino Fratarcangeli, sociologist involved in the project.

A shadow seems to be projecting towards areas outside the large urban areas.

Everything that is not included in the city is attacked by a phenomenon that relegates these areas to be increasingly fragmented and marginal entities which, at worst, become the storage of negative outsourcing of metropolitan areas.

Product and market excuses are violating the natural balance, the social and economic spaces of the cities and villages nestled in rural urban areas.

The small cities that will be saved will be those that, in time, will learn how to plan and plan their future. Those who will be able to offer the opportunity to live beneficially in their communities and, therefore, limiting the exodus or even becoming attractive to new families.

These are the objectives behind the project.

The city is not metaphysical. It exists but its physicality is only a part of its existence as a complex organism. The other part, the most important, is the community thanks to which the city lives, grows and assumes identity.

It is on the public space project, therefore, that work is underway, meaning by public space both the physical place of a square, a street, a park (outdoor or indoor) and the virtual sharing space that the web makes available (of which it is impossible to do without), in addition to that of the public administration with its services to the person, the company, culture and health.

There are three different but interconnected parts.

This is the only way to make the public space project as a concrete opportunity for urban regeneration. A project that does not result just in an ordinary building work or in an urban decorum intervention, but which uses the different disciplines of the human sciences on several levels: physical, virtual, ideal and conceptual.

The ultimate goal is to satisfy the needs and expectations of the communities, and the needs and emotions of the individual components of those communities.

These are the principles behind the project.

It is highly probable that in the post-coronavirus era there will be a significant slowdown in the phenomenon of abandoning villages. People will wonder if it will still be appropriate to abandon peripheral areas or if it will not be possible to look for different solutions.

In parallel, there will be those who, in large cities, will evaluate the possibility of moving to rural areas. Politicians should seize the opportunity and give precise and concrete answers to these questions.

Visionary answers, which can make villages, smaller cities and rural areas truly attractive. Otherwise the phenomenon will restart. Inevitably.

The Ri-Gymnasium group is moving on these principles with the idea of creating a new policy that positively defines the concept of environmental, cultural, social, economic and, therefore, political quality.

The Arpino Borgo Futuro project will be presented during the summer during the Certamen, for the 2020/2022 Premio Biennale di Divulgazione dell’Architettura.

Claudia Bettiol

IT Ingegnere, futurista e fondatrice di Discoverplaces. Consulente per lo Sviluppo Turistico dei Territori, specializzato nella sostenibilità e nella promozione culturale dei piccoli territori e delle piccole imprese. Ama i cavalli ENG Engineeer, futurist, joint founder of Energitismo and founder of Discoverplaces. Consultant for the development and promotion of the Touristic Development of Territories specialising in sustainability and in cultural promotion of small places and small enterprises. She loves horses