The participants in this 7-day workshop will engage in the life of the hill-towns to investigate the role that the small town of Supino -- which has just 5,000 inhabitants -- can or cannot play within the global context, especially as a result of the local pressures it faces due to the proximity to Rome.  By brining in the Urban/Rural Agriculture as one of the subjects debated, the students can propose speculative, large-scale design interventions to show possible alternative forms of empowerment to the local community. 


As a general rule, it is the smaller satellite or peripheral towns that reflect more painfully economic and social crises than their big urban neighbours do. This is because larger cities possess more socio-economic flexibility at a time of austerity and scarcity, and thus can behave in different, even often contradictory manners. All this allows the possibility for architecture and urbanism to give birth to resistance and revolution, by creating new ideas, or else to react more passively and instead return to older and more familiar orders. Rome could be seen to have taken both these routes in the 1930s and 40s, with on one hand the mannered yet inventive modernism of Gruppo 7 as led by Giuseppe Terragni, and on the other hand the neo-Classical approach of Marcello Piacentini and colleagues in the EUR district.

What, then, is the role that Rome and satellite towns like Supino can play within the current global ‘free market’ system? What is the role of architects and spatial/urban designers in this situation? Smaller towns such as Supino, or Morolo have long experienced the effects of immigration, not least the returning Italian migrants from other European countries or the USA. As a result, there has been a gradual loss of agricultural land and public space in order to build new developments. The older part of Supino for example, being up on the hill, is thus now bridged to the more modern section of the town at the bottom of the hill, creating a dualistic character that is often in conflict with itself. Furthermore, its close relationship to Rome, only about 70 kilometers away, is causing other socio-economic pressures which are destabilizing, and even threatening, the livelihood of Supino. It is therefore, essential for us as architects and urbanites to analyze the impact of these problems on the built environment, so that we can come up with more positive approaches for towns that are in similar situation beyond Italy.



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