The city of Matera and the Sassi: smart places with a Dantean attraction

Cardinale, Tiziana and Pavia, Laura and Zucchi, Giovanni (2014) The city of Matera and the Sassi: smart places with a Dantean attraction. REAL CORP 2014 – PLAN IT SMART! Clever Solutions for Smart Cities. Proceedings of 19th International Conference on Urban Planning, Regional Development and Information Society. pp. 665-674.

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In Matera, in the course of millennia, there have been favorable and stable conditions that allowed the development of a specific architectural language, juxtaposition of materials, interpenetration of spaces and conformation of volumes, thus creating a unique urban phenomenon. The distribution of similar building artifacts in symbiotic unity with the connective texture of limestone, led to a spontaneous figurative harmonious balance between man and nature that characterizes the building, the techniques distribution and morphological solutions and that is based on a wise use of resources. Certainly, since several years, the Sassi does not longer reserve the experience of a “descent into hell” for those who take narrow streets and steep stairways. The conditions of misery and lack of hygiene described in 1945 by Carlo Levi in his novel “Christ Stopped at Eboli” and, then, the long abandonment and decay of the rupestrian settlement following the displacement of its population, in fact, seem to belong to a very remote time. So, by the end of the forties, critical reading and semantic analysis of the urban complex and environmental structure made up of Sassi and the “murgico” highland was configured as a real construction site of experiments, investigations and research and has involved different disciplines. The work of geo-graphy in the Sassi, that means writing on the ground, in fact, takes on a deep meaning and a great importance given by the complexity of the built environment development in the three dimensions, that determines a unique image of a biunivocal relationship between natural landscape and human settlement. This complexity reveals itself in a high density of buildings, and then in a clear prevalence of the full on the vacuum, configuring a compact urban space as negative of the built, defined by the complex system of connective elements such as streets, stairways and squares. It is due to this complexity of urban and domestic spaces, tangled one into the other, that the open space of the Sassi assumed a significant role in the development of settlement models. In fact, the urban space of the Sassi is often configured as an extension of the residence in the so called “urban rooms”, with an essential form and enclosed by more housing units, that defines a special type of collective space. It is just for the socializing and community vocation of these places which is possible to prefigure future uses similar to the most modern examples of Social Housing and generally to the Smart settlement models. The city of Matera, in fact, is going to take action on its neighbourhoods, including “Rione Sassi”, with the project named “Clara” (Cloud platform for Landslide Risk Assessment), who achieved the second place in the final ranking of the call “Smart Cities and Communities and Social Innovation”, issued by the Ministry of Education, University and Research and funded with € 20 million. In addition, the city will also benefit from the project of the Basilicata Region “Smart Basilicata” funded by the same announcement, which will allow a systematic approach to the region as a “city-region”, including the Val d'Agri, Matera and the metropolitan area of Potenza, in order to make it an “intelligent community” through the use of technologies of Information and Communication and participatory planning as part of the most recent paradigm of the Internet of things. There is also a significant experimentation taking place in the Palace “Rione Sassi” of Matera with the first “unMonastery” in the world, co-living and co-working space and place of technological and social innovation, which will accommodate not monks, but hackers, artists, designers and developers throughout Europe. The project, supported by the network of activists Edgeryders and the European Commission, aims to identify sustainable, cultural and smart alternatives, to make the city more beautiful, livable and attractive. It will also support the candidacy for European Capital of Culture 2019 of Matera (entered in the short-list of the six finalists cities), one of the most complex example of redevelopment of urban community and first southern site entered in the UNESCO list.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Community, Connection, Digital Platform, Ecosystem, Sharing
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DG Italy
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
T Technology > TH Building construction
Depositing User: REAL CORP Administrator
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2016 08:34
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2016 08:34

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