This article focuses on two case-studies related to the self-recovery of an ancient building and a public space in San Berillo, an historical neighborhood of Catania that was partly demolished during the ‘50s. Today it is scarcely populated and often illegally occupied by immigrants and prostitutes. According to the common belief this “bad neighborhood” should be absolutely regenerated. There are many different, often opposing ideas on how to renew the district. The presented research paper discusses the current state of self-construction practices and investigates the key features of the self-recovery initiatives, including modalities, applied techniques, economic resources, management systems, and motivations. The paper shows how the transformation processes of cities, especially in most disadvantaged areas, do not require further development of advanced technologies. Rather, specific policies and strategies are needed. That means simplifying legislation and concentrating on the informal actions taken by local community. The self-construction practices in San Berillo proves the economic feasibility of such smaller scale actions, becoming an opportunity for community involvement and empowerment and for improving local human resources. But in some cases these practices - as in the case of "Piazza delle Belle" - can become elements of new urban gentrification with the consequent loosing of collective use of the places within the city.

Experimental Self-recovery practices in the District of San Berillo in Catania

Filippo Gravagno;Elisa Privitera;Giusy Pappalardo
2018

Abstract

This article focuses on two case-studies related to the self-recovery of an ancient building and a public space in San Berillo, an historical neighborhood of Catania that was partly demolished during the ‘50s. Today it is scarcely populated and often illegally occupied by immigrants and prostitutes. According to the common belief this “bad neighborhood” should be absolutely regenerated. There are many different, often opposing ideas on how to renew the district. The presented research paper discusses the current state of self-construction practices and investigates the key features of the self-recovery initiatives, including modalities, applied techniques, economic resources, management systems, and motivations. The paper shows how the transformation processes of cities, especially in most disadvantaged areas, do not require further development of advanced technologies. Rather, specific policies and strategies are needed. That means simplifying legislation and concentrating on the informal actions taken by local community. The self-construction practices in San Berillo proves the economic feasibility of such smaller scale actions, becoming an opportunity for community involvement and empowerment and for improving local human resources. But in some cases these practices - as in the case of "Piazza delle Belle" - can become elements of new urban gentrification with the consequent loosing of collective use of the places within the city.
978-88-909-1165-1
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/373276
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