A critical comparison of ideas and means
The underlying purpose of the Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche in organizing these annual seminar-type meetings is to provide people working in different ways and with varying degrees of responsibility in the field of landscape with a critical up-date of the latest developments and an opportunity for the exchange of ideas.
Sixty years after the tumultuous process of modernization to which planning, architecture and ecology all endeavoured to respond; thirty years after the appearance of a prevalently protective stance and of the revival of concern for endangered examples of natural and cultural heritage, the situation facing us today is substantially new. There are ever-increasing grounds for alarm, even indignation, when one considers the shocking extent of the decay, the absolute lack of far-sightedness on the part of those in power and the barrier that separates them from the condition of our places and therefore from the human condition of those who inhabit them. At the same time there has been a remarkable expansion of awareness and determination to take action, to judge by the number and variety of the social initiatives, legal protests, theoretical studies and experimental proposals that have occurred, down to the current re-emergence of agricultural practices that set new planning perspectives and thrust right into the city.
In short, there is now an urgent need for: an appraisal of this profound change that is taking place in our society and involving the world of research, training and education; a selective survey (eschewing passing trends and commercial interests) of the panorama of ideas and plans, of commissioning bodies and project outcomes, of monographic and periodical publications and also of arduous endeavours to construct new professional figures; a critical comparison of proposals that can serve as the basis for an updated guide and a network of useful references for those working or intending to work in this field of sciences, arts and trades, and indeed for anyone who seeks to make a well-informed contribution, whether as a scholar or as a citizen.
Each of the speakers at the meeting will address the same general issues covered by the title, the sub-title and this introduction from his or her own point of view; and there will ample opportunity for all participants to discuss the points raised.
The 2013 Landscape Study Days are dedicated to Francesco Franceschini (1904-1987).
He was a Member of the Constituent Assembly of the Republic of Italy, a Member of the Chamber of Deputies and Chairman of the Parliamentary Commission of Enquiry for the protection and promotion of the historical, archaeological, artistic and landscape heritage, universally known as the “Franceschini Commission”. Amongst the many achievements of the Commission, which was instituted in 1964 and concluded its work in 1966, one of the most significant was its adoption of the term “bene culturale” (“cultural property” or “item of cultural heritage”) to mean «everything that constitutes material evidence of cultural value», a radical change of perspective that led to the creation of the Italian Ministry of the Cultural Heritage in 1974. The Proceedings, reports and other materials produced by the Commission were published in three volumes in 1967, under the title Per la salvezza dei beni culturali in Italia (For the safeguarding of the cultural heritage in Italy).