The research analysed some citizens’ actions which give places meaning, develop empathy and belonging towards them. If many surveys notice individualism, urban sprawl, consumerism in contemporary society, this study has registered instead an increase in citizens’ awareness and common activity: many groups are testing new ways of relating to the world around us. The research focused on some cases study located in the Venetian area of Italy and related to two specific macro-attitudes: walking and narrating. These cases are heterogeneous, such as: groups that organize research-action by walks; festivals that regenerate abandoned villages; cultural and social activities such as writing workshops in nature; committees with the aim of defending ancient or natural places at risk of construction; groups that raise awareness towards landscape by proposing film exhibitions or hikes. Even if they are so diverse, these activities similarly produce effects on landscape, which can be more or less impressive, more or less direct, depending on case by case. The thesis is that these actions can be assessed as innovative landscape practices from which institutions and planners can understand more about the perceived and social landscape, as well as be inspired with methods and solutions. The research’s aim has been analysing the semiotic dynamics and the languages that are implied in these actions, understanding more in deep how civil society can participate in urban management and how citizens’ actions can be dealt in the frame of landscape politics.
Elena Lorenzetto is a PhD in Semiotics at University of Bologna, where she has written a thesis on new urban models and dwelling practices in the sprawl city (the so called “città diffusa”). Her topics are urban semiotics, cultural landscape, participatory processes for urban design, on which she published articles and participated as discussant in international conferences and workshops. She is a consultant in the fields of urban research, cultural projects and copywriting.