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ROME YES, WE CAN!

ROME YES, WE CAN!
By Gianno Ascarelli -

Rome’s fundamental problem, which came to a head at the beginning of the new millennium, is the very limited ability of the city authorities to exert any real control over the urban environment. The various City Councils that have succeeded each other in recent years have been incapable of setting this city on the road to urban reorganization. Increasingly, Rome seems merely to submit to a changing world rather than - as the capital of Italy - galvanize its own response to the demands of contemporary living as part of Europe and a globalized world with new timeframes and pace. This is not the first time that Rome has lived in a limbo. Starting from the unification of Italy just over 150 years ago, the city has effectively known only two periods that strove to introduce social improvements and participation. The first, at the beginning of the 20th century, with the administration of Mayor Nathan, elected with the victory of the so-called “Blocco Popolare”, a democratic grouping embracing radicals, republicans and socialists; the second, in the mid-1970s, with the successive city councils run by Mayors Argan, Petroselli and Vetere whose a social-communist ideals led to radical changes in the way the city and the metropolitan area were managed. After that, only the two terms of Mayor Rutelli kept pace with this impetus, especially as regards handling the impact of the 2000 Jubilee. The Jubilee. The Jubilee opens up the whole question of Rome’s power structure, comprising a series of players that do not always see eye to eye. A recent analysis by Andrea Riccardi, founder of Sant’Egidio, an international Catholic social initiative, is enlightening: “[…] Following the unification of Italy, there was a clash of opinions as to what Rome should be: a liberal capital of modernity and science, or the Catholic ‘holy city’ of the Pope. With its urban development program, Fascism wanted to turn the Urbe into an imperial...

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