The Art of Dissimulation | The Plan
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The Art of Dissimulation


Franco Farinelli is one of the most important geographers around. For years he has insisted on an often forgotten concept: that geography -
a science of the Enlightenment - is the ability to see what surrounds us from a suitable distance, i.e. a distance at which natural features of the landscape and the economic and social characteristics of the societies man has created as a result are equally visible. The very close connection between these factors, their congenital instability, but also their dynamism, has always made Italian geography difficult to grasp. Both Italy’s great political flops and its successes have always been (and still are) dictated by our blindness or farsightedness when it comes to geographical awareness. Take for example the region of Emilia-Romagna in central-north Italy and its capital Bologna: a rich, efficient land whose physiognomy has changed in recent decades as agriculture has come to sit increasingly alongside industrial production, two activities still held together by a family or neighborhood-based social structure.

As is largely the case in northern Italy, the towns and cities of
Emilia-Romagna are part of a network. Arising spontaneously and not the fruit of any political project, this network system is an inimitable mix of localism and regionalism that has gone from strength to strength in recent decades. Bologna has been a model for the country since the 1970s. It was the first Italian city to adopt a town plan not only designed to preserve but also to revive the economy of the historic center. It was Bologna that first recognized the advantages of a pedestrianized old center and to put in place industrial and logistic districts with shared utilities and services. The “Emilian model” is based on what we could call “enlightened power-sharing” by individual entrepreneurs, worker cooperatives and the public administration, a model that has its roots in the agricultural...

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