STEFANO Boeri has a new friend and he is a blackbird who serenely pecks on his balcony (the architect does not live in his vertical forest, but in a building in the center of Milan). In empty cities, animals lose their shyness, yesterday in Pavia there were two deers strolling in front of shop windows. Now all of this has to do with our current life as a prisoner, as we watch and dream of an exterior that is currently forbidden to us, and we are also worried about what is going to happen.
Those who live in the city would like to stay in the countryside, never like now do they want a garden, a vegetable patch, an exterior.
“Never before have I seen so many green balconies in Milan, and loggias, terraces, because the balcony is a living space. Everyone has understood that green is important. But in England, there is already a big push towards the abandonment of more densely populated areas. This will also happen in Italy, those who have a second home will settle there – we have now understood the potential of working at a distance – or will spend longer periods there. But this process will have to be governed. A campaign would therefore be necessary to facilitate dispersal, but also a withdrawal from the urban area, to make room for other living species. Then, Italy is full of abandoned villages, whch should be saved. We have a unique opportunity to do so. ”
Are we all going to move to the countryside?
“I am thinking of a major national project: there are 5,800 centers with less than 5,000 inhabitants, and 2,300 are in a state of neglect. The 14 metropolitan areas have adopted these centers, with tax advantages and tax incentives … And there are already wonderful places where they give you accommodation in a historic center for one euro, in Liguria and along the crest of the Apennines ”.
But you are not upset by the outside that awaits us, and what will it look like?
“I think we should not be depressed, and that this experience forces us and allows us to rethink many things. Of course, we will have to prevent digital surveillance and barriers from prevailing over our lives, but to get out of this tragedy without understanding the causes, it would be a real waste. ”
So let’s talk about the causes.
“To begin with, the data on fine particles, which are scary. The pulmonary fragility of those living in areas with high particle density is easily assimilated to the infection. In cities, we need a project that starts from the sharp reduction in cars, and therefore the road section, and a decisive transition to the electric car, with incentives, scrapping. ”
All this to create health, but also space.
“Of course, because we will have to take everything outside. The stores must have outside, the closed space is dangerous in the event of a pandemic. But even there, the tax should be abolished for those who occupy an outdoor space. Air is necessary , the virus in the air does not survive, so more space for us, less for cars. ”
The spaces are all to be rethought.
“Yes, but we are facilitated compared to other countries, France, England, Germany, we have a history of outdoor culture.”
However, political demonstrations, marches will be impossible …
“But in Tel Aviv, there was just a demonstration against Netanyahu, with many participants well spaced. In short, we must return to the study of proxemics, distances, spaces and bodies and the relationship that exists, these days I’m just looking at old books from the 70s. Spaces are a huge resource, you have to be able to create ways, and I’m thinking of lights, colors, tapes, to be able to use the open spaces in which you move, each with its own mask, for the moment. We use the places, we make a campaign “come to the Italian places to do culture”, we have so many festivals, let’s focus all of them in September “.
Let’s take a practical example. You are president of the Triennale, how do you organize the post coronavirus?
“As soon as possible, and I hope it will be in June, we will do everything in the garden, large and fenced, so that we can easily control its access. We had planned an exhibition on Enzo Mari, we will have to distribute it on all the spaces we have so as not to create congestion. We are going to build a stage, with 250 well-spaced tables, cultural production will have to adapt to a different spatiality. I remember a spectacle of the Festival of the fog, made by the Triennale, it was called “Strasse”, you saw it while making the tour of the city by car “.
And the skyscrapers? Will they still be logical?
“We have to rethink them. The elevator, which is a fundamental part of the life of a tower, must have continuous ventilation, and the ultraviolet lamps offered by Fuksas are a great idea. The common areas should be wider, and more. So more landings, more halls and elevators. In Korea, they are also studying an application that allows you to always take the elevator yourself. The roof will be the fifth wall, many will pass through it, and I am thinking of the use of drones. ”
Many people think that cities are finished because they are congested, ultra-populated and therefore dangerous.
“It will be important to synchronize the timetables of public administrations and schools, to avoid the significant flows of commuters. It will be crucial to rethink the exterior, to remove space for cars, focusing on green. So it was in New York, in the middle of the 19th century: the population had quadrupled, there was no more space, and the density was not working. The landscape architect and town planner Olmsted thus created Central Park, a gigantic park born from a hygienic concern ”.