I love Venice Italy. It feels like it’s made by its people. Far more than shelter, the city was their outerwear. They embodied it, creating hidden niches and twisted routes, commanding and confusing outsiders.
When there, I feel like I am living in a dream. I am immersed in a distinctive urban experience filled with tactile, sensory experiences. Yet it’s real. Venice exists. How did they build a dream?
Backward futures draw upon the sensory life, the connection between people and place, and the art of crafting things that existed before intensive automation. The engine and the computer chip fundamentally changed us and how we make, use, and know cities.
The value of resourceless
During the Depression, global unemployment sat at 25% for most of a decade. People learned lessons that created the Greatest Generation. According to Strauss and Howe, the next generation will develop a similar philosophy. The conflict that pulls us out of this high unemployment may be the way we develop cities and our lifestyles.
Inspired by a similar movement in slow food, Citta Slow and the Slow Movement reject fast food, fast highways, and fast living in favor of mindfulness and attention. They aim to reassert mindful living and connection to the land, food, and other people as an anti-dote to stress.In bioregionalism and localism (similarly permaculture), people buy local, organically grown food, shop in locally owned stores, and connect to a regional identity based on indigenous resources and historic patterns (reference Alexander ‘Timeless Way of Building’ and Mouzon’s ‘The Original Green‘).
They create community economic development (CED) collectives to build networks for education, housing, health, and environmental needs.
End of the suburban development pattern
New urbanism re-introduced the values of traditional neighborhoods as an anti-dote to suburbs: mixed use, tight lots, increased density, walkable streets, excellent public spaces, smaller retail/residential, cars to the back, front porches, and extra dwellings at the rear. As sustainable development interests grew, the two movements found common ground in compact growth.