29 September — 6 October 2003
According to the CRESME (Centre for building research in Italy), between 1994 and 2002, 362 676 were built illegally in Italy, for a value of 50.18 million square meters and an estimated value of 23.47 billion euros, which represents a loss of 15 million euros for tax authorities (source : L’expresso, C. Valentini, Le courrier international).
In Italy, on the eve of the announcement of an amnesty for the illegal constructions built these last ten years, an observation of this social and cultural phenomenon and an engaged reflection towards their integration or their relationship to the public domain is necessary. The first Bilateral International Workshop (WAT_UNESCO) of the UNESCO Chair in Urban Landscape of the University of Montreal in Reggio Calabria calls upon this issue and defines, during the course of 8 days, a unique space for project experimentation. This workshop involves 28 students from the Landscape Architecture School of the University of Montreal and from the Dipartimento di Progettazione per la Città, il Paessaggio e il Territorio (OASI) of the Università degli Studi Mediterranea under the supervision of faculties from both of these institutions.
How to invent public space and, in particular, the landscape of the neighbourhood of San Sperato of Reggio Calabria? A neighbourhood made up of illegal dwellings and individual appropriations of the suburban space of a city; the planning projects require landscape intents in order to create daily collective spaces, which are invested in the sense, the location and the ideas of the territory.
The WAT_UNESCO Reggio Calabria 2003 has been a genuine research laboratory on the issue of the invention of public spaces in a neighbourhood of illegal residences and of landscape project instruction by confronting two academic institutions of landscape architecture. The projects developed by the 16 students of the OASI Department of the Università degli Studi Mediterranea and the 12 students from the Landscape Architecture School of the University of Montreal have delivered, in a variety of visions, structural propositions for the municipality of Reggio Calabria. This first Workshop for the CUPUM is the one that spawned the idea to organize international multilateral WAT_UNESCO events.