“Designing in Dark Times: An Arendtian Lexicon” by Virginia Tassinari & Eduardo Staszowski

“Designing in Dark Times: An Arendtian Lexicon” by Virginia Tassinari & Eduardo Staszowski

On the 12th of November the book “Designing in Dark Times: An Arendtian Lexicon” will be released online! Congratulations to the editors Virginia Tassinari and Eduardo Staszowski and to the many world-wide scholars and designers who contributed to the writing of the book. This unique book uses insights and quotations drawn from Arendt’s major writings (The Human Condition; The Origins of Totalitarianism, Men in Dark Times) to assemble a new kind of lexicon for politics, designing and acting today. It offers up an extraordinary range of short essays that use moments and quotations from Arendt’s thought as the starting points for reflection on how these terms can be conceived for contemporary design and political praxis. Neither simply dictionary nor glossary, the lexicon brings together designing and political philosophy to begin to create a new language for acting and designing against dark times.

You can find a chapter written by prof. Christian Iaione, co-director of LabGov.City, and Elena De Nictolis, fellow researcher at LabGov.City. Some of the key points stressed out in the chapter include the gender imbalance and ethics aspects of innovation and sustainability and how it’s necessary not to just limit our view to homo economicus but to expand it towards a definition of homo collaborans. This is particularly coherent with the theory of the commons where the traditional economic approach is questioned. As a matter of fact, a new model of economic agent is proposed: the mulier activa which is rooted in the concept of individuals entailed by Hannah Arendt’s conception of vita active.

You can pre-order the book here

European Heritage Days 2020

European Heritage Days 2020

Guided tours in the Agro Romano towards the origins of Roman villae, Torre Spaccata’s ‘Pratone’ and San Giovanni’s Tower for the participants of the European Heritage Days initiative.

Within the framework of the European Heritage Days 2020 and the activities of the European project OpenHeritage, Co-Roma representatives together with the community of the co-district “Alessandrino-Centocelle-Torre Spaccata” (ACT) located in South-East Rome, accompanied the participants along an itinerary to discover the cultural heritage of the district, also thanks to the cooperation of CooperACTiva and the Community for the Public Park of Centocelle (CPPC).

Heritage Days 2020 route map

The first Heritage Walk route started from Parco Rugantino and then headed towards Casale di Torre Spaccata, an ancient abandoned farmhouse built in an area rich in Roman archaeological remains, scattered within Torre Spaccata Great Park (“Pratone di Torre Spaccata”) itself, unfortunately not (yet) visible to visitors. In fact, in spite of the numerous excavation and research projects undertaken in the South-East Rome quadrant – which mostly corresponds to the territory of the ACT district – none of these has made it possible to enhance and make available to the public the archaeological remains found, which show ancient settlements dating back to Roman times and in particular the existence of patrician villae that extend along a large part of the promenade route.

Meeting point of the participants near Rugantino Park
Participants stopping at Pratone di Torre Spaccata

During the stop at Pratone di Torre Spaccata, together with the guide, the participants ventured inside the path traced by the inhabitants of the district and built inside the green area, which is imagined to become a future cycle-pedestrian area and now used as a public park at the crossroads of the district areas. However, the cycle-pedestrian area idea at the moment remains only potential.

Participants in the Pratone di Torre Spaccata
The route traced inside the Pratone

Along the route, the last stop led participants to discover the history of the Tower of San Giovanni and its medieval origins.

Stop at the Tower of San Giovanni

Built at the end of the 13th century (1200-1300), like other tower-houses in the Roman countryside, the Tower was placed in control of the nearby via Casilina. In ancient times it was known as “Tor San Giovanni” because the estate on which it still stands belonged to the Chapter of San Giovanni in Laterano, as a territory of the Papal States. Only at the end of the 17th century (1600-1700) the Tower took the name “Torre di Centocelle”, because of the ruins of the nearby Roman villa of the Emperor Valentiniano, which seems to have had an infinite number of small rooms (cellae).

The Tower is over 25 metres high and is surrounded by a grove of pine trees that are now centuries old. It represents a favourite destination and place for many artists and photographers over the last two centuries.

The itinerary of the second Heritage Walk (postponed on Saturday 10th October due to bad weather) led participants to discover the Archaeological Park of Centocelle and its history.

The map of findings in the Archeological Park of Centocelle (credits to P. Gioia)

Starting from the car park in Via Casilina and along a route about 2.3 km long, the events and testimonies of the Park have been narrated to participants: from the rural villas of Roman times that re-emerged during the archaeological excavations carried out between the end of the nineties and the first two thousand, to the “first flight” of Wright on the runway inside the Park.

A snapshot during the visit to the Villa della Piscina archeological site

The walk was an excellent opportunity to make known the traditions and events that characterize the area, even to citizens who do not live in the area, handing down its cultural values for the benefit of all participants.

Participants during the visit in the Archaeological Park of Centocelle
SensJus: Citizen sensing as a source of evidence in litigation and as a tool for environmental mediation

SensJus: Citizen sensing as a source of evidence in litigation and as a tool for environmental mediation

Since June 2020 the SensJus project’s website is online! 

You can find the website at this link https://sensingforjustice.webnode.it/

SansJus stands for “Sensing for Justice”. The project was born after a landmark court decision released in Texas, on June 27th 2019, in which a judge found the petrochemical company Formosa Plastics Corporation, liable for violating the Clean Water Act because of plastic discharge into local waters. The case was brought by a civic group based in part on citizen sensed-evidence which involved volunteer observations performed over years. This practice entailing grassroots-driven environmental monitoring could be qualified as ‘Citizen Science’ and, more specifically, ‘Citizen Sensing’. The contamination could not be proved through existing data held by competent authorities since the company never filed any record of pollution with the competent authority. Rather, the monitoring and data collection was almost entirely conducted by local residents. 

The key objective of the Sensing for Justice project is to fill the knowledge gap to avoid a possible scientific and legislative vacuum and provide newly required research capacity in the EU. The research will be hosted by the European Commission Joint Research Centre, currently the leading actor in the research on Citizen Science for environmental monitoring and reporting, which will allow us to play a crucial role in the enactment of measures to release Citizen Science for litigation and mediation’s potential across the EU.

Nowadays it is essential to redefine Citizen Sensing as a manifestation of the broader Citizen Science practice having a potential source of evidence acceptable in environmental litigation, as an exercise of the right to contribute to environmental information and even as a method to foster environmental mediation.

Give a look to SensJus website to discover the news and upcoming actions of the project!


Urban Science for City Challenges – City Science Initiative

Urban Science for City Challenges – City Science Initiative

The City Science Initiative aims to strengthen how science and research can help address the urban challenges and to develop a structured approach to evidence-informed policy-making at cities’ level. 

Recently, the report reflecting on the CSI pilot phase has been finalized and published, by the name of ‘City Science for Urban Challenges’. The report of the mission board for climate-neutral and smart cities is accessible through this link.

“The introduction of a Climate City Mission is a radical new way of achieving climate neutrality – and of doing so faster, by 2030. The Mission aims to promote system innovation across the value chain of city investment, targeting multiple sectors such as governance, transport, energy, construction and recycling, with support from powerful digital technologies. As such, it requires a change in regulations, approaches and instruments combined with the willingness to go beyond existing schemes and habits. The Mission also demands a change of attitude towards practical aspects of implementation, but also as concerns people and organisations working together: citizens, local governments, central and regional governments, and European institutions. We expect citizens, city administrations and political leaders to show commitment, imagination and determination. We expect you to implement this Mission with the same determination as the Americans did with their Moonshot. The climate minded transformation of cities goes far beyond the idea of the Man on the Moon. This is The Mission of our times!” (Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, Chair of the Mission Board for Climate Neutral and Smart Cities)