The Relevance of Common Lands in Building Cultural Landscapes: The Case of Cento (Italy)

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"In this paper I will present the outputs of an empirical research I carried out for my Phd thesis in Urban Territorial and Environmental planning. I will examine the case study of Cento and of its Partecipanza placed in the north middle-east of Italy. The Partecipanza is a thousand years old association of citizens which manages some common lands nearby Ferrara and Bologna in a marshy area. Since the beginning of the twentieth century Italian laws try to wind up all the common lands. The Partecipanza and few other associations were saved from this policy thanks to their recognized role in developing their territories. The long lasting presence of a common management in an area, and in particular in Cento, has a strong role in defining a kind of Cultural Landscape, according to the most accepted and used global definition of it. During the last fifty years an industrial evolution of the area of the North- east of Italy changed the regional landscape. The Partecipanza had a role in making in the past and preserving the today's landscape. In this paper the economic and social evolution of the area of Cento is studied through landscape transformations. The main idea is that space elements, such as the presence of marshes in Cento, has a relevance not just in defining local rules of management of the land resource, but also in defining balances of functions and principles of projecting landscapes. The questions I will try to answer are: - How does common management coexists with socio - economic transformation and what kind of outputs can we consider? - Can we consider that the Cultural Landscape was produced as a way to measure the impact of common management in a global context? - What relevance should the symbolic elements have in managing and projecting common lands?"
culture, common pool resources, resource management, capitalism, land tenure and use, IASC