S.M.U.R.- Abstract

Rome’s unplanned growth and its diverse forms of informality are an expression
of the city’s particular nature and self-willed approach to urbanism. Around a
third of the built surfaces in Italy’s capital city were informally occupied by and
with its future residents, and constructed without building permission or links to
the urban infrastructure. This phenomenon has a long history and very diverse
forms, from self-built provisional accommodation and ethnic Roma settlements to
major speculative ventures. The complex history and character of an urban
landscape unstructured by any master plan is exemplary of the development of
major cities in the early 21st century.

In Italy, the lived practice of self-organisation is also crucially important in
current debates and arguments over the beni comuni, public property. After many
years of seeing the ‘commons’ misused, public property also needs to be protected
against state action as well as private interventions. This, in turn, requires the
development of sustainable models of self-organisation. The numerous cultural
locations squatted over the recent years, such as the Teatro Valle Occupato or
Cinema America in Rome, testify to the breadth of the movement that desires
change. Self Made Urbanism Rome offers a historical framework for a range of
experiences of the self-organised city – and not only individual buildings – and,
in doing so, also presents new approaches to the future organisation of the public
domain and common goods.

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