Michael Van Gessel
Landscapes of reconstruction. From natural calamities to environmental disasters
Design workshop. Milan, 8th-12th september 2014
Earthquakes, floods, fires, but also explosions, illicit dumping, toxic chemical leaking: we should number natural calamities or environmental disasters related events, caused directly or indirectly by men, among the main causes of rapid landscape transformations. Facing the instant loss of a collective heritage, thought long-lasting and available to all, we feel bewildered and helpless; even more so if we believe little is being done to prevent such loss, which often accounts for human lives. Calamities ensuing investments on the territory tend often to further distort it, to heal, at best, the wounds caused by the traumatic event which still remains legible on the territory palimpsest although we wish it dissipated through the oblivion of the stricken community’s daily life. Planning the recovery after a catastrophe – according to a new dynamic balance among its constituting elements – represents nowadays an ethical need, the authentic compensation toward the environment so often exposed to human unrestrained actions.