Profile of Miss Elisa Privitera PhD student

Elisa Privitera

I am Elisa Privitera, a Sicilian engineer and architect, with a specific interest for urban issues. After some periods of study abroad ( Germany 2013, Spain 2014, Japan 2015), I have got the Master Degree in Building Engineering-Architecture at the University of Catania (2017) and a Specialization Course at IUAV in Venice (2018). I am active member of some grassroots association in Catania, such as "Trame di Quartiere", that experiment collaborative practices of regeneration in neglected and peripherical areas of the city. I have just started my PhD path at the University of Catania.

General research interests

In the current context of economic crisis, in which both public and private funds invested in the urban transformation sector have decreased, the necessity of collaboration among different actors emerges. What the planner can do? My general interest are focused on experimenting collaborative paths among different actors of the territory, with special consideration for the awareness process of local community. I' m interested in experiment and put in practice the role of research as crucial for animating collective actions of trasformation.

PhD/Postdoctoral Research Title

The community design as an ecological and transformative approach to the Sicilian risk landscapes

PhD Abstract

It is widely acknowledged that a process of world urbanization is underway: more than half of the world's population lives today in the cities and in 2050, likely, this percentage will be around 60%. It seems that our world will get more and more similar to a urban “trude” (Calvino I., 1993). Besides, we live in a "risk society" committed to discussing, preventing and managing the risks and insecurities produced by itself (Beck U., 1986). As matter of facts, if it is true that during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the name of "progress", "technological innovations" and "profit", huge petrochemical plants have arisen close to fragile environmental eco-systems, while incalculable quantities of waste have accumulated, it is true also that today our society should be aware about the need of a social, economic and urban development in balance with the ecological cycles, based on the environmental sustainability (Our Common Future, 1987). Nevertheless, the global context still appears controversial and packed with social injustices and environmental conflicts. The already huge gap between "rich" and "poor" territories is often worsen by the ease of movement of the capitals (Harvey D., 2012), typical in the current globalized context. Because of un-green investments, with heavy impact in the nature and with high economical profit, some areas become object of sacrifice, converted in a sort of landfill full of pollution and of waste: these areas are marginal, neglected and inhabited by unawareness citizens (Cori L., 2008, 2011). The people not always know what is going on in their places and live them with a sense of betrayal, injustice and dissatisfaction. The primordial relational connection “humans-environment” becomes clashing, painful, almost broken.
One of the challenges of planners today is to mend this wounded relationship, putting in practice what is already theoretically foreseen in Local Agenda 21 and in the SDGs of the UN: the real involvement of citizens in decision-making processes of environmental policies aimed at reducing anthropogenic risks in their territories, as already some academic groups and planners are researching (Gravagno F.,&Messina S., 2008; Armiero M., 2009, 2018)
The goal is to experiment a relational planning (Pizziolo G.&Micarelli R., 2003), inspired by complexity idea (Bateson G., 1972), that thinks on the role that local communities have or could have in the environmental risks assessment and mitigation and in the development of evaluation models of urban and territorial risks. An urban planning that involves the community and other stakeholders in a process of e-co-working and e-co-design can also trigger paths of community empowerment (Saija L., 2016), new collaborative expertise (Fischer F., 2009, 2017), democratization of technology. This approach seeks a scenario closer to a ecological democracy (Ungaro D., 2006) and to implementation of eco-sustainability principles at local urban level, as fundamental piece of a global action.