The moral space

Humanitarian assistance and development cooperation

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Living for architecture

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21 May 2019


The moral space

Humanitarian assistance and development cooperation
This guide, published by the Cooperation, Solidarity and Civil Protection Department in collaboration with the Environment, Energy and Sustainability Department, is aimed at Italian architects who intend to work in the context of emergency, disadvantaged and critical situations. The guide, which is not exhaustive but first-class, will be constantly updated and enriched over time, also with the help of our members, in particular those who work or have worked in the sector and who want to share their experiences.


The main ingredient of my work is freedom. To design, I need three types of freedom: the one the client grants me, the one that grants me the authority and the one that I grant myself.
Working in Africa I was able to benefit from the three freedoms and be fully responsible (for better or for worse) for my works. Another essential component is respect: respect for those who will benefit from my architecture. Respect prevents me from abusing freedom "(Fabrizio Caròla)

Cooperation, solidarity, sustainability are three terms that combine a synergistic approach to the themes of sustainable development in the context of relations with economically and socially disadvantaged communities in Italy and abroad, helping to improve the living conditions of the beneficiary populations both for the overcoming of emergency conditions and in ensuring the satisfaction of primary development needs. Always of great and dramatic relevance, the theme of solidarity requires the definition of a complex central and peripheral organization which must deal with the institutions and operators of reference. Issues of ethics and professional competence must be addressed through specific training, because it involves operating in areas affected by disasters and calamities, devastated by armed conflicts or affected by widespread marginalization and poverty, where the principles of social work of our category can be brought. Developing and enhancing the civil commitment of architects in emergency situations is a process of professional maturation and recognition of our skills and competences at the service of society and its communities. These are the premises for building an effective and visible activity that must be developed along two parallel paths. On the one hand, it is necessary to build a network of existing experiences to bring them together and to help enhance their results, on the other hand to contribute to the creation of professional job opportunities that can represent a concrete operational outlet, alongside ethical choices. It is an interdisciplinary approach and a plurality of skills promoting the culture of the right to a worthy habitat. It covers a broad scenario of situations and vulnerable sectors from the emergence of natural disasters and wars, to social hardship and marginalization, to contexts of limited resources, social and economic crisis, to the primary needs of reception, school and health care. In 2017 the National Council of Architects, Planners, Landscape Architects and Conservators established, in support of the Department, a discussion group consisting of Alessio Battistella, Emilio Caravatti, Camillo Magni, Raul Pantaleo, Riccardo Vannucci.


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