City and peri-urban area: a "green" project

In order to have greener cities, it is necessary to learn to also take care of the territory that surrounds them and to involve farmers in activities other than production in the fields. Green cities and hydrogeological instability were discussed today at the EIMA Digital Preview in a conference organized by the BioHabitat foundation.

"It is important that those who live in that territory take care of the management of a park or the vegetation on the edge of a road. Because their work will certainly have purposes that go beyond the economic interest".

This is how Andrea Flora, general manager of Confagricoltura Bologna, explained the meaning of the 2011 Orientation Law which expanded the farmers' roles, allowing them to carry out activities that are not strictly agricultural, as long as they use equipment and capital goods normally used for the main activity.

This allows farms, for example, to win a municipal contract to maintain public parks, with the exception to the rules on tenders, for amounts up to 50 thousand euros.

These new opportunities, however, require rethinking the way a farm is run. The old farms, especially the small ones, must acquire a marketing mentality, open to new opportunities and, of course, computerize the various productive and organizational functions. The intervention from an ecological perspective cannot be limited to the urban perimeter, but must involve the entire surrounding area. In Italy, these areas are affected by the long-standing problem of hydrogeological instability, and reclamation consortia are called upon to respond to it.

"With the 2012 law, the Consortia were given the role not only of monitoring but also of planning, executing and managing the water management opeations" said Giovanni Tamburini, president of the Consorzio Bonifica Renana reclamation consortium. He presented some of the most significant works created in its territory, and he underline an intervention that also involved the soil of the city of Bologna.

This overall vision was defined in more detail in the speech by Anna Lambertini, professor of Urban Landscape Design at the University of Florence: "Three fundamental actions need to be carried out: cultivate the soil, cultivate the imagination, and cultivate the surrounding landscapes. A concise way of saying that one must have the ability to live daily in close contact with the territory and to imagine how to change our future". According to the organizers of the conference, the image of a truly green city cannot help but affect the very buildings that constitute the essential element of a human settlement.

The culture of natural building materials, derived from vegetable raw materials and capable of effectively replacing synthetic ones in some roofing and finishes, is being consolidated within construction techniques.

The topic was already addressed in recent days during some seminars organized by BioHabitat. In today's meeting some concrete aspects were explored. For example, the use of bamboo or raw earth, and some collateral problems were mentioned, such as the regulations on construction and the compatibility with the use of these materials.

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The competition between agricultural institutes to develop new agricultural machinery "concepts", promoted by Agia (CIA) and FederUnacoma, was presented as part of the EDP. The projects will have to refer to specific mechanical means for internal areas, useful for revitalizing the range of activities that are possible in a rural environment. The award ceremony will be held at EIMA in Bologna in 2021.

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