Advances in Economics and Business Vol. 4(1), pp. 26 - 36
DOI: 10.13189/aeb.2016.040104
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Matera (Basilicata, Southern Italy): A European Model of Reuse, Sustainability and Resilience

Marcello Bernardo *, Francesco De Pascale
Department of Languages and Educational Sciences, University of Calabria, Italy


Europe is facing a severe crisis: old certainties are crumbling and traditional ways of working are showing signs of profound weakness. The first challenge, perhaps the most important, is to manage an advanced economy to generate not only economic value, but also social justice and environmental quality. The second major issue is to promote the adoption by civil society and institutions of an "ethos" within which citizens could plan, produce and co-create their cities, cultivating a new and more rich democratic awareness. Thirdly, it is about creating a climate of openness that enhances creative problem solving and provide a platform to think, plan and act together, with courage. Matera has what it takes to meet these challenges. Matera's story is told from its streets, its buildings, its monuments. They tell a story of ingenuity and resilience, disgrace and redemption, tinged by a deep sense of shame. The characters in this story are "Sassi", which for over thirty years were left to decay, was a synonym of "national shame" and was the emblem of a southern backwater, in conflict with modernity. The awareness of its inhabitants of their age-old tradition, based on the ability to inhabit inhospitable places, to create a harmonious relationship with territory, has prompted many young people to return to inhabit the "Sassi" and to make them become "World Heritage Site" in 1993. Twenty years later, grandchildren of those brave young people have proposed to community a new victorious challenge: help to make Matera 2019 European Capital of Culture.

Matera, Resilience, Reuse, Sassi, Sustainability

Cite this paper
Marcello Bernardo , Francesco De Pascale . "Matera (Basilicata, Southern Italy): A European Model of Reuse, Sustainability and Resilience." Advances in Economics and Business 4.1 (2016) 26 - 36. doi: 10.13189/aeb.2016.040104.