A forced smile, pointy shoes, blue blazer, white shirt (sweat spotted already). That’s how we imagine Mr. Dario Nardella, Mayor of Florence, at the international real estate fair in Munich. With his sheaf of papers and photos, he’s trying to place theaters, historic buildings, former industrial sites and other decommissioned areas in Florence in some rich investor’s portfolio. It a little sign of the times: public administrators as real estate agents, whose task is to implore the return of massive capital flow to the city.
A sad picture… Somehow we are getting to the bottom, while local institutions are just trying to sell everything and cash the check, crawl for a few years, at least until the end of the mandate, well aware that the whole operation it doesn’t even start looking as a solution.
Probably, while he brings the last silverware to the pawn shop, Nardella’ll try to silence that little voice that keeps repeating the most obvious: “You can sell them only once, once sold, there’s nothing left”.
Among the many buildings and grounds on display, there’s also one that concerns us closely: the area occupied 8 years ago, by the Social Center NEXT Emerson, in Via di Bellagio. A former industrial plant, acquired, after the factory went broke, by a real estate company: Unica.
This is the most classical speculation, a carbon copy of the scandals that had engulfed the old municipal administration headed by Mayor Domenici. The days when the only reckless driving force was the Florentine economy, cheerfully devastating the city in an orgy of concrete, reinforced concrete and concrete mixers.
A scenario that the current administration feels obviously nostalgic about.
In short, the area is owned by an individual, not by the public administration, and it’s not clear on what basis the municipality should act as middleman to get business for private companies. Good to know! If you have an apartment that you wouldn’t even try to sell, why don’t you also contact the Dario Nardella Real Estate Company, saying Unica sends you?
In the brochure the Mayor is using at the showcase in Munich, which you can view and download from here, it is not mentioned, of course, the fact, that in the Via di Bellagio area there is a self-managed community center, with tens of projects attended by hundreds of people, and events that gather thousands more every year, a center that lives only on passion and volunteer work.
In the self-management of a public space, in the values of mutual support and solidarity, we experience a more dignified way of life, without waiting in fear for the disaster that palace politics are preparing for us, all the way trying to sell it as a solution to the economic crisis.
But there’s more to say: at the real estate fair in Munich, the area is described as if Unica’s project were already approved: a handful of houses and terraced houses, in an area already overcrowded and blanketed in cement.
Yet the new urban plan, still hasn’t been launched – here is to see how valuable the tools and mechanisms for democratic participation are to our Mayor. There is no mention of limits to edification, nor is there any reference to restrictions on the building volumes, the famous “zero volume”, much-trumpeted by the “Renzi Regime”, which, as most of his statements, is revealed for what it is: a media-feat. The more concrete and asphalt we can spread, the better: it means that the wheels of the economy keep turning for a few years and the boat sinks slower.
The fact that land, as a resource, has been over for years, and that in Florence, after decades of uncontrolled meaningless development, we should be speaking of returning land to the people, rather than building yet more, it’s not relevant at all. The recent floods in Genoa outline a simple equation to understand: wild construction works + great edification plans + Democratic Party = DISASTER.
The spirit of our time is expressed not in doing the right thing, but the most profitable, generally the most irrational, which magically becomes also the only possible one, to which we must adapt, by carrot or stick.
As far as we are concerned, this must remain an asset to the community, and not become yet another successful speculation of some real estate company, Italian or foreign.
The brochure should also make a small not, a bit like a hidden clause, that whoever buys this area, is not making a deal, but buying a problem, ’cause here we are, and we got no intention to leave!