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Territorial Planning; new frontiers (Sicilian Region)

Territorial Planning; new frontiers (Sicilian Region)

As in all things of knowledge the law of continuous change is valid; to put it like the philosopher king Marcus Aurelius: the universe is change, our life is a consequence of our thoughts. Thus, even certain certainties on which we have constructed our theorems, our procedures, can be challenged by new discoveries or even by new epistemological procedures. We can say that the only constant in the Universe is change. When at the beginning of the 1990s, first with the Consulta and then with the Federation, we found ourselves interacting with the Government of the time on Law 15 of 91, and with its successive modifications and additions, the birth of the instrument of Agricultural Studies. Forestali represented a new field of interpretation of the territory, of its dynamism, of the value of agricultural and forestry heritage. For the first time, the legislator, with a normative act, recognized not only the skills of a category but above all the need to identify and integrate the agroforestry component in the training process of the Regulatory Plans.

For the sake of chronicle and historicity, it was neither a simple nor a fluent birth; think how uncomfortable, for some consolidated dynamics of time, an instrument of objective reading of the territory could be; a study that identified the aspects on which the legislation of the time was limited to generic statements without ever having defined them according to objective technical criteria. I refer to those summary definitions on soils used for specialized crops, irrigated or equipped with infrastructures and plants to support agricultural activity and bands of respect for the woods.
To enter the orthodoxy of these two areas, defining them with a good technical approximation, it took about ten years. Thousands of pages, of technical reports, of clarifications, of hours of meetings, of deliberative acts and of consultations, in order to reach the end of the current regulatory system. But like all things in history, the regional planning law, constituted like those floors made of different types of bricks, shows today all its wrinkles and the need for a total and absolute change of paradigm.
There is a need for a single text but, above all, we must review the principles and concepts of land planning; the principles and foundations on which most of the training disciplines of this instrument are born; the same philosophy and mutuality of roles between humanity and the ecosystem and the mutual interferences between these two interdependent universes should be reviewed. Like the transition from Newtonian physics to quantum physics, spatial planning must enter into the functional dynamics of the individual ecological and human elements, in order to predict their relative dynamic influences.
The lack of this vision has led us to urban systems increasingly concentrated in large cities and, unfortunately, to depopulation and degradation of internal areas and small population centers. The responsibility must be attributed to a wrong reading of the functionality of the ecosystems, both on a large scale and in detail. Even an urban center is an ecosystem, which must however respond to the laws of physics and thermodynamics in particular. Every cell in the territory responds to certain balances, without the knowledge of which it tends to degrade, to generate rates of increasing entropy, which manifests itself with increasingly poor energy forms, both from an ecological and human point of view. This leads to loss of biodiversity, ecological erosion, cultural and social degradation, and finally: poverty. If we were to define what poverty is, from this perspective: we could define it as the diminished human capacity to interact and coexist with the laws of Nature. This statement can be applied even more in the agricultural and forestry sector. And here we begin to observe the first paradoxes. Law 71 of 78 tells us, and I quote it, that: in the formation of general urban planning instruments, the soils used for specialized crops, irrigated or equipped with infrastructures and plants to support agricultural activity can not be used for extra-agricultural purposes. The law pays special attention and safeguards to a specialized agricultural model. Nowadays, applying energy balances in agricultural activities, it turns out that specialized agriculture has a yield equal to one tenth of the traditional one; to understand the antecedent to the Treaty of Rome and the Green Revolution.
According to Jeremy Rifkin, this trend is rapidly increasing precisely because the model of agricultural production has escaped from the canons of system efficiency, to respect only market and non-ecological needs. To understand this statement we must highlight two aspects that are based on the function of the Farms: these are dissipative systems. In a farm we do nothing but draw, especially solar energy and those of the subsoil, to turn them into food energy. When we produce a tomato or a spike we do nothing but accumulate these energies and make them usable for a secondary energy process, which is human nutrition.
This process can take place in two ways: either according to Closed Thermodynamic Systems or through Open Thermodynamic Systems. In the first case the energies of the process are free to flow and be exchanged, while the masses must move as little as possible and in any case with short shifts. We remind here that every mass (whether agricultural products, fertilizers, fuels and so on) in order to be moved needs as much energy as the distance is greater. In the second case, that is in the Open Thermodynamic Systems, which we see circled with red, both the masses and the energies are free to move without rules. It is evident that the more our production system is of the open type the more the overall process yield is low. Today, most of the agricultural systems, especially those specialized in the West, are of the Open type and therefore very low yield.
But there is a second aspect: in order to be able to perform at its best, the System must necessarily increase the complexity of its structure (according to an order of energy reciprocity) by decreasing its entropy. The system, in short, must biodiversify. In Nature we can therefore find negative entropy models (the so-called negentropy) that allows closed and biodiversified thermodynamic systems to have the highest energy yield. This theory, which is the basis of Agroecology, earned the Russian physicist Ilya Prigogine (who is the father of epistemology of complexity) the Nobel Prize for Physics of 1977.
From the application of these concepts we can derive a series of speculations that allow us to understand a succession of dynamics otherwise complex observation and therefore, difficult, if not impossible, solution.
The first speculation is territorial. All Systems: whether it is a small farm, a forest or a city, respond to these laws; they are all dissipative structures and, from the low efficiency of these, the so-called global warming is born. Whenever our dissipative system reconverts little and badly the energies it receives (which are largely solar) the greater energy received, highlighted by the arrows in red, compared to the transformed one (represented by the arrows in green) following a production of entropy which is a form of degraded energy, no longer transformable and which causes so-called global warming.
The second speculation, which is linked to the previous one, is instead of human order: we speak of social entropy. In order to be able to manage these inefficient energy models, the community must create structures, flows, systems, markets, bureaucracies, and so on, more and more complex that absorb more energy rates. In Jeremy Rifkin’s book Entropia, this process is seen, if the necessary remedies are not posed, as a function of non-return. Just as in chemical equilibrium, when the ratio of reactants is produced is excessively unbalanced, one risks being unable to balance the equation. The ethical and scientific reflections and speculations are obviously consequential.
So to return to law 71 of 78 that was concerned with safeguarding specialized crops, we realize that this type of agriculture that we want to safeguard is the most unseemly energy, while to refer to the other law, namely the 78 of 76 ; this among other requirements, is concerned with placing bands of respect for the woods without going into the merits of the ecological functionality of these and their relationship with the woods. In short, a rather aseptic and lacking in some scientific and technical assumptions, which does not see much of the functions of the territory and its dynamic connections between ecology and society.
Today, to remedy these inconsistencies and to be able to operate in the presence of convergent disciplines, in the Territorial Planning, we must go towards the identification of geographical macroareas that take the name of Bioregioni. These areas, hypothesized for the first time in the ’60s by Peter Berg and Raymond Dasmann, are the synthesis of those ethical, political and ideological principles, related to the ecosystem that characterizes them. Bioregionalism is according to Thomas Rebb, that “form of decentralized human organization which, proposing to maintain the integrity of biological processes, life formations and specific geographic formations of the bioregion, which helps the material and spiritual development of human communities that the They inhabit. ” We understand very well how it is an approach to land planning that moves on a totally innovative plan.
Thus applying the above principles and the speculations of bioregionalism, proceeding in the direction of the Chiusi Thermodynamic Systems, we will witness a total change in the organizational paradigms of the company. The relationships between production and service supplies and users will be shortened for the benefit of more widespread, less concentrated and energy-intensive urban systems and with long-standing social, ecological and energy systems. On the other hand, if we continue to apply logics in the direction of Open Thermodynamic Systems, we will witness the unstoppable growth trend of megalopolis, the progressive impoverishment and degradation of the suburbs, with very unstable social and ecological, very short-term historical systems. Here it does not seem to me that there are many choices.
Today, even before tackling the complex issue of territorial planning, an ethical, cultural, and finally technical comparison between the various professional categories is necessary. To do this we need to apply the famous Einstein Rule, which reads: “You can not solve a problem with the same kind of thought that you used to create it”. We can not continue to face problems only from a technical point of view. It would be a short-sighted and selfish behavior and the biggest mistake we could make. Of our future attitude, history will ask us for account and reason!

Guido Bissanti

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