People who can write well and use the art of rhetoric best say that you should never open a written text with a question. Ours, however, is a proven necessity, an absolute need to clarify and prompt reflection. So here it is, the question: is it possible to have an urban culture without urban consciousness

The banality of the question already implies the answer: no.

Because considering streets, houses, apartment buildings, shops and public services as just elements that exist in more or less every city is a generalisation, and means we are not reflecting on what it was, and what it will be. Just think of the fact that the most populated city in the world, Shanghai, in China, counts something like 24 million inhabitants; the second, Karachi in Pakistan, has "stopped" at 23.5 million. Do these urban areas have the same problems as, for example, Milan? Or Rome, Bologna, Florence? And is their history the same as that of New York, London or Sydney? Or Uruk, the first city in history (or at least, so it seems), which rose up between 3500 and 3000 BC? These are the questions to ask in order to reflect with wisdom.

The entry for "consciousness" in the De Mauro dictionary says that it is "... the awareness that man has of himself and the external world". Here, the intent is precisely that, to try to think about the idea of urban consciousness and what urban culture actually means. Because if it is true that our consciousness should lead us to have a greater awareness of ourselves and the external world, then it is just as true that many sensitive topics, such as that of air pollution due, in particular, to mobility, should be at the forefront of our concerns. This is already happening, but only partially.

And it is here that consciousness comes into play. Do we want to just get on with our lives, characterised by frenzied use of natural resources (which we know will run out, sooner or later...), or do we want to think about how change could come about? 
The idea of sustainable mobility, able to lead us towards a more conscious future, is already with us. However, we need to create something that doesn't exist yet, to be able to achieve our goal: a new urban consciousness.

And, as a result, a new urban culture. In order for streets, houses, apartment buildings, shops and public services not to be considered as mere elements that exist in pretty much every city, but instead for them to become an integral part of a true process of change

In this sense, by sustainable mobility we mean an ideal system of transport that allows us to simultaneously reduce the environmental impact of the sector, make travel more efficient, improve the quality of life of citizens, and make cities smarter, cleaner and better kept.
And more beautiful. How?
By reducing air pollution: remember that the transport sector in Europe today accounts for around a third of the total energy consumption, and a fifth of greenhouse gas emissions. Reduction of noise pollution: transport infrastructure is responsible for excessive levels of noise, and streets, railways and airports are certainly among the main sources of this disturbance. Reduction of traffic: congested streets restrict freedom of movement, and journey times are increased. Reduction of land consumption: traditional transport infrastructure, often not in harmony with the landscape and the area, have been the cause of high land consumption for years. Not only streets and railways are included in this calculation, but also car parks, service areas and other ancillary areas. More efficient, cheaper transport. Innovative, efficient transport that is well-integrated into the area allows citizens to save time, and also reduces costs, both individual and collective.


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N° 5


What kind of beauty will save the world?
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