Smart Villages of Italy

MIT practicum participants and Politecnico di Milano partner, Giovanna Fossa. Credit: Carmelo Ignaccolo

How can digital technologies be of support to shrinking landscapes in order to advance new development trajectories while also leveraging small towns' heritage and local economies? What transformative actions will be needed at the local level from an urban design standpoint?

These are the questions that center the Fall 2022 practicum, Smart Villages of Italy. The practicum, ​​offered by Brent Ryan and Carmelo Ignaccolo, is made possible through a partnership with Politecnico di Milano Architecture, Built Environment and Construction Engineering (ABC) & Telecommunication Engineering Departments, and is funded by MISTI-ITALY and the Progetto Rocca Foundation. 

Prior to the beginning of the 2022 fall semester, DUSP students and faculty members conducted ten days of fieldwork activities, traveling to some of the most economically challenged and impoverished areas of Europe in inner Sicily (Favara, Vizzini, and Centuripe), questioning the role of art, public policies, and remote working as tools to promote new forms of development. The class also comparatively scrutinized similar conditions of marginalization in the Alps (Valtellina area, Tirano, and Teglio).