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How MIT students are helping revitalize a tiny Italian village

6 0 2
19.07.2022

In a tiny hilltop Italian village two hours from Rome but a world away, a team of design students recently moved into an empty building and began plotting out the future.

[Photo: courtesy Liminal]Pettorano sul Gizio, population 1,500, is like many towns across central and southern Italy in that its main industry, agriculture, is both essential to modern society and nearly forgotten by it. Nearby towns in this region, Abruzzo, have the feeling of being left behind by the times. But they can’t yet be counted out. The state-run rail company has recently been rehabilitating lines in this area, and agriculture is still economically viable. Add in the region’s modest tourist appeal among hikers and skiers, the rise of remote working, and programs focused on resettling refugees in places that could bounce back, towns like Pettorano have the makings of a new kind of rural economy. The student design team wanted to figure out how to get there.

Pettorano sul Gizio. [Photo: courtesy Liminal]The program was a pilot from Liminal, a nonprofit research group focused on the sustainable development of small towns. Founded by graduates from Harvard and MIT, Liminal is now based in Italy and is focused on the small, sometimes ancient towns and villages that have been drained of human and financial resources by urbanization and industrialization.

[Image: courtesy Liminal]With funding from the state rail company’s nonprofit arm, Liminal brought 18........

© Fast Company


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