TITOLO: Cityfutures Opening Statement

WRITTEN BY: Lorenzo Matteoli

DATE: February 2009


Architecture, design and technology for the future of the City


Società Italiana di Tecnologia dell'Architettura

Lorenzo Matteoli

General Rapporteur

Opening Statement

Milan February 4th and 5th 2009




The debate launched by Cityfutures 2009, and the contributions tabled by our keynote speakers and discussants, deal with the most radical and formidable turnaround in human history: the epochal shift from a society based on fossil fuels to a society based on renewable energies.
This change will see cities and large metropolitan regions on the front line: the places of maximum potential for the change with the highest environmental, social and economic frailty. They will be the possible prime movers of the shift, but also the areas where the slow catastrophe is most likely to start. The strategy will challenge the next three or four generations, but today’s generation has the responsibility of setting it out. The next ten years will decide whether what is in front of us is a slow, irreversible catastrophe or the birth of a new civilization.
The city of the future, the liveable future in our cities, is a multigenerational project that cannot be tackled without a strong political will and a clear political program.
But there is no future for any political program that does not accept this project as a core commitment. This is why the focus of our work this year will be the transition and its tools: design, vision, macro-economy, information, strategies, technologies, materials, components, services and grids. “Design” and “Vision” are necessary elements but are not sufficient to start the transition. Without a deep cultural awareness and the participation of the people, it will just be “more of the same”.
The city, the most important work of art of human society, for centuries the heart of every civilization, the birthplace of every conceptual development, progress and social conquest, has, during the last few decades, become a place of dire contradictions. Social intensity has become suffocating congestion, cultural stimulus become worthless provocation; civilized and creative challenge has become social antagonism. Opportunities have become exploitation. With the great performances in the fields of artistic expression and communication we have poverty, alienation, marginality, drugs and a violent, unacceptable, thriving criminal context.
Within this grim scenario, we can also see some signs of a possible different and better future, a new kind of relationship between technology and environment, the rebirth of human values exhausted by the imperative for relentless self-devouring growth, the return to an authentic mutuality in the context of a more “equal exchange”. There may even be serenity after centuries of striving, harshness and suffering. The question is: Will we be able to use this narrow window of opportunity successfully?

The Unliveable City.

Even with the softest wording of the utopian concept expressed by Madam Gro Harlem Brundtland back in 1987, metropolitan regions and cities will never be “sustainable”. The physical footprint of the large concentrations of humans will always be deep and wide.
Nevertheless, environmental and energy sustainability of cities today is not a priority.
The limit which most of the present day large urban regions have to deal with is operational. The city is no longer capable of delivering the expected set of services to residents and to hosted tertiary functions, cultural leadership, protection of sociality and a dignified and healthy conviviality for those who live there.
The decline, which has been going on for several decades, has a slow pace that can deceive the perception of the inhabitants -- city dwellers who became accustomed to, and are unaware of, the shortcomings which only a few years ago would have felt unbearable: physical and traffic congestion, long commuting times, air pollution, the dangers of drugs and junkies, social marginality, frequent epidemics, urban poverty and aggression.
In the newspapers one can find even more evidence of the urban pathology syndrome: mental disorders, including depression, aggressiveness and loneliness are some of the many recurring themes, with frequent tragic outcomes.
There are also visible signs of the crisis, like the mindless, meaningless graffiti scrawled on our walls and buildings -- a sign of puerile psychological weakness, the seriousness and complexity of which is betrayed by the current simplification to “vandalism”.
It is true that even in these conditions the “city” remains a place of privileged conceptual and artistic expression: a privilege for a very small elite for which a high social price is paid by the majority of city dwellers.
Culture for Immanuel Kant is “the feeling of living in a place at a certain moment in time.” The culture of the city today is in a terminal condition.
So the current, seemingly avant-garde proposal for the “creative city” should be considered with some skepticism: unless the structural and environmental problems of the city are solved whatever creativity is promoted will be false. Which is a commonsensical extension of the concept of “responsible creativity” proposed by Arnold Pacey.
A lively, vivid, free and vibrant cultural life, a critical and successful creativity, a productive confrontation and dialogue among all the ideal tensions cannot grow without a substantial balance with the environment that generates it.
The city we live in today has been designed by energy abundance and by the assumption of an unlimited environmental space. This also generated the cultural paradigm of the city dwellers responsible for the present contradiction: the place of the highest residential concentration is also the place that delivers the worst quality of life. Or it is ready to become such.
In many realities of the World South the city is a place of survival: it is better to survive in a horrible city than to die in the desert outside.

At the beginning of this paper, I wrote that energy and environmental sustainability is not the main problem for the city today. For an interesting potential synergy I think that the transition to a sustainable city can also be the path to a liveable city. To quote one of our keynote speakers, Jaime Lerner, “Cities are not the problem, they are the solution.”
After jeopardizing the “sense of living in the city” in two hundred years of cheap energy and of zero environmental cost, it may be possible to recover the “sense of living in the city” recovering energy consistency and environmental respect.
We have known for many years that the energy structure of a place (sources, flows, end uses, enthalpy, timing and scheduling, employment potential, costs...) is directly and closely related to the culture of the place (the Genius Loci of Vitruvius). We knew that when we proposed this type of study to institutions like the ENI and the ENEA in 1979. (I was responsible for a group of young researchers self qualified as Gruppo Energia Solare Politecnico di Torino.) Not a very successful proposal: they were much more keen on supply-side problems at the time.
More attention was paid by the CNR First Energy Project. A proposal to study the energy and environmental integration of the Island of Pantelleria was approved (with a lively team from the Turin Engineering Poli, the Engineering School of Palermo, FIAT and TECNECO). Following that, the Italian Radical Party sponsored a study on the Island of Sardinia, “Sardinia in 2010: the development of the Sardinia Region based on renewable energy.” This became a reference for most of the studies on “energy modelling” carried out in Italy. Thirty years have passed since that research was completed (Sardinia in 2010: based on renewable energies) and its thirtieth anniversary should be cause for celebration. 2010 seemed, and was, a very distant future at the time.

The future.

Human beings have always been fascinated by the future. The tools and the ability to predict future events and the consequences of present actions have always been sought and sometimes dearly paid for. Insurance companies make money selling certainty in this world; religions draw their power by offering certainty in the next. It is a general assumption that the present is better controlled if you have a good vision of the future. The reverse is another interesting truism: the future is better controlled if one has a good knowledge of the present.
The future is a deceptive genius: it is always and repeatedly the most logical and banal development of the present situation, but the consequential logic connecting the events appears clearly only after the events have actually taken place. In fact, the perception we have of the future is dominated by the present and by personal contingencies. It is related to culture, to feelings, to social and individual behavioural patterns.

Thus we can say that the future is a “political” matter. In fact it is the essence of politics.
The problem is to promote both the vision of the future and the conditions for a cultural awareness of it. A vision of the future without consistent social awareness is like a painting exhibited where it is never seen. Like music for the deaf.

A possible structure for the future.

An organized mental approach to the future can be useful to systematic speculation, with the obvious caution that the "organized” way of thinking does not necessarily lead to a more reliable image of the future. It does, however, lead to a more orderly way of thinking. If we assume the "present" to be "A" and the future to be "B", the process that develops "A" into "B" is generally characterised by:
a. Continuity
b. Shift
c. Change
That is to say: The future is the continuation of the present situation with shifts that will eventually result in changes.
Continuity: Nothing "stops". There is no pause for "resetting". Whatever will happen is by necessity a continuation of what is going on now. So the first thing to do is to know and express in clear terms what is happening now. Since what will change is what is going on, it must go on in order to change. This is the inherent concept of continuity. What is not actually happening cannot change. The problem today is the “speed” of change, a speed that has suggested the idea of a “liquid World” (Zygmunt Bauman): the present does not keep a stable shape and that makes it difficult to assess long term strategies. To overcome the difficulty some “image freezing” is necessary on essential issues.
Shift: What is going on now also contains the germs of shift: it is because it’s going on that it will change. It will shift because of the ways and modes of its present deployment and because of the environmental conditions that surround its happening. So the second thing to do is to find and identify the seeds of shift in the present situation. The limits that will influence the present operation, the internal or external conditions that may steer, accelerate, contain or override the ongoing process are concealed into its own operation and thus not easy to detect.
Change: When the seeds of shift become limits to current operation the "change" stage sets in. The process is equipped with the appropriate changes to restore effective, or simply better, functioning. No "change" can usually take place out of "continuity" and in absence of "shift". The "changed" process or trend becomes the new continuity.

It is advisable to bear in mind that the three stages (continuity, shift, change) are not necessarily a sequence or in that order. Shifts can take place accidentally or in a completely chaotic way. Even in the emergency of accidental changes, continuity is not disrupted: by definition of continuity.

City energy demands.
Here is a breakdown of the energy demands of cities. The listing is useful for some very general comment.
a. Heating, ventilating and air-conditioning of buildings
b. Public and private lighting
c. Communication and telecommunication networks, (radio, TV, telephones,
d. Monitoring networks, emergency and safety controls
e. Transportation of goods and food
f. Drinking water processing and pumps
g. Public transportation
h. Private transportation
i. Vertical transportation
l. Maintenance of public spaces (cleaning and management)
m. Food conservation (refrigeration)
n. Food conservation (private)
o. Handling and storage
p. Domestic appliances
q. Waste water and sewage processing and pumping
r. Solid waste processing (collection, selection, treatment, packaging)
Some of the flows and end uses require some technology, management and lifestyle changes, and many of them imply the re-thinking of town design and of the city logistics. Most of them require or imply a cultural change of the users’ paradigm.
HVAC and transportation probably represent almost 80% to 90% of the whole conversion: thus the items with the highest return potential to waste control or savings investment and technological innovation.
Qualitative and quantitative modelling (time, space and enthalpy) of the energy flows varies with the design of the city (density, building types), with the climate and with the users’ behavioural pattern: Asian cities are different compared with European cities, and in Europe the Scandinavian city is different from the Mediterranean city. The sprawl of North American and Australian metropolitan regions is responsible for the high cost of urban transportation (see Lee Schipper).
Each one of the end uses has the peculiarity of being “critical”. The breakdown or interruption of each one of them can block the whole system, hence the high risk and fragility of the urban energy structure. Obvious examples are the recent and continuing tragedy of the Naples solid waste crisis, and the “general rehearsal” of the Northeast American and Canadian blackout in 2003.
The list is useful for a few general comments; a more detailed analysis can be done on a specific and quantified diagram of them with the assumptions for their substitution, technological innovations and the induced lifestyle changes.

A. The city energy system is very complex and has been established with no integrated design or conceptual holistic structure. It has grown by bits and pieces with the city in conditions of cheap energy abundance and with no environmental concern. Thus the waste reduction potential is theoretically huge.
B. The complexity of the system requires accurate modelling (pace, time and enthalpy) with the knowledge of primary conversion technologies, end uses, grids and networks. Considerable attention should be paid to the cultural meanings of each flow and to the job implications.
C. Cutting and or substituting oil in the short term and in the medium long term is not an accidental result. It requires political will, vision, leadership, rules and codes, choice of priorities. Also local strategies and interaction with wider territorial schemes, information of the public, design and investment, both of governmental agencies and from private operators and users. Some decisions are very simple (for- instance, substitution of light bulbs and control of appliances’ standby functions. Some are very complex and imply national and international coordination and understanding.
D. The list sheds some light on the responsibilities and potentials of technological innovation, for a possible redesign of manufacturing policies and market strategies, with consistent negative and positive (short-term and long-term) fallout on employment in all industrial and tertiary service sectors.
E. Some of the items suggest implications on social and cultural issues which will set out management and technical innovations. For instance, mobility, where the capacity factors are extremely low and the congestion is critical. A short-term measure in the field of mobility would be the promotion of “tele-working” for at least four or five days a week: 50% to 60% of the jobs in the tertiary sector could be done at home. The consequences of this change will be paramount for the reshaping of the present day CBDs and for changes in the lifestyle of many city dwellers:
* reduction of traffic congestion (with fewer commuters), with direct energy saving
* the remaining traffic will be faster, use less energy, less time and create less pollution
* less built volume to be heated or air conditioned
* a more humane lifestyle for families

Again, a very simple law like the Closed Substance Cycle and Waste Management Act (Gesetz zur Förderung der Kreislaufwirtschaft und Sicherung der umnweltverträglichen Beseitigung von Abfällen -- also known as Toepfer Law) of the year 1994 in Germany has completely changed the conception, design, materials and manufacturing and handling of packaging for all the goods (food and drinks, toys, appliances, cosmetics, spare parts). Thanks to this law, Germany today is exporting compacted urban solid waste ready for industrial recycling.
F. Nothing can happen without affectionate concern for the human dimension: the social and interpersonal relationships and affectionate connections with friends and family. [The name is humanization of processes -- what we call, in rather arrogant, bureaucratic jargon, the “users cultural paradigm”, which in the Real World is the quality of everyday life. (Life *is* everyday life, as Aneurin Hughes once taught me.)]
G. The financial and entrepreneurial challenge of the whole adventure will be huge, difficult to conceive for the public and for the administrative responsibilities with projects and scopes often beyond the capabilities of the local technical staff. The financial endeavour will challenge three or four generations.

The basic rules for energy transition revolve around three pillars:
A. Eliminate waste (i.e. upgrading technologies, controls, boosting efficiencies of 1st and 2nd order)
B. Save energy (i.e. changing behavioural paradigm of users, lowering temperatures – wearing extra clothes for warmth!)
C. Input alternative energy

What must be avoided is to put into the grid and in wasteful technologies alternative energies, whatever the source.
The technical times to set out and put into operation the various options may suggest and lead to a different sequence of the three stages.
A brief explanation of the difference between eliminating waste and saving energy may be useful as they are often misunderstood. Eliminating waste means to retrofit or substitute technologies in order to reduce consumption without changing the habits of the users, whereas to save energy implies changes in the habits and behavioural paradigms of the users (clothing, schedules, cultural positions ...).
Sometimes technical complexity, the time and the investment needed for the retrofit or substitution of old equipment are compelling and it is impossible to avoid saving on a technological system that wastes – a strange contradiction.
I remember the so-called “green Sundays” when cars were prohibited and everybody walked or biked in our cities. The energy saved was irrelevant, but the discovery of a new urban courtesy (urbanity) was important.
A right way to set out the first stage (waste elimination) can make the second stage (energy saving) and the third (alternatives) much easier. Sometimes system rationalization and waste control can override technology alternatives. We all remember the case of the small Swedish town that had to cancel a district heating plant after insulating the buildings: the diminished heat demand no longer justified the new plant.

The Oil Future.
If the transition to energy sustainability is a tool for the recovery of a new urban
functiionality and a new city conviviality it must happen whilst taking into
account the oil schedule and the current assumptions for the depletion of
this resource. It makes sense to anticipate this transition, rather than try to manage it when there is dire scarcity or under conditions that we will not be able to control.
On the oil schedule, the following are the positions of the World experts:

Bakhtiari (Iran), Simmons (US), Skrebowski (UK), Campbell (Ireland), Deffeyes (US), Goodstein (US) believe that peak oil is happening now (2009-2010)
World Energy Council, Weng (China), Doug Westwood (US), place peak oil during 2016;
CERA (US) and EIA place peak oil between 2020 and 2030.

A wide window of opportunity consistent with the growth time of the city.
If Campbell is right (i.e. if we have already reached the peak of oil production) we will have to arrange the Planet for 40% less oil in the next 20 years and for 70% less oil in the next 30 years, while the World population will reach up to 9.22 billion.
Coal is a dangerous alternative given the CO2 problem with climate changes. Nuclear energy will not be available in Italy before 20 years, and even then will probably cover only 30% of the electricity demand which will amount to a mere 10% of oil and natural gas substitution. Disregarding nuclear waste as a problem as problems without a solution are defined.
As far as the nuclear choice is concerned, Italy has still to deal with the 1987 referendum when nuclear energy did not pass the popular vote. That choice delayed the nuclear decision for twenty years (and possibly more) and saved Italy from first generation nuclear technologies, but what should have been done after the referendum was never carried out by any of the following governments (16 of them): setting out a long term strategy for the shift to renewable energies.

The only previous experience of radical change of the primary energy source was carried out when the industrial world shifted from coal (and wood) to oil. At the time, it took roughly 150 years to complete the shift. The distance from the present situation is huge: energy intensity and dependence of the proto-industrial world were definitely less demanding. The technological maturity and the number of the available tools were incomparably less sophisticated than today’s catalogue. The shift from coal to oil was technically easier, given the higher energy intensity of the latter, the suitability for internal combustion engines, and the easy storage and transportation of the liquid fuels compared to the bulky coal masses.
Coal to oil shift implied the substitution of combustion appliances (motors, furnaces, heaters.) The shift to renewable energies implies complex changes of the whole system and of the distributing grids and networks.
I am not able to assess the availability of capital at the time. They did finance huge deeds (Panama Canal, Suez Canal, Transiberian Railway...) so that must not have been a problem.
Certainly the ongoing financial crisis hits us at a crucial time. When the industrial and residential system require short-term and long-term capital investment to set out the “transition”, the financial situation sees a credit crunch extended vertically and horizontally to all the markets. This makes the responsibility of those who seized the liquidity for the next two generations even heavier.
Another important condition to set out the transition is the price of oil.

In 1973, after the first Kippur crisis, the price of crude oil shot up from 3 US$ a barrel to 30 US$ a barrel. The general opinion then was that, in a short time, oil would have reached $US150 and possibly $US200 a barrel. After a history of volatility in July 2008 the barrel reached the record quotation of $US147 a barrel. Then the price plummeted to record low of $US36 per barrel and today the quotation is $US36.74 per barrel which, in purchasing power of 1973, is a mere $US7.7, a quarter of the 1973 price of $US30 per barrel.
Possibly a huge amount of “oil futures” has been bought at very high prices, forced by speculation, and now they have to be placed on the market when the term of the option is due. The bet of the speculators (most of them banks) is lost and the difference must be covered or bankruptcy faced. The very low price of oil does not change the reality of the dwindling resources and exhausted oil fields.
The low price instead:
(a) will hinder the shift to renewable alternative sources, exactly what happened in 1980-1990
(b) will cut investments in prospection and development of new fields
(c) will push a much higher price hike when demand will match production capacity again
That will happen unless:
a) a long term rationalization policy is established with government financial support to manufacturers and their ability to compete
b) investments are not cancelled but only suspended, just the time to renegotiate contracts (bearing in mind that the oil companies control only 15%-20% of this business -- it is the national oil companies that call the shots)
c) a control system is established on speculators, to avoid the 2005-2008 bubble and keep prices under control of the real market.
None of the above three points is easy.
Instead, it is true that the low price may accelerate the depletion and also discourage the investment attention of governments and industries for the transition. Nobody wants to invest good money to save such a cheap commodity and, in any event, there is not much good money available. The present low prices mean trouble for the future of the oil industry which cannot collect the margin to invest in surveys and prospecting, or to invest in innovative technology for the exploitation of quasi- exhausted oil fields. The low price wave will end when all the oil futures have been sold: according to the oil future market information a barrel of oil in 2015 is quoted at $US75.90. There is some time to go, but enough mistakes have already been made in this line of business.

A possible road map.
Very seldom in history have humans had to face challenges of comparable size to those which face us in the coming twenty to thirty years. This is a first from a cultural, environmental, financial and social point of view. Three to four generations will be committed. No war or peace endeavour, industrial venture or building project can be recalled for comparison or reference, other than, perhaps, the construction of the European road network by the Romans or the European vision anticipated by Frederic the Second Hohenstaufen and maybe the great Gothic cathedrals that marked the true European Rebirth -- projects of geographic vastness, multigenerational deeds. All these projects demanded long-term vision, strong political will, technological tools and engineering capabilities, financial planning, all of which were ahead of their time. Maybe the space programs of the seventies or the great Chinese revolution of the last 50 years should be included.

A road map that I think can be envisaged is the association of the “transition” strategy to the current management of cities and metropolitan regions, structures, infrastructures, plants, networks and end use public and private equipment.
The built environment is continuously changing. Settlements and urban “crusts” are like organic tissues; they live, made of different cells with different and complementary functions, which grow and die and are substituted like those in our body, to grant and deliver existential functionality. The systemic process that controls this technological “life” is called “maintenance”: the upgrading of the single unit made by the dwellers or owners, the upkeep of the grids and networks, infrastructures at the various levels of responsibility -- single building, building block, town district, city, metropolitan region, national territory, international geography.
This way of thinking confirms what has been accepted for quite a while by the architectural design culture and teaching methods at various levels (objects, buildings, town districts, cities, metropolitan regions, grids and great infrastructures). The separation between plan, project, design and technology is an inconsistent and deceptive legacy of an ancient and obsolete vision and organization of disciplines which were defined as distinctive fields, assuming as real and effective the ineffable shadow-line that has always connected the “program” to the “making” with no discontinuity. Labels are useful to set the books on the shelves, or the disciplines in the curricula, but they betray the holistic continuity of knowledge and its applications.
So this is the way to understand the plan of the city: a history of episodes, dictated “Hausmannian cuts”, monumental bulldozing, bits and pieces of local lexicon, mingled with everyday operations. Continuous functional upgrading, mobility of interest nodes induced by the dwellers (administrative, cultural, entertainment...) and by the development of contingent economies, sometimes by fashion. The city designs itself, it rolls on, pushed by internal dynamics. It generates and de-generates itself, dominated or driven by the resulting force of the complex game and interaction of cultural, social, industrial, economic, and financial players which represent the self referential structure of any human concentration.
We design our cities when we buy a car, a house, our groceries and when we choose a school for our children, as much as when we go to the movies or to a concert. Every day we design the city in which somebody else will live, and we live in the city which somebody else designed.
Plan, project, design and technologies combined in the same process of thought and action are the tools required to go through and across the self referential dynamics that continuously destroy and rebuild the city and its complex modus operandi.
These are the grounds and chaotic places where the opportunities for a shift/change of the energy paradigm have to be sought: here we must look for the energy that will not come from oil in the next fifteen or twenty years. This will be the market for the industries that supply materials, components and equipment to the building maintenance process. The billions of barrels of oil that will have to be substituted will be supplied by the elimination of wasted energy obtained through the upgrading and energy-minded, innovative maintenance of existing buildings.
The energy that will not be needed will substitute the energy that will no longer be available.
The energy alternative options will follow.
This is why this debate and conference are relevant for the companies associated to MADE Expo: These companies will be the motors and leaders of the great turnaround and of the transition. The turnaround will also be a great opportunity for new jobs as the strategy of energy and environmental consistency will substitute the strategy of cheap oil and limitless growth in a finite space. Eventually, cities will come back to life.
One remarkable peculiarity of the turnaround, compared to previous experiences, is that it will be set out by democracies (one hopes) and with a “bottom up” culture. Cultural awareness will define the political will, and the political will will design the strategies, the codes, the laws, the finance. The governance.
A tool which is difficult to find will be responsible, competent, reliable, trustworthy and reasonably strong leadership, without which nothing will happen.
The first building block of the sequence is already there: the culture of public opinion on the energy and environmental problem is mature and perceived throughout society, notwithstanding some confusing signals from the media. We have institutional centres of excellence. The Italian Polytechnic Institution (by which I mean, for Italy, the complex of Engineering and Architectural Schools and the Scientific Departments of the Italian Universities) have been studying these problems for more than twenty years. A great number of our academics and researchers are members of international bodies active in the field (IEA, Solar Cities, CEE, OECD, UNEP). Work needs to be done to prepare the operational staff of local authorities, professions and public administrations and in the industry. Training courses and permanent information seminars for the professionals have to be organized and financed.
The Copernican revolution of technology is completed. It is not the technology conceived and applied to control and secure the dominion on nature; it is a technology informed by nature to consistently solve the problems of the unavoidable artificiality of human settlement.
Holistic qualitative intuition will operate with the diagrammatic quantitative position of problems to find new solutions. The recently founded Italian Association of Architectural Technology (SITdA), coordinates and promotes the cultural potential of the discipline within the design process. The tools are there and innovation, under the pressure of necessity and competition, will supply new design concepts and solutions. The industry is ready. The markets are waiting.
What is lacking is the political vision of the government and the macroeconomic supporting frame to solve the present contradiction between economy and energy and environmental consistency.

If the ongoing crisis, which I believe is not only a financial crisis, is confronted as an opportunity to go beyond the unlimited growth, to solve the unequal trade between geographies and generations, to stop the systematic impoverishment of the third and fourth world, to stop the unbearable exploitation of the future, and if we are aware of the historical size of the challenge and are able to bring back competence to responsibility and responsibility to competence, the great turnaround will follow as a necessary consequence. As with other great changes in history, it will come from the city -- as always the heart of any civilization: the city of the future.
At the end of a lecture in Denver, Colorado in 1978, after four hours of fascinating visionary teaching, Buckminster Fuller closed with a line that I will never forget, saying, bluntly, “I think we will make it!” That was 30 years ago.
When I look at our cities today, the vastness of the challenge demands respect, but the very idea of not making it is much more alarming.

Lorenzo Matteoli
January 4th, 2009



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