Environmental sustainability, trade and historic city center

Updated: Aug 10

I have translated into English an interesting article by Massimiliano Tonelli published in the Art Tribune magazine that addresses the problem of access to the historic areas of large cities (Rome and Florence). It would be desirable that decisions contrary to environmental sustainability are not taken only to counter the economic problems born with the pandemic, even if certainly these are serious problems. Accessing the historic centers of our cities with private cars certainly does not help to solve the problems and save the trade. Living in Milan which is following a virtuous path for the sustainable use and enjoyment of the historic center, I can only confirm that environmental sustainability is the only possible path today and I agree with Massimiliano Tonelli in denouncing what is happening in Rome and Florence. This is the article from Art Tribune:


THE WHOLE WORLD GOES TOWARDS SUSTAINABILITY, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND WALKING. FLORENCE AND ROME THINK THAT TRADE CAN BE SAVED BY LET CUSTOMERS ARRIVE BY CAR TO THE HEART OF THE CITY.

For various reasons, one of the most widespread urban and urban planning reactions at a global level in the post-pandemic was that of sustainability, with a further emphasis on ecology. The great capitals of the world have pedestrianized entire streets, made better use of greenery, invented new parks, replaced parking spaces with outdoor tables to respond to the understandable fear of restaurant customers who did not intend to eat inside.


THE MILAN ADAPTATION STRATEGY

As if the planet's population had agreed to improve their relationship with the environment by using this as one of the many countermeasures to contagion. This attitude has also involved several Italian cities and indeed in some ways, it was born in Italy with Milan which - by virtue of its own “adaptation strategy” - set the standard and was copied to the four corners of the world, the same goes for Paris. But what does the "adaptation strategy" invented by Milan consist of? Very simple: more pedestrian streets, many more cycle paths, lots of outdoor space for restaurants (possibly with quality projects), and an invitation to citizens to walk as much as possible.


WORLD TREND: YOU MUST GO ON FOOT

Yes, on foot ... Until yesterday this trend, followed as we said by many cities, had been contravened only by the city of Rome which, in total contrast, had decided to open the historic center to private cars for the whole summer making useless the historic Limited Traffic Zone which for twenty years has protected the UNESCO area of ​​the city. But so far the surprise was not much: Rome is probably the worst administered city in Europe and you expect these things from the Capitol. To go in the opposite direction with respect to any international bad habit in order to scrape together some small consensus.

Apparently Rome will not remain alone if it is true as it is true that even Florence - a city that in recent years we have repeatedly indicated as an example of good governance - is following. The Board of Mayor Dario Nardella has decided to open the ZTL that protects the historic center after 4 pm until the end of September. In our opinion, a wrong decision that sees in private cars an aid for trade when instead they are an obstacle to the same and a beautiful and good insult for the few tourists who are finding the desire and courage to return to visit us.


SQUARES TRANSFORMED INTO PARKING LOTS

Travelers who choose Florence this summer will thus be surprised by traffic jams, traffic, and historic squares suddenly transformed into open-air garages. It is very predictable, as happens every day in Rome, that other pedestrian squares will then suffer the onslaught of the wild stop because once they have taken the car and come to the center, citizens will want to stop even if they do not find a regular parking space.

Not just a disfigurement to one of the most important historical centers on Earth, but a turning away from those tourists who, as pioneers, had decided to return despite everything. With what advantages for the trade? But obviously none. For every customer earned by virtue of some SUV parked in Piazza Strozzi, there are two lost among those who do not like a historic center overrun by SUVs. A choice, therefore, suicidal. A total misunderstanding about which is the correct way out of the gigantic crisis we are facing.


By Massimiliano Tonelli - 7 August 2020

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©2020 For the Love of Art by Irene Ortega Tabuenca.