Laura Saija: Bottom-Up Planning and Design in Sicily: Significant Challenges and Promising Strategies of Work

Cornell in Rome Spring 2013 Lecture Series

Laura Saija teaches planning in the Department of Architecture at the University of Catania. Last academic year she was an EU Marie Curie Research Fellow at the City and Regional Planning Graduate Division, the University of Memphis, Tennessee. Saija will share her 10-year-long experience as participatory action researcher in Eastern Sicily. In the past she has worked in the City of Catania's historic and modern working-class neighborhoods, establishing partnerships with grassroots organizations, aimed at using planning and design to affect local decision making against "distorted interests." Currently, she is an active participant in participatory research for the defense of social and environmental values in the Simeto River Valley. 

The lecture will be an occasion to share ideas on what kind of planning and design makes the most sense in this period of economic crisis in a context where "institutional planning and design" has always been distorted by powerful alliances between politicians, private entrepreneurs, and local organized crime.