27 September 2022

The Biopolitics of Habitability
in a Persistent Company Town.
Rethinking the Industrial Cities
and Their Productive Habitats


Respondent: Paolo Scrivano, Politecnico di Milano

Colonia Elioterapica, Dalmine, Italy. The rationality model is a premise for the Dalmine's quality of life. Conversazioni, Dalmine S.p.A. (1957) Conversazioni (extract), Anno IV, n.7–8, August 1957, p. 12. © Fondazione Dalmine Archives.

Company towns are cities founded during the Industrial Revolution by single enterprises operating as employers and landlords, enforcers of security, promoters of social harmony, and providers of services and goods for workers to enhance the living and health conditions of the production sites and the surrounding settlements. In the second half of the twentieth century, existing company towns encompassed a transition process, which contributed to a radical change in the modes of living, in most cases caused by the disappearance of the industry that had ceased its industrial activities in the area. Where today production has not ceased, the company's power in the territory is still discernible. My work hypothesises that these companies adopt postmodern spatial and social control dynamics to shape the conditions of habitability. I use the city of Dalmine, funded in 1906 in Northern Italy, to corroborate this hypothesis. Dalmine represents a curious archetype of an Italian company town, where the company is today still actively contributing to the construction of the town's identity through educational and social programs freely offered to the citizens. The analysis of the 100 years of welfare programs recorded in the private business archives of Fondazione Dalmine allows grasping how the dynamics of spatial, social and body control have changed over time, following changes in the company's biopolitical strategies.


From the Garden to the Beach!
Tracing the Palm Tree in the Attic Landscape


NTU Athens

Respondent: Metaxia Markaki, ETH Zurich

Painting by G. Iakovidis, view towards the Akropolis, 1901

The presence of Palms seems to characterize the Greek landscape from the era of Pallingenesis, the era when the new Modern Greek state was established, until today. A rather continuous and persistent presence that makes us wonder why. This article focuses on the city of Athens, Capital of Greece, and proposes to investigate the close and multi-layered relationship between the tree and the local landscape (topio in Greek), with a Tour, from the Garden to the Beach! Our starting point is the Royal Garden, the first garden which has been created since the new capital was established. From the Garden, with its clearly defined borders, where solitary and impressive groups of Palms mark crucial views to the Acropolis and the Palace, we proceed along the repetitive and almost continuous linear arrangement of Palms along the different avenues that finally reach the sea front. Following Poseidon Avenue, the tour reaches the beach, where groups of Palms are planted directly onto the sand, such as at Eden beach (Paralia Edem in Greek) in Faliro, whose name also evokes a garden. Today, Palms still characterise both the imaginary and the urban landscape of Athens. In their majority Palms are considered as exotic trees, and as far as the palm species that have successfully arrived in Greece are concerned, they are great travellers. Following the different journeys of Palms into the city of Athens, along with all the infrastructure projects required to turn a remote village into a modern capital, this paper will investigate their role in the formation of the Attic topio, from the era of Palingenesis till today.

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