Stefania* is an architect, specialized by passion in the renovation and restoration of existing buildings, which only need to be discovered, cared and recovered. And so it was for her house too.
She moved to Reggio Emilia five years ago and for the past two she has chosen to live in Santa Croce area, "the most metropolitan District in the city", dealing personally with the renovation of a 1930s building, a former railway workers' house, recovering where possible what had been covered up or partially neglected over the years.
A few months ago, Stefania was finally able to inaugurate a project that she had had to postpone for too long due to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With "Le Officine - Spazio Dedicato" , she and her musician partner decided to open their home to neighbourhood (hence the name "Le Officine" from "Le Officine Reggiane") and to the city for events and meetings where they could discuss a different topi each time, looking at it from different points of view (artistic, cultural, social).
Their aim is therefore to create a type of sociability that is not only linked to mere consumerism but becomes an opportunity to create community around a theme.
"My house therefore wants to be a point of passage, open, to create a network".
And it is precisely here that Stefania's committente in her new neighbourhood intersects with that of the Rigenerazioni project, which through a participatory and inclusive path of appointments and workshop on the themes of good practices of sustainable development aims to contribute to giving the Santa Croce neighbourhood of Reggio Emilia a new voice and protagonism.
Thanks to word-of-mouth with other people who live and work in the neighbourhood, Stefania came to know about "Rigenerazioni" and attended one of the first meeting, mainly attracted by the fact that she already knew the Centro Remida of Reggio Emilia, one of the organizations promoting the project.
The Centro Remida of Reggio Emilia is a project and a place where research is carried out on sustainability and creativity starting with industrial waste materials: issues that Stefania shares and tries to pursue in her own small Way, both in her work and personal life.
Sapere che Remida si trasferirà nei prossimi mesi proprio vicino a casa sua, ha reso Stefania doppiamente interessata al progetto, sia perché ritiene che l’edificio che ospiterà la nuova sede del Centro sia “uno dei più belli del quartiere, a livello plastico e urbano” ma soprattutto perché fermamente convinta che Santa Croce sia un quartiere dinamico, in trasformazione, “che per tipologia di abitanti e per ciò che verrà realizzato ha una vocazione metropolitana”. Knowing that Remida will be moving in the next few months right near her home, made Stefania doubly interested in the project, both because she believes that the building that will house the Centro's new headquarters is "one of the most beautiful in the neighbourhood, on a plastic and urban level" and above all because she is firmly convinced that Santa Croce is a dynamic neighbourhood, in transformation, "that for the type of inhabitants and for what will be built has a metropolitan vocation".
For her, the fact that the first Rigenerazioni meetings required the involvement of citizens is a clear sign of greater openness towards the city and anyone who wants to approach the issues of sustainability and regeneration.
"I wouldn't change anything about Santa Croce, I would enhance what is already there," says Stefania, convinced that the first steps that the Rigenerazioni project is taking in the neighbourhood are going in the right direction in giving value to what the neighbourhood already has to offer.
Stefania has joined the project's working group - made up of private citizens, organisations and associations in the neighbourhood - which will meet weekly over the next few months to define the next actions to be implemented in the neighbourhood.
Precisely because of the affinities between her passions and the themes that the project wants to pursue, Stefania has also decided to give her availability to realise and conduct workshops on the construction of design objects from discarded and recycled materials, also hosting some appointments in the open space of her home.
"I am not Reggio Emilia-born, I have lived in Reggio Emilia for five years and a little more, but the first perception I had of this neighbourhood is that it is absolutely vital, it is interesting as it is, I do not find it a degraded neighbourhood. True, there are some critical issues, but at the same time there is an obvious transformation taking place, so some issues of drug dealing and degradation will probably be resolved.
It is lively because historical citizens, immigrant and foreign families live there, there are so many associations, centres promoting culture, so many different religious professions. There is really a lot of life, and all this dynamism and mixture make it almost comparable to a neighbourhood in a metropolis."
Stefania's hope is that the project will finally contribute to spreading a positive narrative about Santa Croce, to give due value to the diversity and voice to the mixes that make it up and make it its wealth.
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