14.00-15.00 GMT – Zoom Webinar

History-based approaches in the strategies for the preservation of the abandoned heritage

The lecture presents the result of the research Processes of Abandonment of the Architectural and Urban Heritage in Inner Areas: Causes, Effects, and Narratives (Italy, Albania, Romania) funded in 2021 by the DAStU Department of the Politecnico di Milano. 

The research investigates how abandonment factors and their effects influenced the construction processes of memory and identity over the 20th century to understand further how they can condition the contemporary perception and interaction with depopulated areas and abandoned heritage by different user groups. The results are important to assess the potentiality of repopulation and reuse of the abandoned built environment.

In particular, the focus of the research is to assess how history-based approaches can help address possible strategies for the “mitigation” of the reasons for the depopulation, hence the abandonment of urban and architectural heritage in inner areas. History-based research is intended as an approach that frames the reasons for the abandonment and their consequences in the historical processes that involved the studied areas. The research is inspired by those fields of studies already traced by historians (modern and contemporary history, economic history, urban history, and history of architecture), geographers, sociologists, archaeologists, and landscape ecologists. They study territorial transformations by looking at the stratifications of long-period processes rather than the physical structure of the territory. Through in-depth analyses of data and thanks to onsite investigations, the research focuses on what remains of the complex stratification of historical and cultural processes in the idea of supposing (not quantifying) the potentiality for return and reuse. Or, on the contrary, to assess the impossibility of returning to the studied areas.

Annunziata Maria Oteri

Annunziata Maria Oteri is an architect, specialist and PhD in Conservation of Architectural Heritage; she is a Full Professor in Architectural Restoration at the Politecnico di Milano, Department of Architecture and Urban Studies (DAStU); Head of the Post-graduate School in Architecture and Heritage landscape and member of the international PhD board in Preservation of Cultural Heritage. She is co-director of the Journal “Storia urbana” (with Renato Sansa) and co-founder and member of the Scientific Committee of the open-access journal “ArcHistoR. Architecture History Restoration”. She is also a member of Sira (Italian Society for Architectural Restoration), and she has also been a member and Secretary (2017-2021) of the Executive Committee of Sira. She attended many national and international congresses, seminars, and workshops on the conservation of architectural heritage.

Author of many essays and books on theory and practice in Architectural Conservation. In particular, her research interests have been addressed, on the one hand, to theoretical issues of Conservation from the origin of the discipline up to contemporary debates. On the other hand, her studies deal with some issues in the field of conservation practice, with particular reference to ruins or abandoned buildings and urban fabric and to the methods that Conservation borrows from other disciplines, such as archaeology.