Environmental Engineering Reference
a result of working together with others. And if the common enterprise
deals with relationships with the territory we inhabit, the product is a piece
of our “common” sense of landscape , which acquires value as part of our
personal and collective identity. Only then, will we feel proud to inhabit the
place: the landscape will become part of our personal cultural heritage.
But the “common attribute,” beyond qualifying a collective enterprise
(ours or our ancestors'), is also an indicator of a nondedicated, nonscientif-
ic consideration connected to a diffuse sense and to the ordinary, daily
(dis)attention that is normally reserved for the context. The common sense
of the landscape becomes an ordinary feeling with time; when the enthusi-
asm ends, the memory of the commitment blurs and remains only a vague
sense of belonging that is reawakened only by the “not-in-my-backyard
syndrome,” when they come to tell us they are going to traumatically
change our world. The ordinary sense of the landscape, without a plan or
attention, does not unleash infinite ordinary destruction, the erosion of rec-
ognizability and memorable signs that can be registered on the territory
every year but which we do not register.
In reality, a symptom of unease can be read in the exponential growth of
tourism , which is not explained simply by a possible increase in spending:
also, landowning inhabitants 100years ago only rarely moved from their
beautiful houses and cities, which they enhanced to make pleasant.
Instead, tourist fluxes in the “cities of art” can be explained by a need
for public spaces , signs of a community , and places that have such a
unique identity that not only the inhabitants but also visitors take part in
enjoying it. With the defeat of modernity, the cycle of identity between per-
sonal and collective is broken down: metropolitan inhabitants, free of a col-
lective identifying recognition of the places where they live, try to recon-
struct a landscape identity , feeling themselves to be citizens of the world,
not looking for a homeland, but rather a diffuse heritage, a collection of
places to which they can entrust their personal identity.
In visiting other people's places, there is a sense of respect for and
recognition of the dignity of others in living well, and happily, that can
sometimes even turn into envy: others are superior or at least equal to us as
inhabitants of the Earth because they own their landscapes.
Perhaps this is just the latest sign of the prevalence of agricultural
humans over hunters, but it is nice to think that the first Greek written text,
founding our civilization, is not an epic text, but rather Works and Days ,
which Hesiod committed to paper to testify the importance of being in
places and managing our relationship with nature. Every Odysseus since
then refers to this when he prefers “rocky Ithaca,” marked by the bed and
throne made with his own hands, to any other place where they tried to
detain him as an inert luxury guest without a purpose.