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Recycling of Urban Remainders: Case Study of Naples in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

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The research presented was mostly carried out between 2010 and 2015 in the laboratory GERPHAU (UMR CNRS 7218 LAVUE) during the preparation of a doctoral thesis in architecture, co-led by Paris 8 university in France and Federico II in Italy. A study is proposed of the historical evolution of Naples in connection with the topic of the management of different kinds of remains. The analysed period, the transition between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, seems crucial from this point of view: an action of urban metamorphosis, both technical and ideological, was being implemented, aiming at the transformation of the existing city into a modern metropolis, and we recognise the subject of recycling the leftovers - not only waste, used materials and organic excreta, but also abandoned buildings, vacant parcels and derelict structures - as a real issue. The strategies analysed seem to suggest a sort of forma mentis peculiar to preindustrial Naples, based on a principle of persistence and on an enhancement of what already exists. We will thus address optimisation strategies of different urban and architectural fallouts generated by the control of metabolic functioning and by the government of the built city and its territory. Our hypothesis is that this comparative reading will allow us to highlight the general paradigm linking men to resources, urban systems to natural environments, and stress the importance of looking at these from a new point of view: a multidisciplinary historical perspective.
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Keywords: metabolism; remains; urban recycling

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2017

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  • The half-yearly journal Global Environment: A Journal of History and Natural and Social Sciences acts as a forum and echo chamber for ongoing studies on the environment and world history, with special focus on modern and contemporary topics. Our intent is to gather and stimulate scholarship that, despite a diversity of approaches and themes, shares an environmental perspective on world history in its various facets, including economic development, social relations, production government, and international relations.
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