Filippo De Dominicis

Regionalism at all costs – Nallo Mazzocchi Alemanni and the Bradano Valley Land Reclamation Project, 1955

Between 1950 and 1956, one fifth of the Italian landscape was profoundly reshaped. According to the first ten-year plan issued by the Cassa per il Mezzogiorno after the 1950 Land Reform, 51 great aqueducts and around 3000 kilometers of roads would provide the infrastructural frame to rehouse millions of farmers, while 139 new settlements and 46.450 isolated houses would result from the new subdivision of land. The Land Reform was primarily addressed to Southern Italy: besides the national fund, newly established local authorities were entrusted to handle all technical aspects concerning land reclamation and resettlement. Far from being the bare result of political agreements, such an impressive and multi-faceted reform process stood at the intersection of cultural debates, national ambitions and foreign ascendancies that quested for substantial alternatives to modernization and urbanization. The proposed paper would turn to the controversial action of the Ente di irrigazione di Puglia e Lucania as the most representative case where parallel and often contrasting initiatives overlapped, intersected and clashed. Indeed, behind the larger infrastructural frame, the manifold of proposals drawn up for resettling farmers – including those to rehouse people living in the Materan Sassi – underlies an entangled network of actors and institutions (the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UNRRA CASAS, the Italian National Institute for Urbanism amongst others), each striving for a different spatial strategy. The comparative analysis of three relevant case-studies – the contests for designing the Spine Bianche and Torre Spagnola neighborhoods, in Matera, respectively launched by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UNRRA, and the proposal for isolated houses in Irsina drafted by Nallo Mazzocchi Alemanni, from INU – would provide the base for highlighting the role and action of some key professional figures and unfolding the local and foreign lineages of post-war Italian policies on rural planning.

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Full-text available here: HTTPS://DOI.ORG/10.1051/SHSCONF/20196302001