Designing in the Cultural Rural Landscape. A Teaching Opportunity to Experiment a Research-by-Design Process Applied to an Italian UNESCO Wine Site

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Catherine Dezio, Can Zhang, Yilan Zhang, Davide Marino

Subject: Arts & Humanities, Anthropology & Ethnography Keywords: landscape design and planning; research-by-design; multifunctional agriculture

Rural landscapes all over the world are subject to great transformations, first of all the continuous and slow depopulation of land and villages. It is a dramatic phenomenon that causes devastating consequences for environmental systems and for the tangible and intangible heritage of entire territories. The situation becomes more ambiguous when it comes to cultural landscapes, especially those internationally recognized as exceptional (i.e. inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List). In this case, the risk is to abandon agricultural production in favor of consumerist tourist economies, which can damage the territorial authenticity. In this paper we question the role of the landscape project in strengthening territorial resilience. In particular, a composite and interdependent action is proposed between landscape design and implementation of a multifunctional agriculture model, oriented towards teaching and tourism. To undertake this investigation, a master's thesis work on Landscape Architecture is examined, as an opportunity for a research-by-design method. The application case is the Italian UNESCO site of Vignale Monferrato, a depopulated rural village, characterized by abandoned land and buildings. The paper concludes by outlining replicability application scenarios for the proposed model.

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