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A "best practice" for inclusive art cities: the case study of the I-Access project


The essay aims to illustrate the results of the I-Access Interreg Italia Malta 2016-20 project, conducted by a partnership led by the Department of Architecture, University of Palermo, with the scientific coordination of Renata Prescia. The project involved the Vucciria district in Palermo and the Bijcceria district in Valletta. Within the range of products that have been created (including database, web platform, mobile apps, protocol), in this essay we want to illustrate the actions implemented to facilitate both physical and cultural accessibility, from the integrated points of view between restoration and exhibition design. They are actions for overcoming of architectural barriers, cultural dissemination actions and museographic-communicative nature actions, including re-evocations of lost or dislocated monuments and artistic works. The proposal is configured as a method for historic cities areas that show problems similar to those of the districts under investigation. For example, the Vucciria, in the face of a high monumental density, shows little liveability, both because many of its monuments, particularly churches, are closed and therefore denied to use, and because there is little motivation for local people to relate with those monuments, considering, among other things, that it is an evolving community. The proposal therefore configures concrete actions to restore the memory for the residents and to recover an identity bond with the context, with concrete implications of attraction for a wide tourism, to offer the district opportunities for regeneration. The project proposals concerned the placement of three urban totems, ten tactile maps in relation to as many churches and the design of two new access ramps to two churches. In their realization as intelligent additions, in contemporary and stimulating ways, compared to interventions characterized by a solipsistic retour au passè, so far carried out in accordance with the philosophy of the current urban plan, they also become an educational opportunity for a dialoguing community.