Our commenter Peucezio, who often has paradoxical but brilliant reflections, writes :
“Architects are by definition enemies of the human race.”
We have so many architects in our ranks, here in the resistance in Florence’s Oltrarno, that we cannot count them any more, and most of them are good people.
But Peucezio is not entirely wrong.
An architect – except for a certain number of psychopaths who should be sentenced to farm labour – is generally a person with wonderful ideals who lives on the crumbs thrown to him by rich people who do not have wonderful ideals.
What we need to survive are popular urbanologists.
When the average person brought up entirely by TV hears the word popular, he immediately thinks of a blend of TV shows, Stalin and Hitler, but that of course is a problem of anybody entirely brought up on TV.
When I say popular, I am simply thinking of my masters of urbanology.
Not one of them is an architect, but let me introduce them to you all the same. Just some, because I have so many.
Renzino who is being evicted from his home at the age of eighty,
Sauro the craftsman who has seen thousands of residents being driven away,
Andrea the cook who has investigated and discovered one by one who are the speculators who are behind what is happening in our district,
Fernanda who looks down on Via della Chiesa from up on her terrace and follows everything that happens,
Giovanna who restores sixteenth century statues, and tries to explain why every other bottega on her street has closed,
Maria who became an urbanologist the day someone molested her daughter in the street and she tried to understand what kind of city we were living in.
Popular urbanologists, unlike architects, do not have to wait to be paid by someone to say what they think of the city they live in.
Geckos live on walls, and they understand walls.
Puffer fish live in salt water, and they understand salt water.
We live in cities, yet we do not understand cities.
While we have no end of things to say about football teams, about Muslims against Christians, about Israelis against Palestinians, or about any other issue which is supposed to be topical, we delegate all of our understanding of cities to town planners, architects and town councillors.
The funny thing is that we not only delegate, we even trust them.