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Concept and Content

“Kintsugi Urbanism” is a proposal that aims at creating an action through which the 13.812 square kilometers of Montenegro are reconfigured as a sustainable ecosystem with the capability to be revitalized by the economic resources of “slow tourism,” reaching into the resources of the territory, culture, and diversity.
Kintsugi means “golden joinery” and is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum as a philosophy; it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.
Applied to the urban scale, we defined it as the operation of mending e re-connecting a disjointed territory that lost its identity through the strength of its cultural values, natural resources, and participated economy.Montenegro’s primary resource, in fact, consists of a small territory and the extraordinarily varied environmental heritage dotted with monuments recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

To this strong naturalistic environmental character, varied and exceptional, are added other elements of complexity, the rich cultural stratification of the material and intangible heritage, the variety of languages spoken in addition to Montenegrin, the variety of ethnicities and religions in the face of a population of total 672,180 inhabitants.
To a systemic look, this scenario can only highlight that the landscape we see is the result of the millennial coexistence between man and the natural environment as an adaptive system that has come to these days miraculously intact. However, the recent history of this territory testifies elements of discontinuity of the synergy between man and environment. In fact, the experiences of the last century, to those of the decades marked by the transition, have left traces of socio-economical and spatial transformations in terms of urban development, industrial regeneration, urban and rural, and the socio-cultural relationship inconsistent with tradition and environmental resources.
This discontinuity has produced the phenomena of territorial suffering in the natural and urban environment where, for example, imported settlement models have produced phenomena of “diffused” cities without particular specificities.

The architecture and strategies of territorial development intended as an integral part of the adaptive system between man and environment have abandoned the challenge of being an ecosystem in continuity with the past and the opportunity to be an integrated eco-sustainable economy, capable of expressing a peculiar identity.
Regarding the territory’s resources, our proposal focuses on developing sustainable tourism integrated with local activities covering the entire national territory and modeled on the three main climatic areas: Coast, Plateau and Mountain. Furthermore, the project looks at the “Complex Adaptive Tourism Systems” (CATS) as one of the possible model currently in experimentation in highly sensitive environments, such as coral reefs, that make a wide use of the citizen’s participation in the decision-making processes to produce and redefine a shared image of the country and its redesign.

Effective governance is the critical element of sustainable tourism. The participation of a number of stakeholders in the decision-making process in the field of tourism will improve democratic processes and property rights associated with sustainable development. As all development situations have their particular characteristics, the management adapted to specific purposes and contexts is needed to achieve sustainability with tourism. A governance system for achieving sustainability must include these elements: the participation of governmental and non-governmental organizations, a network structure, well-defined property rights systems, constitutional rules, and collective choice for operation and follow-up processes and penalties. This project aims to guide collaborative processes in the direction of recovery and enhancement of the material and intangible natural and cultural heritage, working on the image of architecture and finding a line of continuity with the Montenegrin vernacular architecture by recovering technologies, forms and settlement strategies to realize reversible structures essential to the project of sustainable tourism or for the reuse of decommissioned spaces and the urban voids.

Pavilion Design

A ubiquitous golden grid parceling the land – and the pavilion space – represents the infrastructure on which the architectural acupuncture takes place. The objects fastened to the grid are fragments of an Omni-comprehensive project involving the whole of Montenegro and aiming to build a new identity of the country established by highlighting its voids and promoting a conception of authenticity to tourists and citizens.

Theoretical Research

This project is based on theoretical research that stands on the complexities and contradictions of today’s changes in our society and environments. In particular, the idea of sustainability is associated with resiliency. From an initial conception based on the fulfillment of economic, socio-cultural, and environmental principles, the concept evolved into a systemic vision based on new knowledge of the sciences of complex systems and an understanding of cultural and historical values of vernacular architecture as a way to self- identification.
These concepts lead to new ways of understanding the sustainability of tourism, highlighting the need to incorporate concepts such as the integration of natural and human systems, the adaptability, and resilience of systems that require community participation and cooperation between stakeholders. These new research approaches should include knowledge in the ecology of ecosystems, the ecological economy, the science of Global Change. Sustainability is no longer defined as a state of equilibrium, but rather as a transition to resilience in the context of a country that is in search of acquiring its identity. The research will see the application of ideas and concepts of “complex adaptive Tourism Systems” (CATS), which underlines the need to have new approaches to the management of this new vision that addresses the challenges of a resilient system. The research will then isolate specific components of interests, in particular, private and public resources and the synergy between stakeholders and communities.
The research aims to become a manual of instruction to induct a permanent resiliency process through natural, cultural, and economic forces.

Team: Alessandro Orsini, Fabrizio Furiassi, Romolo Ottaviani, Emanuele Piersanti, Nick Roseboro
Status: Proposal, 2018