Our friend Anna BOSCH had been giving a workshop in participatory photography at Rancho Las Flores, a spontaneous settlement in Tijuana: shanties and self-made houses less than 1km from the most frequently crossed international border in the world. In few cities the inhabitants are so heavily influenced by images built from outside: Tijuana is represented alternately as borderland or as "center of the universe"; as a city without law, or as a "perfect place" for US tourists.
The center is the meaning and the substance; the periphery is the tangible form that it assumes. The city is the field in which the alternate movements among form and substance unfold; some centrifugal, other centripetal, all centrifocal, i.e. positioned towards a center. Living in the periphery is identifying with this distance toward a supposed center, casting one's barycenter out of oneself. But on the surface of the earth there are no centers: actually, the sphere is the locus of the peripheries, being the only center inside the earth - any point on the surface is the center of its own world.
Following the policies of the previous left-wing administration, Rome's right-wing city council is executing a series of fast and almost illegal evictions against the few rrom settlements still resisting within the city (see Amnesty International declaration on 9/28/2012 eviction in Tor de' Cenci). The pretext are the alleged "problems to circulation" and the need for "urban decency", in a city in which the inauguration of a store can paralyze traffic for a whole evening, and where the parties ruling the city council break the norms on the use of public spaces. The residents of the settlements, some of which have been living more than 15 years in Rome, are forced to move to the extreme periphery, in isolated "solidarity villages" under a strict surveillance: often they resist actively to deportations. These intervention inevitably summon back the memory of the policies towards the popular neighborhoods in Rome's center during Fascism (1921-1945): the residents considered less valuable were evicted towards the suburbs, and forced to live in borgate neighborhoods, poorly built and cut off from the town.
- Video of the eviction of Tor di Quinto settlement in summer 2012; Photos; Description :: Video Rom a Roma da vicolo Savini alla Pontina 1 - 2
- Fernando SALSANO (2007) The guts of Rome. PhD thesis on the monumentalization of the center and the birth of borgate during fascism.
- In august 2012 urbanist Italo INSOLERA died in Rome; together with Antonio Cederna, they were among the few authoritative fueron voices that kept denouncing those they called "enemies of the human race": real estate speculators. A commentary in Eddyburg, the best webpage on cities and urban transformation in Italy.