We are Matera
A city is not only made of streets, buildings and urban infrastructure – not even if it has been granted UNESCO World Heritage status. A city is all these things, plus the knowledge and the skills – embedded in its local community – enabling the maintenance, adaptation, development and improvement of such physical artefacts. Such knowledge is more fundamental than the physical infrastructure: given the knowledge, a city destroyed by a cataclysm can be rebuilt, preserving its identity even though the stone and the steel are no longer the same. But once the knowledge has withered, time will reduce buildings to rubble, fill the canals, cover the roads with jungle and forest, scatter the population. A city – any city – is software.
Therefore, the Sassi are not Matera. We are.
The time has come to update Matera’s software, and that means stepping forth in full awareness of being citizens of Europe and Planet Earth. We need to look beyond the Gravina, over to Europe, the Mediterranean and the planet with new eyes. Learn as much as we can; share our best; to rethink ourselves, with no reservations or prejudices, but also without losing sight of who we are. If we are Matera, it is we that need to walk this path; it is we that must regenerate in completing it. Matera’s bid as European Capital of Culture 2019 is an opportunity to do just that. It is a challenge the city has never faced before. It obliges us to answer interesting (sometimes uncomfortable) questions about our role, both in Italy and in Europe. It forces us to be innovate, and get rid of a lot of accumulated ballast.
Hence, Materani from all over the world and friends of Matera, join us on this online community. We will help the Scientific committee of Matera 2019 to prepare the application bid, but most of all we will rethink the city and accompany her through yet another phase of her 10,000-years long story as a human settlement.