“We aim to initiate a debate and find solutions toward a development model that would be beneficial to all”

Antonia Luciani, Secretary General of Coppieters Foundation, walks us through "Non-lieux" an exhibition on the impact of overexploitation of commercial malls for local economies.

News / 18.11.20

Antonia Luciani, Secretary General of Coppieters Foundation, has recently contributed to the debate “Voices from the Periphery: An alternative view on cities” and is the curator of  Non-lieux an exhibition on the impact of overexploitation of commercial malls for local economies. Walk with us to learn more.

The number of supermarkets and peripheral shopping areas in Corsica has increased a lot in the last 10 years. With the consequences that we know: deserted city centers, brainless urban planning, unsuitable road infrastructures, high land consumption and above all, an impoverishment of cultural and social exchanges.

These projects go against all of our efforts to counter the environment, social, urban and cultural emergencies of this century.

This exhibition, organised with the help of artists and planning professionals, aims to initiate a collective reflection and find solutions toward a development model that would be beneficial to all, and would make us all proud.

Pierre Louis Centonze created two maps: They show that Corsica is over-equipped. We have a greater number of square metres of commercial zones per inhabitant than almost all French regions. And the figures are even more alarming when compared with those of Italy or Germany, because France is already one of the countries in Europe with the most peripheral shopping centres.

Corsica has 582 square metres of shopping areas for 1,000 inhabitants, while the national average is around 350 square metres. In addition, there is a strong imbalance between north and south, with a very high concentration of those areas on the outskirts of Aiacciu.

The second map offers a comparison between Corsica and Sardinia. Two sister islands whose commercial dynamics, one could imagine, should have been identical and proportional, which is not at all the case, since Sardinia only offers 176 square metres of commercial areas for 1,000 inhabitants. This clearly shows that the spread of such areas is a development choice, and not at all inevitable.

Philippe Pierangeli (Photographer) took pictures of shopping centres in Corsica: to illustrate space, places and landscapes. If you look at the exhibition poster, for example, the photo is self-explanatory. A traditional fountain lost in the middle of a concrete pour, between a sign, a roundabout and a trash can. It is very emblematic of what is happening: one does not build on what already exists, on what constitutes a heritage, with historical and cultural value, but rather one urbanises according to opportunities, trying to make create the most financial value.

These photos also show the gigantism of the constructions across the great landscape.

Marc-Antoine Campana (Urban planner and model maker) created a model whose volume is proportional to that of the Atrium in downtown Aiacciu. By looking at it one realises that an immense part of the city of Aiacciu would actually fit into this commercial zone, which represents approximately 45 hectares. From this example of Baleone, one could speak of a “baleonisation” of our society, reflected in this model, a pattern we have allowed to develop on the outskirts of our cities.

Maria Elena Fantoni (Italian Artist) put together an audio-visual display entitled SPARIZIONE. A calming voice speaks in Italian and evokes beautiful landscapes, flowers, medieval cities, ancient myths… these are in fact the names of shopping centers in Italy. These names show the contrast that exists between the desire to create a particular place, with a history and fictitiously linked to a territory, while being at the same time in an architecture and mode of consumption that are completely standardised and soulless.

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The Coppieters Foundation is financially supported by the European Parliament. The European Parliament is not liable for the content of the conferences, events or opinion pieces published on our website.

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