We are delighted to share the experience of Lida Franco, who describes how her participation on the Back to Roots project inspired her architectural project at the London Metropolitan University.

“I was lucky enough to participate in Erasmus+ training week of the Back to Roots project in November 2019 and from there, my proposal for the end of 4 year of architecture at London Metropolitan University, started.

Back to Roots inspired me for this proposal showing that there are very valuable people who participate in projects and communities that are returning to the roots, using traditional self-sustaining methods.

My idea is focused on small production and was based on a grower who sells his product – Rapa Noci – under the highway in a small town called Marina de Belmonte.

Small Economies

Rapa Noci grower

This is a proposal for southern Italy in Calabria, which has a high degree of depopulation and is one of the main gateways for refugees and immigrants from Africa and Asia.

The main reason for depopulation is lack of work, places of study and opportunities. In the search to improve the standard of living, the new generations move to the big cities. Ironically, these are the same reasons that attract immigrants with the difference, that people who arrive in Italy have lost everything and have had terrible experiences to reach Europe.

My proposal has the strategy of promoting the cultivation of small farms, going Back to Roots with the new sustainable technology, increasing and teaching the arts, crafts and traditions that are currently knowledge that only the elderly possess and tend to disappear, being forgotten.

Different basket weaving made in Belmonte, by the last person knowing this trade which is in danger of disappearing

All these proposals will create sources of work and opportunities, not only for immigrants but also for new generations, including the elderly population that will transmit their knowledge through arts and crafts. Occupying abandoned buildings and using public spaces that are no longer in use.

To Back to Roots: Thank you!”

By Lida Franco

Lida Franco is a Colombian student at MArch Architecture RIBA 2 at London Metropolitan University. She has also studied graphic design and sculpture, is a member of La Rivoluzione Delle Seppia, and has participated in social projects such as Corporacion Opcion Colombia and Architecture of Rapid Change and Scarce Resources.

Learn more about the Back to Roots project

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official positions of Kairos Europe, its partners or their employees.

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