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  • Writer's pictureAnkie Petersen

Controversial Heritage: European Cases in Architecture and Urbanism

Heritage and memory play a major role in the processing of impactful events from the past and the formation of their own cultural identity. Likewise in Europe. The European Union is built on values ​​such as freedom, democracy and respect for human rights. In order to fully appreciate the meaning of this, it is necessary to keep the memories of the past alive, so as to build on the past towards a just future.

A statue dedicated to the Opera Nazionale Ballila

My project “Controversial Heritage: European Cases in Architecture and Urbanism” was initiated in 2018, and aims to provide an important supporting contribution to research into fascist architecture and urban development in Italy. The diverse aspects of historical culture with regard to various totalitarian regimes and historical situations of conflict in Europe – from museum presentations to the surrender and design of the places of remembrance – are studied in a mutual and comparative context in Rome.

The leading question in this research is how the collective memory clinging to physical places from Mussolini’s fascist regime in Italy, in diverse groups and among different layers of the population, has developed. And how these processes relate to those in other European countries.

Specific, transnational goals are being pursued in a European context: to raise awareness of the shared history and shared values ​​of the European Union. To stimulate peace, democracy, debate, reflection and sustainable development. The results of this independent scientific research will be shown on this website. In addition, a peer-reviewed, scientific publication forms a chapter in the upcoming book: The Routledge Companion Guide to Fascist Italian Architecture: Reception and Legacy.

The Foro Italico in Rome, one of the remnants from Mussolini's architectural interventions

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