Environmental and Territorial Studies – Environmental Humanities

ancient paintThe Master’s addresses issues of territory, city and the environment, and promotes Environmental Humanities, a rapidly expanding field of study in Italy, and currently one of the most stimulating areas of human sciences.

Environmental Humanities constitute a new form of organization of various disciplines and research in response to growing awareness of the climate crisis and environmental and ecological issues, and are aimed at developing analytical and operational tools for public debate and interventions, ranging from government policies and administrative measures to assessment and interventions in individual professional sectors.

The Master’s presents the history of concepts such as city, community, habitat, nature, territory, landscape, project, the anthropocene, discussing and updating various spheres of knowledge through the lenses of philosophy, art, political and sociological theory, history, geography, urban planning, architecture, law, economics, ecology and communications. The Master’s offers an unprecedented integration of the various disciplines and skills needed to tackle modern issues of territorial, urban and environmental dimensions.

The vocation of the course is therefore to offer training that addresses both the disciplines of the sciences, such and engineering, environmental and natural sciences, and the humanities.

The Master’s was established in response to other multi-scale initiatives and policy developments.

Firstly, Italy’s Ministry of Education, University and Research and Ministry of the Environment and Protection of the Territory and the Sea formulated, from 2009 to 2014, a series of “Guidelines for Environmental Education and Sustainable Development”.

These guidelines aim to “sensitize citizens and communities to take greater responsibility and pay more attention to environmental issues and good governance of their local territory”, and acknowledge a growing attention to interrelations between environmental, social and economic dynamics, and the development of various international community policies between 2002 and 2014. The most recent evolution in this international and governmental trend is been expressed in the Link identifier #identifier__6531-1United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Secondly, the knowledge and competences feeding into the Master’s form part of an emerging theoretical and methodological field, that of Environmental Humanities. This is a cutting-edge, experimental and updated approach to contemporary issues, offered by only a few other institutions than Roma Tre University, including Link identifier #identifier__127268-2Stockholm University, with which the Master’s is a consortium partner, Link identifier #identifier__24812-3Harvard University and the Link identifier #identifier__137652-4University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

Within the area of Territorial Studies, particular importance is given to new ecological interventions, which, in relation to environmental and territorial transformations, take an aesthetic, artistic, critical and political approach to the spatial dimension, through existential and creative expressions.

Such approach is now reflected in various research and study programmes, in both art schools and university departments, such as at University College London (UCL) in the UK, at the Doctoral School in Aesthetics, Sciences and Technologies of Arts (EDESTA) at Université Paris-8 in France, in the Environment and Territory Doctorate of the University of Rome La Sapienza in the Department of Engineering, in the Phenomenology of Contemporary Art programme of the NABA Milan arts school, as well as in institutions such as Link identifier #identifier__119415-5the Society of Territorialists (Società dei Territorialisti/e), in Italy and France.

Forms of contemporary art, from performance to visual studies, are beginning to question territorial topics with an ever more decentralized attention to Western dominance, approaching studies of decolonization and innovations in representations of existential maps.

Contemporary publishing is also converging on this approach, as seen in the Eterotopia France project (Link identifier #identifier__114129-6http://www.eterotopiafrance.com/) and the series Habitus di Derive e Approdi.

Course educational goals

The Master’s addresses issues of territory, city and the environment. The ability to read the territorial and urban context, together with cultural and environmental sensitivity, are foremost in recent European directives, national policies and emerging orientations in production and services sectors.

Furthermore, recent regional laws on urban regeneration (e.g. in Lazio, Law 7/2017) have begun to promote interventions that go beyond the dimensions of construction and urban planning in order to integrate social, environmental and economic aspects with the specific purpose of promoting or relaunching territories affected by underdevelopment or degradation.

Therefore, in response to the related needs of the world of work, training and administration, the Master’s offers a theoretical and operational experience that aims, above all, to provide the elements of an integrated culture on the addressed issues.

The Master’s thus aims to train urban operators for public administrations and the private sector, capable of using new operational tools and various spheres of knowledge, of integrating public and grassroots policies, and of adapting to the pace of modern urban development. The Master’s will be of particular interest to architects and urban planners who are receiving or have received predominantly technical training in their degree courses, but who want to explore the field of urban studies, expanding their ability to read the city as a place of collective construction and developing skills of communication and representation, such as journalism and video and art production, which are traditionally not included in their training.

In summary, the main training objectives of the Master’s are:

  • to promote skills to address issues relating to the city, the territory and the environment, with specific modules dedicated to Language, Observation, Action and Narrative. Each area is tackled with an interdisciplinary approach, through a range of contributions from teachers of various fields
  • to develop a cultured and aware use of language in the exploration and reading of territories
  • to develop the ability to observe on the basis of an empirical knowledge of the territory. The course will provide tools for a broad and integrated reading of the city that takes into account both its spatial and social structure
  • to employ data analysis, scientific reporting and knowledge of environmental legislation in order to carry out journalistic inquiries and environmental communications
  • to critically read and use photographic and video language in environmental communications
  • to train professionals capable of:
    – Managing local territories as interconnected community and environmental spaces, from a participatory management perspective
    – Drafting and managing urban regeneration programmes in response to regional and local planning laws in order to promote improvements in housing, social, economic, environmental, cultural and landscaping conditions in critical and underdeveloped urban contexts
  • to intervene at the heart of the city with creative, interdisciplinary and participatory methods
  • to initiate participatory processes that engage citizens according to a new concept of development, based on the dignity of people and the environment
  • to create tools and develop participatory democracy in the context of decisions regarding the management of territories
  • to reconfigure territorial interventions, from calls to co-planning, for example in response to Italian Law 328/00, not as individual planned measures, services or protection actions, but rather as multi-threaded, interdisciplinary, interrelated interventions.

Finally, the specific composition of the Scientific and Educational Council allows the Master’s to offer updated training at national, European and international levels.

Employment opportunities

The ability to read the territorial and urban context, together with cultural and environmental sensitivity, are foremost in recent European directives, national policies and emerging orientations in production and services sectors.

The Master’s aims to train figures for the various territorial professions, with a wealth of legal, political, communicative, urban planning and technical skills, as demanded by the evolution of community citizenship, and facilitating and enhancing versatility in setting, addressing and responding to policies in which the various professions interact.

For such purpose, internships are provided in various territorial organizations, bodies, associations and administrations, involving various professional profile in fields ranging from communications to the arts, training, administration and interventions in urban contexts

The Master’s offers training aimed at:

  • Preparation of state competitions and updated qualifications for the public administration
  • Preparation of state competitions and updated qualifications for teaching
  • Journalistic activities
  • Territorial and local development interventions
  • Employment profiles in local institutions
  • The creation of participatory projects
  • Attendance of the entire Master’s will give architects and planners fifteen credits recognized by the Register of Architects and Planners.

Students are awarded educational credits for degree courses, as well as Erasmus programmes, in the departments proposing the Master’s.

The Master’s is also useful for submitting EU research calls, such as under Marie Curie European Innovative Training Network programme (Link identifier #identifier__66413-7https://enhanceeu.wordpress.com/).

Furthermore, the Master’s promotes the skills, expertise and knowledge required under the following professional profiles of the Lazio Region (link: Link identifier #identifier__164580-8http://www.regione.lazio.it/sil/tirocini/progettoFormativo.html):

  • Local development consultant
  • Local development agent
  • Expert in the assessment of development projects
  • Insertion and social integration technician
  • Expert in training and curricular planning (EU planning and skills assessment)
  • Architect and designer of environmentally compatible structures and services
  • Architect urban regeneration planner
  • Social communications manager
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Emiliano Mattiello 13 March 2024