Interview with Antonio Lista
As we gear up for the launch of our masters program this fall, in the following weeks we’ll be introducing some of our stellar faculty members in a series of exclusive short and sweet interviews that tell us a bit more about these seasoned urban practicioners; from personal favorites to snippets of advice to young urbanism students.
Our second interview is with Antonio Lista, geographer and urban planner specialized in cultural landscapes. He has worked on projects in Africa and South America and is currently developing methodologies to bring traditional knowledge to low density metropolitan planning.
Before we begin…
Your specialty: Heritage and rural planning
What will you bring to the course Regenerating Intermediate Landscapes? A vision of planning as a kind of applied geography
What do you think differentiates this masters course from other lines of urban study/practice? Its practical character, which is unusual today in a field that is becoming increasingly theoretical
1. A model city, or one you would choose to live in: Every age has a ideal city; I would prefer a city with historical remains, not so dense and surrounded by nature.
2. Favorite urbanism books: Progetto implicito, by Giuseppe Dematteis
3. Something you like and dislike about [city you live in]: Avilés. I like its variety of settlements, the contrast of different kinds of heritage, its wonderful historic town and the Llaranes industrial settlement. And of course, I like its streets always bustling with people. I don’t appreciate some more “modern” quartiers, especially its newest one that is purely kitsch.
4. When you aren’t working, you most enjoy: Taking long walks in the mountains, listening to classical guitar and reading Russian literature
5. The biggest challenge architects and urban planners face today: To understand that cities should be designed to be inhabited by real people who have strengths and weaknesses, and not just for appearing in urbanism magazines.
6. One of your projects that you are most proud of: El Parc dels Arrossars (The Rice Fields Park), on the Ebro River Delta (although it has been not developed)
7. A recent example of successful urban regeneration: the central area of Badalona and Bilbao–though it has lost its own character, it has effectively become “another city”…
8. An example of failed urban regeneration: It is difficult to say, but the main reasons for failure are always the same: trying to give solutions to problems that do not exist and copying solutions that perhaps have succeeded elsewhere, but that may have nothing to do with the reality of a given place.
9. An urban planner or other professional whose work you admire, and why: I usually find that it is the local technicians and lesser known professionals that really love their cities.
10. A piece of advice for the future generation of urban planners: Flee from the limelight, fashions and political correctness, and listen to people. They know better.