New Humanity Movement

Library

The library

biblioteca

Welcome to the Library section. Since the beginning of time, writers, artists, philosophers and thinkers in general have asked themselves the possible questions concerning social issues, and have spread them out, through articles, books, videos. In all the contributions the quality of social relationships is apparent, as the foundation of individuals, families, and communities happiness.

Can We Design cities for happiness?

Enrique-Penalosa

In the following we present an interesting article, originally posted in English in the blog Shareable cities.
Enrique Penalosa was the mayor of Bogot, the capital city of Colombia. From his political experience, which lasted till 2001, he drew interesting conclusions, which he is now sharing all over the world; the core of his message is about improving the quality of life for everyone living in  cities today.

Thanks to the successes of his political mandate, Penalosa stands as a beacon of hope for cities of the developing world, which with their poverty and immense problems will absorb much of the world’s population growth over the next half-century.

That is why Penalosa uses phrases like “quality of life” or “social justice”, to describe his agenda of offering poor people first-rate government services and pleasant public places; these are just some examples of a much more complex project, which aims at making happiness a common good, acccessible to everybody.

Read the entire article


Invisible Cities

Invisible Cities (1972) - Italo Calvino, Einaudi Press.  English Translation (1974)

 

Since I read this book a few years ago, it’s become almost a game to recognize, at least in some characteristics, the invisible cities: A tunnel of pipes, dark and dim, or bright and perfect rooms, cities with those names of a woman to welcome the visitor who lives his life and expresses his own existence in the city.

citt_invisibili_1“Personally, in the mosaic of the various timeless emblems of the city, none struck me particularly, but in each one I found a part of myself, an emotion, a state of soul, something special belonging to my city and those I’ve visited up to now.”

These lines, noticed by a visitor to a literary blog site, can be used to sum up the thoughts of many readers who have found in these pages something of themselves. So, let’s go, at least a little, and on tiptoe, to discover these cities which the author tells us about and which, invisible to human eyes, still strike an inner chord with everyone. Maybe this is because, in the end, the pages speak of our places which, small or large, are worth our attention and recall to mind a history which, whether long or short, is fascinating because it belongs to everyone.

It’s autumn of 1972. A very strange little book, both in its narrative form and its content, comes out from the Einaudi printing press—yes, Invisible Cities. At that time, Italo Calvino, its author, wasn’t yet considered an important writer whose books sold well in bookshops, and the book didn’t have the impact that perhaps it deserved. Still, slowly and stubbornly the word spreads and it enters into the houses and hearts of many readers, who still today, like the present writer, love it and return to leaf through it from time to time.

It’s a book written one little piece at a time, following the author’s inspiration focused on filing cards, maybe interrupted by long periods of silence. They’re memories of trips, notes in prose or poetry about cities or places visited, ‘aware’ of the artistic and human experience their author was going through. As a result, they’re shot through with doubts, sensations that unfold in cities on the one hand dirty and weighed down with uncleanness: sad cities and cities that are content, creative or limited. All those pages, however, don’t amount to a book. What was needed was a frame, a context that would bring together the various moments and the various cities, so that they could express to every reader a coherent and wide-reaching message regarding the wonders of our places.

The ingenious idea was: to call on the greatest traveller of all times, Marco Polo, and have the city presented to him, in the form of an account of a voyage, each one introduced by a dialogue in italics between him and the Tartar emperor, with whom he shares what he has lived. In this way, the structure of text takes shape, including 11 thematic descriptions, of each of five places, amounting to 55 general descriptions of the cities, each of which bears a woman’s name. These are true and correct reports, at times going into great detail, at other times more generalized, which indicate what you don’t see in a city, like the network of pipes, or the people who live behind closed windows or the bricks underneath the plaster. But he especially writes of the city that is within each person. A city that is invisible because, due to stress and a continuous race to achieve our end, we’re no longer able to appreciate these prophetic signs that living together can lead us to share with each other, and to make each one’s life better.
citt_invisibili_2
The story touches so many burning issues which are still relevant today: the relationship between the ‘stranger’ and the land that receives him, communication and language in the city, democracy and the role of the ruler. One issue in those prophetic times in particular is a denunciation of the relationship between the media and citizens which gives rise to suspicion and fascination. The emperor himself, even if rendered enchanting through Marco Polo’s manner of narration, doesn’t know whether or not to believe him when he speaks of places and times, the medieval period, or inconceivably, of an airport or the city of Los Angeles in the USA, which the Venetian explorer has certainly not known.

It has a complex literary nature that is marked by the author’s time in Paris where, in the shadow of Notre Dame he fully experienced ’68, with its destruction of values and symmetry, its contestation, and drew from it a creative impulse bearing fruit in these pages which are profoundly relevant.

Relevant, because Calvino in this untypical and marvelous text, doesn’t concentrate on the actual details of the cities, but at one moment links them with memory, at another with desires, with signs, dramas, leading us ‘to seek and learn how to recognize who and what, in the midst of the inferno, isn’t inferno, to make it last, and give it space' 1.  That’s the strong symbolic impulse of this text, leading the reader to ask himself the reason why it’s necessary to live and live well—both strictly connected with each other—and to trust that together both these kinds of living lead to generation.

Because it’s true, at the end of the book it is possible to think like Marco Polo, who in discussion with the emperor says this: “Even the cities believe they are constructions of the mind or of chance, but neither one nor the other is enough to safeguard their walls. Don’t rejoice in the seventh or seventy seventh wonder of a city, but in the answer that they give to one of your questions"2.

 

Paolo Balduzzi, 30.XI.2009


1 Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities (Turin: Einaudi, 1972).
2 Ibid., frame III-A.

Familyfest 1983

During her life Chiara Lubich, founder and president of the Focolare Movement, met a large number of very diverse people, sharing with every single person a word, a suggestion of how the ideal of universal brotherhood can be put into practice in any place: it could be a speech to a group of politicians, a sincere dialogue with youth and teens, or even a greeting to families gathered for a meeting, any time it was an opportunity to better understand the novelty that this way of living brings about, and that shapes the entire society, indeed starting from the cities.


Familyfest - Palaeur (Rome), June 5, 1993


Seeds of Communion for the Third Millennium

A Proposal

- excerpt from message of Chiara Lubich -

... Now, each family has to live out its own vocation as a family in order to serve as a model for the entire human family, transferring onto it its own values with their characteristic way of being.
The family then becomes, as the title of FamilyFest suggests, seeds of communion for the third millennium.

Read more ...

Trust and Fear in the City


Buenos-Aires

In this book the famous Polish sociologist discusses the daily life of persons living in big cities. In the era of the global village, the big commercial centres could become either places of possibilities or of frustrations, either places of decadence or of development, either places which offer happiness or fear, places where problems abound; yet, they could also be places where creativity is put into motion to provide a more humane human society”.

by Paolo Balduzzi

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Speeches honorary citizenships Chiara Lubich

chiaralubichStarting from 1995 Chiara Lubich, president and founder of the Focolare Movement, has been decorated with 21   honorary citizenships. These recognitions were awarded because of her contribution in making every single city worth of its history, its  vocation in welcoming people, fostering dialogue, and in making easier the get together of people. From Rocca di Papa to Milan, from Buenos Aires to Tagaytay in the Philippines, in this section we present the speeches she held during the conferring ceremonies.

This is a clear example, how the universal brotherhood put togethjer people and gifts, needs and possibilities, shedding light on peculiarities, that make every single city a unique place in the world.

1996 Pompei (Italia)

2000 Roma (Italia)

Deep-seated, a cry from the banlieue

In the guts of the city, there are deep wounds, and tears that force us to be like stones. However there is also hope, that helps us to live, and, above all, there is love”. This is how Rachid Djaïdani, a young writer of African origins, speaks about his last novel, recently published in Italy by Perrone Publishing House, with the title “Deep-seated, a cry from the banlieu” .
Little Lies's story is made up of discriminations, hard life in the Parisian banlieu, where the rough-edged and bitter reality of loneliness runs the risk of nullifying the most normal dreams of every human being. Then something happens, that heralds the true opportunity of a life.
The novel is the exciting common thread of a search for truth and beauty, of a redemption for oneself and for the others; this makes the reader be part of a complex reality, shared by many suburbs of our cities, but the same reader does not remain with a sour taste in her mouth. This is because “in the banlieu-jungle even flowers grow”.
In the attachments you can find the interview to Djaïdani, published in the Italian newspaper “Avvenire” on December 9th 2009.

Paolo Balduzzi

Living City

Here there are some articles about  "living the city" published by Living City, a monthly magazine.

 

New Circus Sisters (Oct. 2009)

 

 

Facing the Financial Crisis, p. 9 ( Feb. 2009)

We have always been people of faith, pp. 18-19 ( Feb. 2009)
Soccer Clinic, pp. 26-27 (Feb. 2009)
Special Cooperation, pp. 26-27 (June 2007)
The Village With a Caring Heart, pp. 24-26 (May 2007)

 

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