Human being is influenced by the quality of the space that surrounds him, and, at the same time, through his actions, he transforms the space around him, leaving traces of improvement or deterioration which will influence him in the subsequent internal “processing process”. With a similar mechanism, interpersonal relationships act on the individual’s psychic reactions, which, depending on the perceived quality, will activate dynamics of defense or intersubjective participation.
These dynamics influence the individual’s personal abilities in the performance of his vital and social functions, and the personal relational skills, in turn, influence the reactions of the external human environment, in an implacable circularity of interdependencies. Therefore, it can be said that: the relationship with the environment “regarded as the physical and social context in which personality and behaviors are developed” (Baroni, 1998, p. 71) shapes the emotional and learning development of the individual, but, at the same time, the individual, being an integral part of the environment, conditions the overall development of the environment of which it is a part and which perceives him as a component of the environment itself. (Ittelson 1978, Winnicott 1974, Bion 1996, Baroni 1998)
From these observations it can be deduced that the experience of environmental deficiencies is a source of instability and mental disturbance and that a facilitating environment, as well as a harmful environment, together, have the power to influence the individual’s sense of reality, not only in respect to what is external to him, but also in respect to his own perception of himself. “Without a sufficiently good environment,” in fact, “this self (which can risk dying) never develops. The feeling of reality is absent and, if there is not too much chaos, the final feeling will be at least of being useless. The difficulties of life cannot be faced and the satisfactions of life cannot be lived. ” (cit. Winnicott in Abram, 1996 p. 59)
In this sense, a fundamental component for the life of the individual is the development of his environmental skills, from the level of dependence on the environment to the ability to respond to the elements of stress and change, which affect the forms of place-identity and settlement identity.
The self-building process takes place precisely through the relationship with the environment, and more precisely in that transitional space where, following Winnicott’s theory, it is possible to experience the relationship between the internal and external world through the development of the cultural activities which allow to the human to get in touch with the true self and its own needs.
Through my experience I have recognized that abandoned or underutilized places, those places that reflect the need to be re-invented and transformed with their uncertain and defunctionalized character, have the potential to be catalysts of stimuli for psychic renewal where to experiment the production of art, culture and care as practices for a regeneration of the space together with the empower of the individual environmental capacities.
The ‘psychic renewal’ can manifest itself by means of punctual events, which produce a minimal change within the perceptual mental schemes, or through dynamic processes that imply the repetition and continuity of the action in a given context and ensure continuity of the being in a enabling environment.
Seeking awareness in gesture is a continuous and inexhaustible process and the act of giving life back to an abandoned place through art, culture and the sharing of “doing” is a way to experience a use of space that can provoke a new impetus in the imagination of the user, through a renewed and unexpected perceptual restitution, capable of disorienting for a few seconds the order of control based on previous knowledge. This is the fertile moment!
In fact, these places, if organized so that to provide a facilitating environment, the positive container described by Bion, with the proper attention in shaping the physical space, the combinations of objects, situations, places and people, the activities and the modalities through which these activities occur, the human relationships, the degree of freedom and the relationship with the rules, as well as the preparation to interact positively with the happening of the unexpected, all these factors together have the power to act positively on psychic renewal and to empower the development and expression of human potential.

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