The Geography and cartography research centre, created on the initiative of the University of Trento, that included it in its Strategic plan, and by the Municipality of Rovereto and the Autonomous Province of Trento, was inaugurated today in Rovereto.
With the ability to bridge different disciplines and to operate beyond regional borders, the Centre, which has no equals and has its headquarters at Palazzo Alberti Poja, has already attracted the interest of 122 academics, a number that will increase in the future.
Of these, 37 are already members of the University of Trento: many are from the Department of Humanities, but some others are from the Departments of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering, from Sociology and Social Research, Economics and Management and the School of International Studies.
In addition to them, there are 78 academics from other Italian universities, research centres and institutes, and 9 are from foreign countries.
The most remarkable quality of the Centre, which was underlined this morning during the opening ceremony at Teatro Zandonai in Rovereto, is its interdisciplinarity. Geography has indeed always been a subject open to communication, which adapts through time and space to new applications.
Endowed with a repository of digital cartographic resources and staffed with highly skilled researchers, GeCo will provide fundamental knowledge for the management of natural, cultural and environmental heritage, and will be useful to scientific research in a wide range of areas, for example to prevent environmental and human-caused risk, manage forest resources, carry out a sustainable urban planning.
A full programme of events was organized for today around the themes of geography and cartography. The ceremony opened with welcome addresses at Teatro Zandonai.
The president of SOGEI Andrea Riggio and General Claudio Berto gave the first speeches, which were followed by the presentation of the Centre by its director Elena Dai Prà; then Giuseppe Scanu, president of the Italian association of cartography, gave the inaugural lecture. In his lecture, Scanu highlighted the novelty aspect of the Centre.
For the ribbon cutting, the ceremony continued at Palazzo Alberti Poja, the home of the Centre, for the opening of an exposition of cartographic and historic materials.
A guided tour was offered by Franco Marzatico, head of the Office for Cultural heritage of the Autonomous Province of Trento, and Carla Masetti, coordinator of the Centro Italiano per gli Studi Storico-Geografici (CISGE).
Professor Elena Dai Prà then led a guided tour of the exposition "Imago tridentina". The exposition gives visitors the opportunity to see antique maps of Trentino and other documents that have been selected and catalogued by professor Dai Prà and are kept in provincial archives, guarded by the Office for Cultural heritage.
The press release includes comments from the director of the Centre, Elena Dai Prà, professor of Geography at the University of Trento, Rector Paolo Collini, Francesco Valduga, Mayor of Rovereto, and Mirko Bisesti, Councillor of the Autonomous Province of Trento.
The foundations of the GeCo project were laid some time ago. In 2018 the Autonomous Province of Trento, the University of Trento and the City of Rovereto decided to create an organization based a number of already-existing laboratories. The organization would have its strength in their research work and in documents and archives donated by some geographers and in other catalogues owned by public libraries in Trentino.
The reason that led the founding institutions to work together to create GECO is that the Centre can provide very useful historical data that can help in decision making procedures in the areas of planning, urban planning, environmental protection, risk prevention. Antique maps have become key at local and regional level in urban planning initiatives, in land management, park management, forest management, water resources management. It is not a coincidence that academics of the University of Trento who are experts in geography and similar subjects were contacted for help after the Vaia storm.
The three founders started to cooperate with a common purpose: the Province of Trento provides funding for part of GECO's research work (researchers and management) in compliance with the Guidelines for the multiannual funding of university and research, and opens its archives through its Office for Cultural heritage. The City of Rovereto provides the archives of its public library, Palazzo Alberti Poja, furniture, IT equipment and funding to cover two research positions each year. The University of Trento participates with its archives and staff.
The memorandum of understanding that regulates the relationship between the three founders, agreed in September 2018, mentions the intention to create a research centre. The director of the centre, professor Elena Dai Prà, will lead it for five years. Based on the rules that regulated the management of the newly-created centre, a scientific committee will be established, composed of ten members, together with a steering committee of 5 members (one of whom will be designated by the City of Rovereto). Professors, researchers, PhD students, grant holders of the University of Trento and of other universities may join the Centre. The Centre may enter into partnerships with external entities, universities, research institutes, organizations.