Over time, he has transformed his graduate studies, the years spent getting his PhD in the architecture of the contemporary city and his interest in urban waste and the reuse of abandoned spaces into a genuine business, thanks in part to a desire to pass on his passion to the citizens of Rome. Massaro Saverio, from the Apulian town of Altamura, arrived in the capital to attend the Architecture faculty of La Sapienza University, but despite his time in Rome and the Erasmus in Germany in 2010, his ties with Puglia have remained strong, and he is still split between the two places: an idea can be born in the capital and take shape in Altamura. Since 2012, he has been part of Urban Experience, an association promoting social issue-based nonprofit initiatives. The association was founded in the theatre world – its president Carlo Infante was in fact a theatre critic as well as an expert in media – but it now also includes architects and people connected to digital technology. In some cities, Urban Experience puts on playful initiatives to engage the citizens, typical examples being “walks” and “happenings”.
These aim to involve groups of citizens along routes leading through local neighbourhoods. With the help of radios and the web and the assistance of art historians and architects, urban experience is intensified and the walks become “the opposite of guided tours”, where, as opposed to behaving like a herd, participants are a swarm, free to wander off, take pictures and tweet away (the web providing the content which enhances the experience). Saverio is the project manager of Urban Experience for projects like Theatres of memory or Rome Seen by the Blind. Other initiatives include days of brainstorming involving citizens, designers and visual facilitators, who transcribe the results into concept maps. His interest in the unused space in the historic centre persists from his time at university. And even Urban Experience's meetings follow the logic of their eternal wanderings: “No office – we're nomads”.
The story of Saverio Massaro has been written by Francesco Longo, writer.