In the Biella region, urban agglomerations are mainly spread along waterways. The textile industry has in fact been able to fully develop where waters flow. These urban agglomerations are like islands joined by a sea of fields, meadows, woods and mountain pastures, but also springs, streams, canals, irrigation ditches, rivers, lakes, rice fields and snowfields. The Biellese water activated and affected industry, not only as motive power, but also thanks to its extraordinary quantity, quality and purity, a characteristic congenial to textile processing. The water descends towards the plain, digging its way through valleys in which factories carry out processes that follow each other in close and dynamic supply chains. Alongside the industrial production, many locals started to engage in some form of activity linked to the main factories, but workers and employees nonetheless maintained an active relationship with the countryside, where they cultivated products for their own subsistence. This is why here the conquests of workers' rights could be achieved earlier than in many other places: strikes could last several days, because workers could resist longer without pay.
Cittarcipelago - AREA 1

Unlike what happened in the Biella area, in the rest of the world industrialisation took urbanisation to the extreme, depopulating the countryside. People who were once farmers were canned in industrial metropolises just as the food industry canned agricultural products from the countryside to feed the inhabitants of the cities themselves in an increasingly artificial manner. Cans that today are concrete dormitories in which tons of packaging and waste degrade the landscape.

The pandemic has shown how the overpopulation of the metropolitan concentration is a factor aggravating the risks of survival, as well as, and this is already evident, worsening the quality of individual and social life. Many of those who experienced the pandemic outside the city are now considering moving to the countryside, also thanks to digital technologies for communication and commercial use. Today, it is possible to carry out a territorial development project that, inspired by the historical characteristics of the Biella area, declines the relationship between urban and rural in ways capable of generating sustainable prosperity.

It is no longer a question of thinking in concentric circles, with the city at the centre and the countryside around it, but in terms of archipelagos, in which the countryside unites the inhabited centres, engaging them in a production system where nature and technology can coexist in sustainable balance. For some years now, through the project Terre AbbanDonate and its land and farmers’ registries, Cittadellarte, together with a group of local organisations, has been reclaiming lands left uncultivated among the factories, contributing to a contemporary renewal of the territory's vocation as a green archipelago city.

The green sea of the Biellese territory unites the urban centres as the blue sea unites the islands of an archipelago. A new concept has emerged from the Biella area, the one of a city no longer imprisoned within walls and submerged in a sea of pollution, but widespread and distributed across the green sea of nature of its countryside and mountains. The green archipelago is a project of territorial urban planning that extends the capital's vocation to combine industry and nature to the whole province. This union is sanctioned by the UNESCO designation with the symbol of the Third Paradise, which represents the creative and harmonious conjunction of the opposite kingdoms of nature and artifice.

The success of the appointment of Biella as a UNESCO Creative City is based above all on a sharing pact between all the municipalities of the Biella area. Biella Città Arcipelago addresses the same municipalities that have signed the UNESCO agreement, which, under the direction of the capital, can constitute the interconnected nodes and islands in the network of this territorial project through first and foremost the cooperation of all the departments responsible for sustainable development.

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