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Ruined bridges of Italy reconceived as vertical cities of the future

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Vertical Villages
Vertical Villages
Oxo Architects

Italy's A3 Autostrada motorway began construction in the mid-1960s, and today runs over more than 300 miles of countryside between Salerno and Reggio Calabria. However, despite 50 years of ongoing development, the highway is still woefully unfinished, coming to represent the deeply entrenched corruption and governmental mismanagement afflicting the region. The local government in Calabria thus sought out proposals four years ago that would reinvent the motorway for the better. The design they settled on is "Vertical Villages," a project that transforms the highway's many bridges and viaducts into solar-powered cities.

"I call it an inverted high-rise," Manal Rachdi of Oxo Architecture told FastCo Exist. Designed to be an autonomous community, the top of the bridge would serve as a pedestrian walkway with a section cordoned off for cars. Below, self-sustaining residences, shops, and leisure centers would be built into the bridges' support structures. The concept imagines residents living comfortably in the neighborhoods created within the upside-down towers, all while enjoying the view of the Calabrian countryside. The only issue now is the fact that Southern Italy is economically depressed. Until that changes, it may be some time before a project this ambitious gets funding.