|INTEGRATION OF TOWN AND COUNTRYSIDE
Definition characters description and diffusion
All over the Mediterranean, the archaic societies that developed in economies with scarce means based their survival on the careful and parsimonious management of the natural resources. The close relation between the ancient agricultural technique and the settlements makes the traditional historical centres fundamental for the preservation of the environment. Thus, it is wrong to consider traditional knowledge as marginal compared to the great economic and technological processes under way. Even from a quantitative point of view, their use still supports most of humankind which is distributed throughout the less industrialized countries. Paradoxically, in these places where traditional techniques are still used in a massive way, these are considered by the modernist thought as a phenomenon of backwardness, whereas, in advanced countries, they create an image and provide added value.
General characters description and diffusion
As a whole in the Mediterranean, only in the sectors where a great cultural investment has been achieved, has the traditional knowledge successfully persisted by combining with successful technological and economic innovation. In European countries this commitment has mostly concerned the historical and monumental urban heritage. However, entire historical centres are doomed to perish and be abandoned when they are unable to incorporate the innovations they need in order to function. This is the case of the traditional historical centres in southern Italy and the Maghreb. They constitute an intensive and concentrated model of settlement typical of the Mediterranean organisation system that works in a close relationship with the agrarian landscape and which acts for the latter as a grain store, trade emporium and as a service organisation centre. The crisis of traditional agriculture coincided with the exodus from these centres, generally located in inaccessible mountain areas that constituted territorial entities able to tackle soil degradation with their traditional architecture, water collection systems and soil protection techniques.
Advantages and sustainability
Integration of town and countryside is vital to the survival of societies in modern day that take into account traditional techniques and innovative technologies. These societies will provide an example to the rest of how to integrate the two seemingly contrary worlds.