Castel Romano Report

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EUropean ROma MApping

Castel Romano REPORT

Action 01 EU-ROMA map(happening) Rome 3-14 March 2008

lan in collaboration with:

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Castel Romano REPORT

CASTEL ROMANO A Report on the Conditions of Habitation

Castel Romano is a settlement, known both formally and informally as a “camp,� outside the city of Rome, which houses approximately 800 Roma* people. It is a legal camp, authorized and constructed by the city of Rome. In Italy, where Roma live almost exclusively in camps (as opposed to standard housing), one finds both legal and illegal camps, some of which are of long standing. Work began on the site in... img 2 Castel Romano, along the via Pontina.







Location - Isolation Summary of General Issues Transportation Current Location relative to Vicolo Savini

7 - 16 7 9 - 12 13 - 16

Water Well Water Pumps Chemical Treatment Tank Water Storage Tanks Water Quality Water Quantity Pipe Network to Containers Site Drainage Fire System Sewage System

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Energy and Safety Energy and Safety Map

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Adaptation Adaptation Map

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Ground Cover Ground Cover Map

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Children School - Isolation Health – Water Playground - Environmental Conditions

45 - 50 45 47 49

CASTEL ROMANO REPORT : INTRODUCTION Castel Romano is a settlement, known both formally and informally as a “camp,” outside the city of Rome, which houses approximately 800 Roma* people. It is a legal camp, authorized, funded and constructed by the city of Rome. Work began on the site of Castel Romano in September 2005. The camp was built to house the former residents of another camp inside the city of Rome known by its address, Vicolo Savini, which was in existence for 25 years and was closed in September 2005 due to poor conditions of sanitation. The Roma first were moved into tents on the Castel Romano site for what was intended to be two months but became eight, while metal containers and an infrastructure of electricity, water, gas, and sewage was put in place. The Castel Romano community is mostly made up of families from the former Yugoslavia, many of whom immigrated to Rome before the Bosnian conflicts of the early 1990s; others came during the war. Almost all Roma who are resident at Castel Romano wish to be Italian citizens, but have found this a difficult status to attain for many reasons, not the least of them bureaucratic and economic. Many still hold citizenship in their country of origin, and, since in Italy citizenship is inherited, many second and even third-generation Roman-born Roma are technically foreign citizens, making work permits, residence permits, and even driving licenses very difficult to obtain. Castel Romano is the largest Roma legal camp in Italy and is the first of four or five “mega-camps” proposed by the Comune di Roma to house Roma. The city’s mayor at the time, Walter Veltroni, called Castel Romano a “Village of Solidarity” (Villlagio della Solidarietà). All proposed locations for the mega-camps are, like Castel Romano, outside the Grande Raccordo Anulare (GRA), the ring road that surrounds the city proper. Castel Romano, located on the via Pontina 13 kilometers outside Rome, sits on protected land, a natural reserve known as Decima Malafede which belongs to the region of Lazio. Castel Romano is managed by Impegno, a non-profit organization which manages emergency housing. Impegno works in collaboration with UNIRSI, a Roma rights organization (Unione Nazionale ed Internazionale Rom e Sinti in Italia) and ARCI (Associazione Recreativa Culturale Italiana) that serve as liaisons to the Castel Romano community. All these organizations have representatives present in offices in containers (prefabricated metal housing) at Castel Romano. ARCI is also responsible for arranging transportation for the children to their schools and acts as liaison between schools and families. In March of 2008, over a two-week period, we visited Castel Romano and prepared this brief report on its conditions. While we also read secondary literature and conducting informal interviews, we have attempted to limit the findings reported here to those based on direct observation of the site. * We use the traditional word in their language, Romane’, that they themselves prefer, “Roma”, instead of “gypsies,” which is considered a pejorative term. Roma is the plural, Rom the singular. The Italian word for “gypsies” is “zingari.” There is no relationship between “Roma” the Romane’ word and “Roma” the city.

We recognize that the problems of habitation that face the Roma in Italy are inex¬tricably linked to problems of culture, economy, citizenship, racism, and human and civil rights. Given the brevity of our work period, and our particular expertise in architecture, we have confined ourselves in this report to problems specific to habitation at Castel Romano. We understand “habitation” to mean not only issues of housing and support infrastructure but also the social and psychological environment. K.B.

Project Leaders: Alexander Valentino (LAN), Karen Bermann (ISU) Laboratorio Architettura Nomade (Alexander Valentino, Martin Devrient, Andreas Faoro, Francesca Rizzetto) and the Rome Studio, Department of Architecture, Iowa State University, Prof. Karen Bermann, Megan Anstey, Emily Geralds, Peter Grotenhuis, Jerica Hining, June Hae Lee, Keihly Moore, John Pepper, Bradley Rodenburg, Anna Swinehart, Andy Temeyer, Kurtis Wolgast (4th year students) and Balo Cizmic, Unione Nazionale e Internazionale Rom e Sinti in Italia Aerial Images courtesy of Google Earth Text and Graphics by the students of the Rome Studio Text Editing: K. Bermann Final Graphics: A. Faoro, A.Valentino Editing: A. Faoro, A. Valentino Additional photos by M. Devrient, A. Faoro Special thanks to Isabella Clough Marinaro

Summary of General Issues Camp Proximity to Rome and to Pomezia The camp is 30km from the historical center of Rome to the north and 5km from the center of Pomezia to the southeast, the nearest town along the Via Pontina. Residents must go to either Rome or Pomezia for all goods and services, including food, water, worship, medical services, and schools. Via Pontina The camp is located along the Via Pontina, popularly known as the “Strada della Morte” (Road of Death). This fast-moving highway has the second-highest fatality rate of all roads in the country and many drivers avoid it. Given the absence of shoulder along the road except for emergency pull-off stations, it is especially dangerous to walk along. Access to and from Castel Romano (summary) The problems which surround traveling to and from Castel Romano are complex. They intensify all other difficulties associated with the geographical location of the camp and the isolation, on a myriad of levels, of its residents. The danger posed by daily use of the via Pontina is only one of many problems. The camp is not well served by public transportation. Buses do travel along the via Pontina but they do not stop near enough to the camp, their stops are at hazardous spots, and walking to and from the buses is slow, difficult and/or hazardous. Often bus drivers refuse to stop for camp residents (or others who they assume to be camp residents). Cars also experience difficulties entering and leaving Castel Romano. An additional problem for both car and pedestrian is the absence of a means of crossing from the southbound side of via Pontina to the northbound side, where the camp is located. A more detailed account of these issues follows on page 8. Pomezia: Access to Goods and Services Pomezia, the closest town to the southeast, is where the camp residents go for many goods and services. As described above, and further on page 10, there are difficulties getting to and from Pomezia by car or by bus. Lack of Visits: Medical, Emergency, Maintenance, and Social The camp’s location and the difficulties of coming and going also create isolation from services and social contact. At Vicolo Savini, the residents’ previous camp, a doctor made visits on a regular basis; at Castel Romano there are no medical services whatsoever. There was no sign of professional maintenance of infrastructural equipment. There are no scheduled doctor visits at all. Visits to, and especially from, friends and family are, in general, infrequent. Access To Work As has been noted by numerous journalists, many of the residents of the camp who had various forms of work throughout the city have had to give it up entirely due to the difficulty of traveling between Castel Romano and Rome. Location and environmental health The proximity of the via Pontina means that the sound of fast-moving truck traffic pervades the camp. Location and isolation: topography Very significant slopes on either side of the camp make walking outside difficult.

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img 4 - Via Pontina looking south (Castel Romano on the left)




Pomezia Nord The crucial point in the movement of pedestrian travelers coming to and from public transportation going both north and south comes at Pomezia Nord, 3km south of the camp entrance along the via Pontina. It is a busy and complex traffic interchange where cars to and from Castel Romano can change direction. It is also where travelers on foot may cross the via Pontina safely by means of a pedestrian overpass. Pomezia Nord is named for the complex traffic interchange, but it is also a small social and commercial center. “Il Nord” has a large, well-stocked and pleasant coffee bar, tabacchi, and restaurant; we met individuals and families from Castel Romano doing just this, having breakfast at the bar in the mornings when we arrived. There seemed to be a cordial relationship between camp residents, staff, and other frequent coffee bar patrons. Visits to “il bar” are a crucial part of daily life in Italy and the inhabitants of Castel Romano are no exception. Going to Castel Romano from Rome The camp is south of Rome, on the east (northbound) side of via Pontina. By car There is no southbound vehicular entry, that is, no overpass or exchange, that leads to the camp from the via Pontina. Cars coming from Rome must overshoot the camp by 3 km before finding an interchange (Pomezia Nord) that allows them to travel north back to the camp. By bus The nearest stop for buses coming from Rome (and continuing to Pomezia and points south) is 3km south of Castel Romano. One disembarks just past Pomezia Nord and walks northward back toward it along the Pontina. This short walk is not particularly safe, as one walks on the edge of the Pontina itself, and across busy access points for the Pomezia Nord interchange. The already non-existent path worsens as one approaches Pomezia Nord; here one must weave around the base of the pedestrian overpass (see images 5-6). The grass shows the wear of many feet on this path. From there, one can cross an overpass to reach the northbound side (the Castel Romano side) of the via Pontina (see image 7 – ped overpass). It is while walking across the pedestrian overpass that one feels the true speed of the Pontina (see image 9). There is a closer bus stop at the designer outlet also named Castel Romano, 1 km north of the camp, but there is no way to cross the via Pontina to reach it. There are no pedestrian crossings along the via Pontina; crossing it on foot is prohibited and extremely dangerous. In a well-publicized case in December 2007 a woman attempting to cross via Pontina to return to the camp from this bus stop was killed by a fast-moving vehicle. After descending the stairs on the north side of the Pontina, one waits for a northbound bus to make the 2km trip to Castel Romano. Here one feels safer, as the stop for the northbound bus is sufficiently removed from the Pontina. The alternative to waiting for the bus is walking a “homemade” path along and below the via Pontina for 2km (see image 8). This path is muddy in wet weather.

img 5 - Waiting for the bus to Rome along the via Pontina

img 6 - Walking the informal path along and below the via Pontina to the camp

img 7 - The overpass over the via Pontina, 3 km south of Castel Romano

img 8 - The informal footpath which links the camp to the overpass.

img 9 - Waiting for the bus to Roma along the via Pontina.


Going to Rome from Castel Romano By car The northbound (and only) entrance to the Pontina from the camp is among the most difficult moments of the journey by car, as there is no acceleration ramp to enter the fast-paced road. Photos on Google Earth show an informal acceleration ramp that has been created by vehicles. By bus Buses to Rome stop very near the camp along the shoulder of the via Pontina at an authorized stop. Five buses passed by us one day as we waited and waved. Going to Pomezia from Castel Romano By car A car coming from Castel Romano must first travel north to an interchange which allows one to change direction to reach via Pontina southbound. The problem of the lack of acceleration ramp for a car entering via Pontina northbound has been described in Going to Rome from Castel Romano. By bus One must walk south 3km to cross the overpass at Pomezia Nord to wait there at the nearest southbound bus stop. (This walk is previously described in Going to Castel Romano from Rome). One can also walk or take a bus going north to reach an overpass which allows one to cross over the via Pontina. There, near the Castel Romano designer outlet, one finds another southbound bus stop. The Nonexistent “Via della Comunella” In the process of this site and transportation research, an interesting discovery was made, courtesy of Google Earth. In the GE aerial image to the right, the roads are highlighted. The Pontina is in yellow and orange, and the secondary roads and drives are in white. One sees a connection between the camp and the next road to the east. This connection, refered to as Via della Comunella on the GE images, does not exist in fact. We can only assume that it was planned but never constructed. Instead of the official “Via della Communella,” which would permit direct access to Castel Romano from the south the path along the Pontina is a connection which has been created by the feet of many walking camp residents throughout the last 2 years and 8 months. A paved road would also allow camp residents to use the acceleration ramp that the buses use from the bus stop to enter the Pontina.

img 10 - The nonexistent Via della Communella as seen on Google Earth image

img 12 - Access to and from Castel Romano by bus; points along the route

img 11 - descending the overpass along the via Pontina


Current Location Relative to Vicolo Savini The community’s move from Vicolo Savini to Castel Romano changed many conditions of daily life for the residents. The 30km displacement is significant not only in terms of sheer distance but also in terms of context (see map img 3-13-14-17 ). The red area represents the former Vicolo Savini camp near the Tiber River. At the bottom of this page you see a closer image of Vicolo Savini in its urban context, near to the neighborhood of EUR. The image directly above it shows the layout of the former camp. At Vicolo Savini, dwellings were placed on the edges and in pod-like formations in the open space in between. This formation is quite different from that of Castel Romano where a grid of streets and alleys organizes the containers, which are placed along the sewer system grid. Almost without exception, each person interviewed said that, while conditions of sanitation were extremely poor at Vicolo Savini, life there was still preferable to life at Castel Romano. The neighborhood context of the former camp, in which one could shop for food or medicine, get a coffee, or simply take a walk, was cited, as well as its position within the city, which meant proximity to medical services, parks, etc. Parents also mentioned particularly how long it takes ambulances to reach Castel Romano. The presence of shade trees in the neighborhood and the city, and the lack there of at Castel Romano, was often mentioned as well. (see views of both camps)

img 13 - Former camp at Vicolo Savini

img 14 - Vicolo Savini

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img 15 - Vicolo Savini

img 16 - Temporary shelter at Castel Romano in the first 8 months

img 17 - prefabricated metal containers during construction


Fences and Barriers at Castel Romano Recently, high concrete and metal fences have been installed which separate the camp from all its surroundings. There is now an opening at the front of the camp facing the Via Pontina, and another at the very rear of the camp where sewage and water facilities are housed (see images 19-20). When the camp was created, it was split into two halves in order to create smaller administrative units and to avoid tension between various groups. A large space was left between the two parts of the site to create a sense of separation.

Policing as a Barrier There are invisible as well as visible barriers at Castel Romano. During site visits conducted for this report, there was always at least one municipal police vehicle at the entrance to the camp checking papers of those arriving at the main gate and inquiring into their business at the camp. On one visit, at least 12 Municipal Police vehicles throughout the camp were checking car insurance and impounding vehicles. Officers also scanned the interiors of the cars for any illegal substances before removing them from the premises. One resident commented, “They brought us out here so they can do what they want with us.� Anecdotal evidence suggests that cars are sometimes removed even when their status is entirely legal. According to residents, there has been a recent increase in the number of municipal police on the premises (as of March 2008).

img 18 - Fence at Castel Romano between the camps

img 19 - Fences between the two parts of the camp

img 21 - Police patrol

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img 22 - Cars being confiscated by police


The water situation at Castel Romano is dire. The first word out of a resident’s mouth to a visitor is often “acqua!” Residents struggle with the uncertainty of water every day. Water quality is also a critical problem at Castel Romano. In addition to issues of thirst, sanitation, health and well-being, sewage, fire protection, and drainage have all been affected by a fundamental lack of water. Problems have been found in the planning, construction, and maintenance of the water system of the camp. This report documents these deficiencies briefly; further study is in order. Further analysis of the underground supply and drainage networks, water source, and water quality is also in order, as the only information gained on those topics is anecdotal. Following is an outline of the problems studied at Castel Romano: Potable and Bathing Water Well - Number and Water Volume Provided Leaking Vandalized Inadequate water volume Pumps - Maintenance Leaks Error codes Chemical Treatment Tank Empty Error codes on sensors Water Storage Tanks Not filled Improper networking of tanks Water Quality - Reports of rashes and sickness from drinking and bathing in well water Water Quantity - Inconsistent availability of water in containers Pipe network to containers Piping - Improper shutoffs Site Drainage Gravel - Poor maintenance leads to large amounts of standing water Sub-grade tiling - Improper day-lighting procedures Fire System Galvanized water tanks Hose bibs and housing Destroyed Sewage Septic tanks—smell Possibly full Not fully buried


Well The well is located a few hundred meters northeast of the camp. Both the well and the concrete housing that should protect the well head are in a state of great disrepair. On the day of the site visit, the well was spewing water. It was evident that the concrete housing has been vandalized. The ground and concrete slab surrounding the well head are saturated with water leaking from the well head itself. There was evidence of attempted repairs at the location of the leaks. Cloth and string was tied around the hoses in an attempt to stop or slow leakage. Video footage of the scene at the well can be found on the supplemental DVD. Beyond the well’s poor state of maintenance, a comparative study strongly suggests that one individual well is not sufficient to accommodate the needs of 800 people. Treynor, Iowa, a small farming community in the U.S. is a town of just over 1,000. That city was contacted for information regarding their water supply system. Treynor has two full time wells and one emergency system that can also be used during times of high use. * Water Pumps The pump house can be found in the northeast corner of Castel Romano. Its function is to pump water from the well into large blue holding tanks for treatment and dispersal. Evidence of vandalism could be seen in and around the pump house. The lock had been tampered with and the door no longer locks. Inside the pump house, the floor was saturated with stagnant water left by the leaking pumps. The instruction manual lay soaking in the same stagnant water. An error message on the pump control panel, visible at all times, reads, “ERRORE: MANCANZA ACQUA.” (Lack of water; water missing.) The error message provides further evidence that there is insufficient water volume to even feed the pumps, let alone fill the provided tanks. During site visits, the pumps emitted a range of loud sounds indicating reduced or insufficient water feed. Video and audio evidence of this can be found on the supplemental DVD.

*We do not mean to suggest that water use in these two communities is, or should be, the same – clearly it is not -- but it is still useful as a point of reference. Obviously, water volume is more important than number of wells. Both issues should be investigated further.

img 23 - At the well head

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Chemical Treatment Tank Next to the pumps was a small blue tank. This vessel is used to inject chemicals into the storage containers for the proper treatment of the water supply. When opened, the tank was empty. A set of sensors ran from inside the tank up to a control center attached to the wall. An error message read, “ALARM No. 1.� It is assumed that the message relates to the fact that the tank was empty, but that is speculation. Full green canisters of chemicals were sitting on the pump house floor along with one empty container. Administration of these chemicals requires the assistance of a trained operator to, if nothing else, feed the chemical tank. It appeared that no service operators had visited in quite a while. Water Storage Tanks Adjacent to the pump house is a series of four large blue storage tanks. The actual capacity of the tanks was not identified. They are networked through a series of plastic pipes embedded in a concrete housing. The water is pumped into the tank closest to the pump house, but the piping network allows them to fill simultaneously. All the tanks were almost empty, every time that the levels were checked. The highest level observed was approximately 20% full. There is also speculation that the piping network runs uphill. Given that there is no pum p moving water into the tanks, this could cause problems for the complete filling of the other tanks. Even if the tanks were filled, available water volume appears to be on the low side. Calculated daily usage in the city of Treynor, Iowa, is 80 gallons/per person/per day. Beyond that there is a safety cushion of x2. That means 160 gallons/per person/per day. Given a population of around 800, that would reveal an average daily need of 128,000 gallons. The tanks provided hold far less than this.

img 26 - Water storage tanks

img 27 - Water pumps.

img 28 - The error message reads: LACK OF WATER


Water Quality Beyond the problems of water quantity and volume is the question of water quality. Residents of Castel Romano have been complaining about this issue since their arrival at the site. All the documentation in this report concerning the quality of the water is anecdotal (we did not submit it for laboratory testing) but it is widespread and consistent, and should be investigated further. The most common reports are of rashes found on children after bathing and of sickness in children after consumption of water. We did not hear any reports of adults falling ill. Apart from questions of toxicity, there are reports of water sporadically filled with dirt and sand when it exits the faucets in the containers. Water quality tests should be conducted at all points within the water supply system. Water Quantity There are widespread complaints about the inconsistent availability of water within the living containers at the camp. Residents report that water will be available at one time, and then five minutes later, there is not a trace of it. It is not known whether this directly corresponds with the amount of water in the storage tanks or not. This question should be investigated further. However, for this report, on one day, water availability was tested throughout the camp every half an hour for 4.5 hours. Video documentation of some of these tests can be found on the supplemental DVD.

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No water. Air running through lines Water runs - clear Water trickles - clear Water trickles - clear No water Water/air mix - sputtery Water runs – clear Water runs – clear No water - air in lines Water/air mix - clear

img 29 - In the pump house

img 30 - Error message

img 32 - Residents collect and store water, since availability is unpredictable

img 31 - Inside a storage tank


Pipe Network to Containers Due to the fact that the water network to the containers is buried it was not possible to observe much beyond the network’s above-ground appearance. Proper shutoffs which would make it possible to remove a unit without spewing water have not been provided. A few units have been removed and the ties to electrical, water, and sewage networks were literally cut. In one instance, water was found flowing rapidly out of the ground where a container once was. The connection was never plugged; there is no way of knowing how long that leak has been flowing. Footage of this leak can be found on the supplemental DVD. With leaks like that in the camp, in addition to other problems it is not surprising that there are water supply issues. It seems that all containers receive water of varying quality at various times during the day, but testing should be done to ensure the integrity of the supply network.’’

Site Drainage It appears that all of Castel Romano is drained by some sort of subterranean tiling system. Further evidence of the system’s existence is the fact that downspouts on the containers run below-grade. It was not possible to speculate further on the state of the drainage system. One feature that both facilitates and inhibits proper site drainage is the fact that the whole settlement is placed on a layer of gravel. This gravel allows water to seep through to the tile drains, but without proper maintenance, depressions have begun to collect runoff in large amounts. This poses an obstacle to movement along those roads, not to mention all of the dangers associated with stagnant water.

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img 35 - Site drainage problems


Fire System

Located adjacent to the drinking water tanks are the holding tanks for the camp’s firesystem.These tanks are connected to a series of hose bibs located throughout the camp. When inspected, the tanks did contain water, but residents demonstrated that no water came out of the spigots on the other end. The lids to some of the tanks had been pried open; large amounts of trash were found inside, along with water. Video footage of the tanks is available on the supplemental DVD. The tanks themselves are constructed of galvanized metal. This is fine for a fire system, but water held in these tanks for extended amounts of time should not be used for drinking or bathing. Many of the hose bibs around the camp have been broken into, suggesting that that this water may be, or may have been, used for drinking and bathing when the fresh water system is or was not operational. As previously mentioned, many of the hose bibs located throughout the site are either damaged, destroyed, or missing altogether. Often, their housings are cracked, the hoses have been removed, and other pieces have been salvaged for usage around the camp. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the system never worked in the first place, that little more than a trickle water ever came out of those fire spigots. A few weeks prior to this research (March 2008), a fire occurred in a container located on the ARCI side of the camp. No water was available to put it out, and it the container burned completely (see image 47). No water came out of the fire spigot when it was tested during this research. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that the generator placed near the pump house for the fire system was never operational. With that said, it would make sense that the spigots did not receive pressurized water.

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img 37 - Hoses and hose boxes out of service due to absence of water for fire protection

img 39 - The interior of a tank of water in the fire protection system

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Sewage System

Also located at the back corners of the camp are the septic tanks for the sewage system. Both of them smell of sewage, an odor which pervades the camp on some days. The ground around both sets of tanks is saturated. The combination of the smell and saturation suggests that both tanks are full and possibly overflowing. Leakage could be another, or additional, explanation. The tanks located on the ARCI side of the camp are not fully buried and the covers to the tanks have been broken open. This poses a grave hazard to anyone who might wander into this area. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the filters for this system were either never provided or, once installed, never replaced. Detailed investigation of this problem is crucial. The sewage network connecting the tanks to the containers appears to be in working order. However, there is not sufficient water to flush the sewage through the networks. If this persists, the pipes might eventually back up.

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img 44 - Sept tank and surrounding area


The exterior of one of the housing units. An electrical power strip (which should never be exposed to the elements) is wrapped around a water hose, and is hanging (in an attempt to keep it dry) over the housing unit’s gas supply line.

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Most fire boxes at Castel Romano look like this. Fire hoses are missing.

img 46 -

Container at Castel Romano have caught fire and burned down completely. Without fire extinguishers, fire hoses, and enough water pressure to actually use the hoses there really isn’t anything that can be done to save a burning container. In the time it would take for a fire truck to arrive at Castel Romano it would be too late.

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img 48 - This is how many houses are supplied with gas. This would go against most safety regulations in Italy. The “bombola�(gas tank) is considered an unsafe means of supplying gas to a home. In the denser housing areas of Castel Romano, if one gas tank caught fire and explodes it could start a chain reaction, causing many units to burn down.

An intact and functioning electrical box at Castel Romano. img 50 -

Many of the houses have propane tanks hooked up inside because in some circumstanses this is the only way they can cook. Practices like this are and have been against code for some time, due to the potential dangers associatedwith the use of propane tanks.

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img 51 - Over

a quarter of all electrical boxes at Castel Romano look like this – not maintained and damaged beyond use.

Energy and Safety

Energy and Safety Mapping

Castel Romano was built in a cookie-cutter fashion, in uniform rows and with identical containers. Despite this, some residents of have taken pains to alter their living space and perhaps create a sense of house, if not home. EXTENDING - With limited interior space, some have expanded their living environment outside. Here one sees an extended kitchen and dining area.The inhabitants have also decorated their front facade with a faux-brick finish and plants - img 52

ILLUMINATING - By turning a floodlight intended to illuminate the “street� inward, inhabitants create their own porch lighting - img 53

CONNECTING - Depending on their size, families are sometimes permitted to occupy multiple units in Castel Romano. When they are adjacent, in-between spaces can be constructed to connect the units and provide more room - img 54

With only limited space available, inhabitants convert the area in between units into the things they lack. By closing off a space, families can create a place for storage, a laundry area, or a makeshift garage - img 55


INNOVATING img 57 - This box that used to hold a emergency fire hose now acts as a place for someone to hang a bag. With the lack of water a prevalent problem in the community, certain useless features have been given new uses – here, storage and display. LANDSCAPING img 56 - Even with very limited water supply, some residents still manage to cultivate green spaces in Castel Romano. Landscaping also serves a practical purpose as paving stones help to reduce dust.

A wall partition has been reduced to a decorative valence to make two rooms into one. img 58 -

ZONING img 59 - Inside the camp people have created their own zoning. The central street is blocked off where it intersects the square, preventing traffic from driving through and creating a place where children can play safely.

img 60 - Because of the inhabitants’ limited access to work, some have created their own home businesses. Here, a salvage yard of bathroom parts fills the back alley between two containers.


Adaptation Mapping

Most of the camp is surfaced in a mixture of dust and gravel that becomes dusty in the sun and heat.

img 61 - A mix of different ground cover typical of Castel Romano

img 62 - Garbage in some areas makes them unwalkable

img 64 - When wet, the earth and gravel areas become muddy and standing water becomes a problem

img 63 - Unplanted areas are subject to erosion in periods of rain

Ground Cover

Ground Cover Mapping

School - Isolation There are approximately 250 children at Castel Romano that are eligible to attend school. Of those 250 about 50 actually go, and some do not go regularly. Often it takes more than two hours to go from Castel Romano to Rome where the school are located, and the bus often arrives late due to traffic jams along the Pontina. Children attend 5 different schools in the areas of EUR, Grottaperfetta, and Ponte Marconi. These schools were predetermined by the residents’ previous address, Vicolo Savini. ARCI is in charge of transporting the children to and from school by bus. “Too frequently these kids [Roma] are sent to special schools for the mentally disabled, but their primary obstacles to learning are typically language-based. However, their language deficiencies are not addressed in these schools.” (Ozdemir, Cem. “Roma: 15.000.000 European citizens.” p. 40. Els de Groen, 2005)

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Health – Water

Children are at special risk of illnesses or rashes from the water at Castel Romano, which does not appear to affect adults as badly. Parents buy bottled water for the children and indeed bottled water was in evidence everywhere. There are showers and sinks located in each of the containers, but basins and bottled water are used to bathe the children. However, this does not stop young children from drinking or playing in the water supplied at Castel Romano. The presence of leaking water creates a particular difficulty.

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Playground Environmental Conditions

Children frequently play around the water treatment facility and old abandoned cars in the area in the back of the camp. On rainy days the children also play outside because there is not much for them to do inside and not much indoor space. There are no designated playgrounds at Castel Romano, only a large central gathering space that is covered in gravel.

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