The Open City

History of a Concept

History of a Concept

  • In 1953, the Associazione Oasi Maria SS was founded in Troina (Sicily, Italy) by Father Luigi Orazio Ferlauto with a group of volunteers. During the eighties Father Luigi, launched the idea of "open city" as the place where "strong people" would help “weak people" and where "everybody is someone to be loved". Today, Oasi, it is medical centre for involution cerebral research and care aimed to be an experimental laboratory for the study of the social rehabilitation and integration of disables as well as a catalyst for cultural change targeted to eliminate discrimination.
  • In 1984, CRIART- (Associação para o Desenvolvimento Sócio Cultural da Comunidade), was founded, in Curitiba, Brazil by the Medical Doctor Marilia Ema Macedo Bernardes (Portuguese) with a group of volunteers. They starts working with the integration of “street kids” and evolve to the concept of “Biopolis” the city for life quality.
  • In 1989, Father Luigi Ferlauto met Marilia Bernardes within a John Kennedy Foundation board meeting, and proposed that Marilia become a promoter of The Open City worldwide. Marilia suggested a group of international professionals to study the definition of the concept and approaches for our society to be an Open City in a wide concept (joining also the concept of Biopolis). Marilia also suggested Brazil as the country to be the laboratory (integrated mixed cultures, important environment). Oasi and CRIART established a Foundation with the specific objective to develop projects within the concept of The Open City and to act as reference for replication.
  • In 1999, a first statute was elaborated for the incorporation of an international Foundation. Switzerland and US being the only two countries with this type of organizations it was decided for the foundation to be in USA.
  • At 2001, Brazilian Foundation made an application to acquire the ECOSOC status.
  • In 2002, all a new visual identity was developed including Logo and approaches and methodologies started being published. Vision and mission were stressing "civil society" and "civic values" as the fundamental moral resources to enhance peace and socio-economic development. In particular, the philosophy of civic values and the importance of the bottom-up approach as a mean of self-directing economic growth decisions.
  • In July 2003, Economic and Social Council granted consultative status to the Brazilian Foundation. Ever since they first raised the attention, among others, of FAO that suggested an international Forum on rural development chaired by United Nations Economic and Social Council to be promoted. The outcome of this Forum held in October 2003 in Brasilia and titled "New Paths for Connecting Municipalities to Sustainable Economic Growth", was "Brasilia Declaration", the first declaration of civil society endorsed by ECOSOC since its establishment. Art.24 of Brasilia Declaration was giving mandate to FOCA to promote actions a networking worldwide on behalf of rural development according the recommendations of civil society.
  • In 2004, Open City International Foundation Inc. was incorporated in New Jersey, becoming as an "umbrella organization" to coordinate and support other open cities organizations for developing projects based on the same mission values and vision of Open City International worldwide.
  • In 2008, Open City International applied to UN s ECOSOC for Consultative Status. Open City sent statements raised between events or within the network since then and act complying to UN MDGs and main declarations.

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The Open City International Foundation