Adriano Olivetti’s notion of “Community”: transforming the factory and urban physical space into educational spaces

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Adriano Olivetti (1901-1960), the well-known intellectual and entrepreneur who created the factory which produced the typewriters and calculators that became icons of design and efficiency around the world, considered Saint Augustine’s The City of God the first attempt to explore the concept of “Community”. Following in Augustine’s footsteps, Olivetti described The City of Men (1960), a systemic territorial, political, administrative, economic and cultural entity tailored to the needs of individuals, where people could fully realise their inner potential. He called this conceptual and concrete entity the “Community”, sowing the seed that would lead to the moral and civil reconstruction of postwar Italy whose aim was to merge the country’s productive-industrial and political-social worlds. This paper attempts to outline the development of Olivetti’s thinking about “Community”, from the functionality of production and urban spaces to their educational potential: thanks to the influence of personalist thinking, the material forces that created a productive-industrial/residential-social modernity were transformed into educational-spiritual forces at the service of people within the community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-216
Number of pages14
JournalRicerche di Pedagogia e Didattica
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • 20th Century
  • Ventesimo secolo
  • aesthetics of space
  • city planning and education
  • estetica dello spazio
  • history of educational institutions
  • industria ed educazione
  • industry and education
  • storia delle istituzioni educative
  • urbanistica ed educazione


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