Imagine the following scenario. It is 1902, and to the great shock and distress of the citizens of Venice, the beautiful campanile tower in its Piazza San Marco has just collapsed. That very evening, the city’s communal council votes to approve 500,000 Lire for the prompt rebuilding, “com’era, dov’era” — “as it was, where it was”. Future residents and visitors alike may now continue to enjoy this beautiful structure, which had also been restored and added to many times previously. But then an authority from far away steps up to speak. “Our regulations do not allow this! Our funding policies require that ‘a project shall use contemporary design’ — which means that you may use only current styles of which we approve, and you may not use the local traditional styles of Venice. That would be a ‘falsification of history’, a ‘mingling of the false with the genuine’, and we decree that this would have harmful consequences!” The project does not go forward, and something entirely “contemporary” is built instead.
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